Unlike The Simpsons, at least up until their FXX deal, South Park has embraced the Internet with a passion that rivals Eric Cartman’s love of KFC. Every episode (minus two) of the long-running animated series is on South Park Studios. You have to deal with the occasional ad, but whatever, it’s free. That’s all about to change, though: following the season 18 premiere on September 24th, Hulu Plus will become, to quote Variety, the “exclusive online-streaming home” for South Park.
Hulu cut the deal with South Park Digital Studios, a joint venture between Viacom and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In 2008, the South Park partners launched all seasons of the adult-themed animated show in free, ad-supported format on SouthParkStudios.com — but with the new deal, as of this fall those will be streaming only on the $7.99-per month Hulu Plus.
Starting Saturday, July 12, the entire South Park library will be available for free on Hulu, and will continue to be free on SouthParkStudios.com until Sept. 24. At that point, both Hulu and SouthParkStudios.com will have day-after-air access to new episodes from season 18. In addition, each of the sites will offer a revolving selection of 30 free episodes at any given time.
In other words, we’re going from 244 episodes for free to 30 episodes for free and 214 that you have to pay for. I’m sure this deal is going to add a few more millions to Matt and Trey’s bank account, and they deserve every penny they get for “Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes” alone. That being said: