Direct Downloads and the Future of Content Delivery

Eric’s Ad Blog predicted in May, 2011 that content producers would start skipping the middle man.

“I’d watch for more studios and content owners to explore options for skipping the middle man and becoming the means of distribution for their content”  – Eric Zimmett, May 8, 2011.

Louis CK did it seven months later, first with a comedy special that within two weeks made CK a cool $1 million.

It didn’t stop there; He’s released more than a few specials on his website, all DRM-free downloads.


DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and it attempts to control what users can do with copyrighted material, like preventing users from copying or sharing a movie. Since Louis CK’s downloads are DRM-Free, he’s trusting — or hoping — that users will pay the $5 and download it for themselves instead of downloading or uploading to a torrent site.

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 these files 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 show, and let other people find it in the same way.

And now Louis CK’s releasing this movie for $5, DRM-free, on, a feature length film he wrote and directed in 1998.


I was a struggling comedian and TV writer at the time and I pulled together my savings and some of my friends money to make this movie on black and white 16mm film. There are some great people in this movie: Steve Carell, JB Smoove, Wanda Sykes and Conan O’Brien are some that you might have heard of.

Louis CK is building his own distribution network — and he’s changing the game for everyone.

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