Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm.

Louis C.K.’s big video experiment: $500k in sales, $200k in profits, and counting

Comedian Louis C.K. just published a lengthy, detailed post about how his bold experiment in self-distributing his own comedy special is going.

Quick answer: So far, so good.

As of Today, 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. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.

I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked.

(If you missed the story, Louis C.K. started selling his new comedy special on his own website for $5 over the weekend. It’s unique both because of the business model and the relaxed rights associated with it: Worldwide availability, no DRM, completely unlocked download, etc. Normally, a star of his caliber would have worked with a big media company to do this. But it sounds like this model may actually end up working, which could eventually disrupt the balance of power in the media industry. Very interesting.)

Also: Here’s why Apple’s TV needs to be an actual television, and not just a cheap add-on box