×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chill Direct aims to spur self-distribution biz

Vid site inspired by Louis C.K. digital comedy special

A fleet of comedians and filmmakers are hoping to replicate the direct-to-consumer model popularized by Louis C.K. via a new product enabling self-service digital distribution.

Chill, a social-video platform whose backers include WME, has rounded up unreleased standup performances and films aiming for paying auds outside traditional outlets across devices. The inaugural slate includes work from comedian Maria Bamford and actor-director Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”).

Chill Direct allows artists to create a virtual storefront on its platform, where they can price their own content and retain ownership of intellectual property. Service covers everything from uploading of longform video to real-time data tracking viewership.

The service was inspired in part by Louis C.K., who drew notice in June for selling a standup special to fans through his website, a model that has been since used by other top comics including Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari.

“We were watching the Louis C.K. one-off in awe and looked at the details of what he did and its costs,” said Brian Norgard, founder of Chill. “We wanted to see from a product designers’ perspective what we could do if we could take that cost to practically nothing.”

Chill Direct’s business model dictates a 70/30 split of all revenues derived from content, with the majority of coin going to the creator. Select artists Chill is particularly interested in working with receive some funding, but that won’t be made available to all who use the service.

Chill will continue to operate as a video-sharing hub, enabling content consumption in a social-driven environment more reminiscent of Pinterest than YouTube. The company will look to leverage activity to drive eyeballs to Chill Direct, which can also be integrated with an artist’s social-media presence.

Chill Direct is also exploring ties with leading digital distributors, including Netflix, that would make content on its platform available for consumption elsewhere.

While Chill Direct will make content available for purchase on a nonexclusive basis, it will have an exclusive first window on some content including “The New Kind,” an animated sci-fi series from writer-director Peter Hyoguchi that was funded via Kickstarter and features the work of 200 artists in 29 countries.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content