Everyone’s Watching Louis CK’s Bold Move

I am anxious to hear Louis read in a few weeks. This has the potential to change everything!

Louis CK, the comedian, tried an experiment this past weekend. He taped his concert at New York’s Beacon Theater then put it on line charging $5 per download. It’s a bold move. There’s no distributor other than Louis himself. There’s no encryption or protection to keep you (or me) from making copies or posting the concert online.

To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions.

Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.
Louis C.K.

By eliminating layers of middlemen he’s made it easier for $5 purchases to make sense on his end. On a Reddit.com AMA Louis said,

it’s worked well so far. it’s far from over. so i don’t know everything yet. I haven’t even started promoting it. I’m doing a lot of press in the next few weeks. so we’ll see what impact that has if any.

Gigaom.com isn’t as optimistic.

As one might expect, not everyone was ready to hand over $5 for the standup special, and the file quickly found its way onto torrent sites like The Pirate Bay.

Right now they’re reporting 500 torrent seeds characterized as a “sizable” number.

This is not a first. Glenn Beck’s exit from Fox to his own online GBTV is a similar path. It’s easier for a business to make money if one person is doing multiple jobs and doesn’t have to share with superfluous intermediary bosses. It has appeal especially if you already have popularity.

Other the past few years the cost of entry into video production has dropped like a rock. My cellphone shoots video that’s as good or better than what we used to shoot for TV! Studio facilities that might have cost seven figures are now five figures.

What TV stations and networks bring to the table is tonnage. People watch Fox. People watch HBO. The networks have enough cashflow to aggressively promote their programs. Can Louis CK do the same?

The bar for financial success has been lowered. I am anxious to hear Louis read in a few weeks. This has the potential to change everything!

A Brave New World And Glenn Beck

Forget Beck’s off-the-wall TV theatrics. What he’s doing here is bold and innovative.

Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News Channel (not connected to FoxCT… have I mentioned that?). Instead of moving to another network he is starting his own. Beck won’t be on cable. He will broadcast on the Internet via GBTV.

Wall Street Journal: GBTV, an online-only channel, is available to subscribers for $4.95 or $9.95 a month, depending on the package, similar to the model for premium cable-television channels such as HBO or Showtime.

In addition to Mr. Beck’s new show, GBTV will also stream a six-camera simulcast of his three-hour radio show and a behind-the-scenes show about the making of the new network.

Forget Beck’s off-the-wall TV theatrics. What he’s doing here is bold and innovative. If successful he’ll have eliminated a string of middlemen and changed the future of TV… or maybe just killed TV!

In 2011 TV stations and networks make a big difference. A great show on a thinly watched channel will probably also be thinly viewed. Sad, but true.

Are viewers organized enough to find every show ala carte without having a station to act as “the mall?”

Will Beck make more money and have less power? That’s my read on what’s happened to Howard Stern since his jump to satellite.

It’s a brave new world and Beck is ballsy enough to take the first step. This is a move worth watching.

Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” Uses WordPress. Shouldn’t Glenn Object?

It struck me as odd Beck would eschew commercially produced software for this more “socialist” platform put together by unpaid volunteers and shepherded by community activists.

Recently Glenn Beck’s website “The Blaze” has gotten well deserved positive publicity. It was The Blaze which revealed James O’Keefe’s NPR “sting” video was edited out-of-context.

I’d never heard of the site much less been on it, but tonight decided to take a look. It’s clean and nicely designed.

It didn’t take long to realize it’s based on WordPress the heavily used free open source blogging/content management system software.

This blog also runs on WordPress as do a bunch of other sites I’ve built. I’m a huge fan. It’s tough not to be.

Still it struck me as odd Beck would eschew commercially produced software for this more “socialist” platform put together by unpaid volunteers and shepherded by community activists. After all:

Everything you see here, from the documentation to the code itself, was created by and for the community. WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. (More than most commercial platforms.) It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s home page to a Fortune 500 web site without paying anyone a license fee and a number of other important freedoms.

Beck is free to use WordPress. Encouraged is probably a better word.

Ethically should he?

Maybe I’m just simplifying a more complex issue, but WordPress seems the kind of enterprise he’d be against not one he’d embrace.

What’s On TV At 3:15 AM

I was sitting in my office, playing on my computer, when Steffie walked in. It was 3:15. She, unfortunately, has inherited my nocturnal nature.

“Do you see what’s on TV,” she asked?

I followed her back into her playroom. E! was on and the programming was live. Paris had been released.

I asked her to look at “my channels,” and she tuned through Fox, CNN, Headline news and MSNBC. Two of the four were also in breathless, helicopter heavy, live coverage.

Reporters were speculating where Paris might end up should she take one freeway over another.

You don’t take a network that’s normally re-playing shows overnight and flip a switch to go live. They had to pre-position staff inside and out. That’s a hell of an undertaking at 3:15 AM.

If you’re looking for perspective in how important this story is considered, look at this from MediaBistro TVNewser.

Both Saturday and Sunday, HLN aired obsolete and outdated editions of Nancy Grace.

The shows covered “the search for Jessie Davis even though it was reported at 6pm EDT [Saturday] that her body had been found,” ICN says.

By Sunday, suspects were in custody. Still, HLN replayed the repeats, using a lower third to update viewers:

Unfortunately, CNN didn’t do that for Glenn Beck, whose show precedes and follows Grace’s.

This weekend it was too expensive, or difficult, to allow old news to be replaced by new news. Overnight last night it was not.

So, Paris is free at last. Personally, I think her career is over – though I was more sure of that opinion before this coverage.