Louis C.K. is somehow holding on to his “Comic’s Comic” street cred despite having elite Hollywood caliber creative control in almost every facet of his career from his hit show “Louie”, his HBO Stand up specials, to his production company where he owns every piece of equipment. Louis original television series ‘Louie” on FX is a raw look into the sometimes dark, but often hilarious world of a comic trying to balance life and career.
He’s earned his faith from the corporate elite, not by bowing to executives, being a “Yes man” to any project that comes his way or by trying to perfect his “personal brand” but by simply making content he thinks people will like. His desire to create original engaging content comes from over 20 years of trial and tribulation on the Comic circuit before finally “Making it” in the mid 2000’s.
Louis C.K. is taking his original ideas from the content in his productions to original ideas in the production and distribution process itself. Louis C.K. is using his production company to produce “Louis C.K. live at the Beacon Theater” and distributing it for $5 exclusively through his Website, LouisCK.com.
According to a recent interview with Sports and Pop Culture Media personality Bill Simmons on the ‘BS Report‘, Louis has been watching over the shoulder of film editors and producers for years and is genuinely interested in the entire production and distribution process. Louis isn’t so much intentionally “Cutting out the middle men” or trying to make a statement about the inefficient Entertainment distribution process but just feels that he has the passion, the experience and the community support to avoid unnecessary expenditures and hassle.
Louis oversight spans the entire process from renting the space at the beacon theater to designing the buttons at checkout process on his website. This oversight is done in the faith of being able to produce and easily sell uncompromised content to his fans and Louis admits that this is certainly an “experiment”.
“People of Earth (minus the ones who don’t give a [expletive] about this): it’s been amazing to conduct this experiment with you. The experiment was: if I put out a brand new standup special at a drastically low price ($5) and make it as easy as possible to buy, download and enjoy, free of any restrictions, will everyone just go and steal it? Will they pay for it? And how much money can be made by an individual in this manner?” says Louis.
Louis proceeds to talk about the current status of the experiment. “The development of the website, which needed to be a very robust, reliable and carefully constructed website, was around $32,000.”
“The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today (December 13th, 3 days later), we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely.”
Despite the comical nature of his disclosure including the joke about being taxed 99%, Louie was able to break even on the project in less than 24 hours proving that his “experiment” worked. It is hard to avoid people pirating, but when you offer something that seems to be a fair price to a consumer, they tend to flock. Even if the special is pirated, some models show the incredible financial benefit of virility, even at no initial direct benefit. The residual benefit content being pirated has been seen by such authors Paulo Coelho and his book ‘The Alchemist‘ after a Russian fan posted a Russian translated version of his book online and the book went from 3,000 to 1 million copies sold in three year with no additional promotion from the publisher.
Be part of the experiment yourself by heading over to LouisCK.com and check out an exclusive preview “bit” that didn’t make it into the final special.
Via LouisCK.com & ‘The BS Report‘