Monday, December 19, 2011

Louis C.K. Gives Fans What They Want

We've talked before about how Kickstarter is a great way to connect with fans.  This gives them a real investment in an endeavor and makes them more likely to offer their support, particularly financially.  Of course, Kickstarter may be a platform that makes this easy but it certainly isn't the only way to do so.  Sometimes the best way to connect with fans is to give them what they want, as Louis C.K. showed with his latest Live at the Beacon Theater show.

Louis C.K., if you don't know, is a stand-up comedian with a great sitcom on FX (Louie).  He decided to release one of his recent shows at the Beacon Theater himself: he fronted the money, edited it himself (as he does with his sitcom), and hosted the video on his own website.  It's $5, DRM-free, and easy to purchase.  Perhaps even better (from C.K.'s standpoint, at least), he gets to keep full creative control of the work.

C.K. was kind enough to release a statement going into a little more detail about the whole thing.  As of the date of the statement, around four days after releasing the video, he'd already made a profit of $200,000.  Four days.

So let's recap:
  • C.K. makes a sizable amount of money (likely to grow with the long tail)
  • He gets to keep control over the rights, the distribution, etc.
  • Fans get a cheap, easy-to-download, easy-to-view copy of the video
Of course, there are a few things to note.  First, it's likely that this experiment did well because it was just that - an experiment.  It got a decent amount of press.  However, something that's cheap and gives fans what they want, in essence encouraging them to pay, will usually find a market.  There's a download limit which is probably due to bandwidth issues (and personally, I wish it was available as a torrent download a la the Humble Bundle games, but that's nitpicking).  However, there are a few extras, like being able to gift the video and providing a DVD cover for those of you still living in the '00s and want your media on a physical format.

The best part?  The stand-up bit is absolutely hilarious (if not entirely family-friendly).  As always, the content is more important than the packaging.  Go check it out if you're looking for a cheap, fun way to pass some time.

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