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Louis C.K. turns a profit with $5 standup special

Janelle Vreeland

Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.’s experiment pays off

On Saturday, comedian Louis C.K. began a kind of experiment. He provided fans with a new standup special, “Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater” that they could stream or download for only $5. Yesterday, C.K. posted a statement on his site detailing the results of his experiment so far.

“People of Earth (minus the ones who don’t give a shit about this): it’s been amazing to conduct this experiment with you.,” C.K. wrote. “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, 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).”

C.K. added that it cost $170,000 to shoot the special and $32,000 to design the site in order to accomodate it.

C.K. said that he embarked on this experiment in an attempt to make it as accessible as possible to fans around the world and deter individuals from pirating or torrenting it.

“[A large production company] 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,” C.K. explained.

C.K. said that he’s very pleased with the experiment so far. “I’m really glad I put this out here this way and I’ll certainly do it again. 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 overmarketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction.” C.K. then joked, “(Of course i reserve the right to go back on all of this and sign a massive deal with a company that pays me fat coin and charges you straight up the ass.)”

You can purchase “Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater” here. You can watch outtakes from Louis C.K.’s special below.

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