Comic to produce show, charge $5 for online access

Following Louis C.K.’s successful experiment with do-it-yourself digital distribution, comedian Jim Gaffigan will finance his own standup comedy special and charge $5 for viewing online.

Gaffigan will tape the performance Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C., and the show will be edited for a likely April debut. A stop along the “Jim Gaffigan: The America Tour,” the concert will be produced and funded entirely by Gaffigan.

He will donate $1 from each $5 purchase to the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which provides resources and support to injured service members, veterans and their families.

Louis C.K. offered the same distribution scenario in December. His “Live at the Beacon Theater” concert has since grossed more than $1 million, coin that goes directly into his pocket. As of Dec. 21, the star of FX’s “Louie” netted $220,000 after accounting for production costs, payments and bonuses to his staff, and donations to various charities.

The new business model eliminates a network, producer and other middlemen expenses, with fees going straight to the performer. Of course, the talent must be a big enough draw so that the total amount earned via downloads will be greater than production costs. And there’s also the concern of video pirating, where viewers steal the program for free.

Networks such as Comedy Central would still be able to air these self-produced stand-up specials later on, but comedians would receive a much smaller license fee than if it was aired on a first-run basis.

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