The Billion-Dollar Empire of "The Simpsons"

The Billion-Dollar Empire of "The Simpsons"

The following video is from this week's installment of The Motley Fool's Weekly Tech Review, in which Alison Southwick sits down with analysts Eric Bleeker and Lyons George to look at the biggest stories driving the tech sector this week.

In this segment, Eric and Lyons discuss why The Simpsons might be the most profitable TV show of all time. Not only is The Simpsons a marketing machine with products running from DVD sales to clothes to hit video games, but it also remains a huge hit. According to Ad Age, the cost of a 30-second commercial during The Simpsons is $286,131. That's the third highest rate for a TV show, behind Modern Family and New Girl.

Yet the greatest value of The Simpsons lies ahead. As Eric describes in the video, a deal struck nearly two decades ago has prevented The Simpsons from selling its syndication rights to cable. Currently, Fox has only been able to sell rights to local television channels, but once the show is cancelled it'll have the option of selling to cable companies. With a back catalog of more than 500 episodes that would sell for north of $1 million each, cable presents a huge windfall. In addition, The Simpsons -- with its huge amount of content -- could spark a bidding war between Netflix and

Finally, parent company News Corp. could even start a cable network based solely on the show. Such an idea is far from crazy, as the company's COO has said at investor conferences that the idea has been considered.

To see Eric and Lyons' full thoughts on the amazing success of The Simpsons, watch the video.

While The Simpsons is a smash hit, ultimately it's still just a small piece of News Corp.'s business. To get the lowdown on a different investment idea, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

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Alison Southwick, Eric Bleeker, CFA, and Lyons George have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published