“Remember all that stuff people were saying 15 years ago about the Internet’s capacity for disintermediation? It’s all coming true now,” argues Fortune contributor Dan Mitchell.
Case in point, comedian Louis C.K. is selling his latest standup special directly to the public at $5 a pop. In the first three days on the market, C.K. brought in $500,000 in revenue.
Mitchell believes “the fact that no big companies were involved in this should give pause to all media executives who think they know better than performers what audiences want, and how much they’re willing to pay to get it.”
Louis C.K. told Terry Gross on Fresh Air this week that with traditional comedy specials, he gets his fee, but never a cut of the aftermarket, where the real money is made.
Of course, it helps to do the HBO specials, so there’s an audience in place ready and willing to buy direct. Ideally, an artist or brand wants a mix of traditional media with DIY media.