It’s a tired trope among us new media types. In this more open and fragmented entertainment world, producers will wield more control with ever-evolving business models. At the same time, consumers will demand more control. Sure enough, as cable subscribers defect, a creator-controlled al-la-carte model is spearheaded by a seasoned industry trailblazer.
Four days after posting Louis C.K. live at the Beacon Theater on his website at $5 for an unencumbered video file, Szekely has sold over 110,00 copies. That makes for more than $500,000 in total sales and a profit of about $200,000 (and counting). He, and bigger names, will surely continue to exploit this now proven model.
We can’t say this is ground-breaking, however. Similar pay-per-view strategies have been attempted on the web time and again by both upstarts and some very established talent. But, to date, no one has demonstrated such striking success with television-style video.
Interestingly, Szekely’s audience surely discovered him through established media outlets, without whose previous support his experiment would have gone largely unnoticed. The network model is surely not dying, but it will likely become more flexible as creator’s discover a new kind of leverage with unlimited control.