Louis C.K.’s Brilliant Digital Move

Perhaps you have heard by now that the brilliant comic Louis C.K.’s newest comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theater, is available exclusively through his Web site: louisck.com. No middle man. No studio. No cable. No label. And it’s completely digital, which means no packaging or physical DVD, no shipping costs and no printing costs. (Though you can burn the HD mp4 file to a DVD if you like.) It all happens through Louis’s site… for $5.00.

Not only is he selling it exclusively through his site for a steal, he also put up his own money ($250,000) to produce the show and set up the site on which he sells it. As of this writing, and as reported by David Carr in The New York Times, Louis has made a straight profit of $750,000. In his piece in The Times, which I recommend highly, Carr very clearly covers the implications and meaning of Louis C.K.’s “experiment” on the grand media scale.

After putting up his own money and running the sales on his own through PayPal, Louis owns every piece of the pie in this production.

On his site, he wrote:

“If the trend continues with sales on this video, my goal is that I can reach the point where when I sell anything, be it videos, CDs or tickets to my tours, I’ll do it here and I’ll continue to follow the model of keeping my price as far down as possible, not over marketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction.”

Pretty savvy. Read Louis’s full statement from 13 December, 2011 on his Web site.

What’s best? It’s a hilarious special. Louis C.K. remains one of my favorite comics standing, and he made his latest show available to us in an extraordinarily accessible and affordable way.

Thanks, Louis.

Louis C.K. – Live at the Beacon Theater
David Carr’s piece in The New York Times
Louis C.K. on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

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