Paramount’s strategy of purposeful digital rot doesn’t even make sense

Paramount’s strategy of purposeful digital rot doesn’t even make sense

Sometimes as we navigate our way through the daily doom scroll that is our current news cycle, it’s nice to go back and remember how things used to be. Those times sucked too but a distraction is still a distraction. One of my favorite ways to look at the past was by going through old clips of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central’s website.

Paramount went on a content teardown this week and pulled old clips and episodes of its signature satire shows from the Comedy Central website, as well as content from cable channels like TV Land, CMT and the Paramount Network, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Those sites now contain a notice that tells views the clips are unavailable there, but that they can “sign up for Paramount+ to watch many seasons of Comedy Central shows.”

It’s a bizarre move because most of those old episodes aren’t available on its Paramount+ streaming service. Essentially, there’s no longer a free, legal means to consume the archive of these shows. It wouldn’t be so insulting if you also couldn’t watch all of Carlos Mencia’s comedy specials on the platform.

If you’re itching to watch some of Comedy Central’s older shows, some are available on the streaming service and you can still purchase some episodes of The Colbert Report on AppleTV or the iTunes store. If you’re also like me and you still use DVDs, you can buy used copies of The Best of the Colbert Report and The Daily Show’s Indecision 2004 coverage of the presidential election from online retailers. Paramount can’t take away physical media… yet. But it seems likely some portion of these shows — as well as the entire MTVNews archive — are now effectively lost to time for no good reason.

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