Last year, comedian Louis C.K. famously bucked the trend in comedy and successfully cut out the middleman. Instead of relying on a network like HBO or Showtime to distribute his standup special Live at the Beacon Theatre, Louis C.K. decided to produce it and distribute it on his own directly from his personal website. The format was simple: for $5, fans could download a DRM-free copy of the special and do whatever they wanted with it. It was widely viewed as a major experiment in content distribution - as it was unclear how successful it would be without the strong reach provided by a major cable network and with the ever-present threat of online piracy.
Well, the experiment worked, and that's using any imaginable metric. Not only did it endear him to his fans, especially his internet-savvy fans, but it worked on a financial level. It was a huge success right away, and inspired a new generation of self-distributing comedians, including comedy heavyweights like Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari who both released DRM-free $5 specials in Louis C.K.'s wake.
Now, Louis C.K. and HBO are teaming up once again for a new comedy special set to debut in 2013. No hard feelings, I guess.
Here's the announcement from HBO on Twitter:
From that clue, we can guess that the special will be called Lucky Louie.
Louis C.K. also made a point to let people know that he isn't totally abandoning his popular internet-downloading scheme. Apparently, HBO is going to allow him to put it up on his site a few months after it airs on the network:
I am doing a standup special for HBO. It will be avail on http://t.co/BGG6h2Vw a few months after HBO, globally, 5$ no dmr
Louis C.K. and HBO have a long history together, and there was no reason to think that the comedian would move to exclusively releasing standup on the web. This seems like a nice compromise for C.K., who still gets to release his own content later on down the line but gets to benefit from the HBO name and all the promotion that comes with it.
No matter what, we know it will be funny as hell.[Photo via HBO, Instagram]