Bloomberg on the Bidding for ‘South Park’ Streaming Rights

Lucas Shaw, reporting for Bloomberg:*

One company that probably won’t be bidding is Apple Inc., the people said. The tech giant has eschewed controversial programming that could damage its brand, and it’s wary of offending China, where it sells a lot of iPhones. “South Park” was just banned in China after an episode mocked the country’s censorship of Western movies and TV.

It makes no sense to inject Apple into this story. Shaw is trying to paint Apple’s abstention from bidding for “South Park” as a combination of the company’s prudishness regarding adult content and obsequiousness toward China. He’s probably right about the branding implications of “South Park” — Apple wouldn’t get near “South Park” as an Apple-owned brand. But the China angle is a potshot. “South Park” could be Xi Jinping’s very favorite show in the world and Apple would not be bidding for the streaming rights to its back catalog, for the very obvious reason that Apple doesn’t offer a streaming service that includes the back catalogs of old shows. Apple isn’t bidding on shows like “Friends” or “Seinfeld” either. This has nothing to do with China. It’s simply the nature of Apple TV+ — it’s all original content.

And, Apple does offer “South Park” in the iTunes Store. If you want to buy episodes or entire seasons, it’s right there. And if you search for “South Park” in the TV app, it’ll helpfully point you to Hulu, which currently holds the streaming rights.

* Bloomberg, of course, is the publication that published “The Big Hack” in October 2018 — a sensational story alleging that data centers of Apple, Amazon, and dozens of other companies were compromised by China’s intelligence services. The story presented no confirmable evidence at all, was vehemently denied by all companies involved, has not been confirmed by a single other publication (despite much effort to do so), and has been largely discredited by one of Bloomberg’s own sources. By all appearances “The Big Hack” was complete bullshit. Yet Bloomberg has issued no correction or retraction, and seemingly hopes we’ll all just forget about it. I say we do not just forget about it. Bloomberg’s institutional credibility is severely damaged, and everything they publish should be treated with skepticism until they retract the story or provide evidence that it was true.

Monday, 21 October 2019