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Paramount Claims Louis CK "Didn't Monetize"

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the louis-ck-living-in-poverty-by-industry-standards dept.

The Almighty Buck 288

Weezul writes "Paramount's 'Worldwide VP of Content Protection and Outreach' Al Perry has insinuated that Louis CK making $1 million in 12 days means he isn't monetizing. Al Perry asserted that 'copyright law gives creators the right to monetize their creations, and that even if people like Louis C.K. decide not to do so, that's a choice and not a requirement.' Bonus, Slashdot favorite Jonathan Coulton apparently grossed almost half a million last year."

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288 comments

I don't get it (5, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700665)

He got a million in 12 days, how is is not gaining money ? Wait I get it, he sould have made 20 million 19.99 of them goes to them and he only get 10000$ ?? Ok sorry apparently I don't know much about buisness...

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700713)

They didn't say he didn't make any money. They said he chose not to 'monetize.'

You probably don't know what that word means.

You monetize content when you license it to a big studio and they take all your money.

Re:I don't get it (2)

don depresor (1152631) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700763)

post to undo wrong moderation...

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700823)

Apparently Monetization [wikipedia.org] is creating an environment (or set of rules) for a thing that isn't money so that one can use said thing like money. Like the well known phrase "I'll pay you four van Goghs for that ratburger".
Which is kind of odd really for the Entertainment industry to go that way since you usually monetize non precious things (common metals or rock, hemp etc.) to monetize representations of art like music files, video recordings or image files is openly admitting that those things do not have a value other than the perceived/mandated one and that production of said forms of legal tender is negligible (aka you can't steal an mp3 or gif because it has no value of its own).

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701023)

In this context "monetize" means transforming the content demand into something that can be resold -- viewer eyeballs are resold to advertisers, thus ad-supported media is "monetized." Youtube is "monetized," Louis CK's videos aren't "monetized" yet but if they continued to move like the first one did it's a possibility, as advertisers see the videos as a useful way to piggyback their messages.

Going to see a movie at a theater used to be the gold standard "non-monetized" form of entertainment, until they started inserting product placements, music, placing ads before the shows, and reselling the movies characters as brands for toys, games...

I don't get that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701141)

"In this context "monetize" means transforming the content demand into something that can be resold"

He's selling. That's how he made that money. You know, exchange of goods for services rendered.

"viewer eyeballs are resold to advertisers"

That would be a derived market, not monetisation of the primary market.

Re:I don't get that. (3, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701367)

He's selling. That's how he made that money. You know, exchange of goods for services rendered.

The primary issue is that a clean quicktime movie is a good, but it's non-excludable and non-rivalrous. Nor is it really a service, since it's mechanically reproducible for marginal cost and no labor. In effect he's like a free-to-air PBS station, and his website is like the pledge drive that guilts you into ponying up there instead of going to bittorrent.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701179)

Of all those things, the commercials they show before movies now is the most egregious thing in my opinion. I can't say for sure when I saw my first ad before a movie at the theater (but it can't have been before the mid-90's, because I don't remember it happening when I was growing up) but it's pretty much ubiquitous now.

Still, I guess it doesn't really matter much to me because I go to the movies maybe 3 or 4 times a year, mainly because it's getting ridiculously expensive on top of all that "monetizing" going on and it's hard to justify the expense for a couple hours of entertainment when the shitting movie is going to be out on Bluray within a few months and Netflix and Cable a month or so after that.

The only movie I even care to see this year in theaters is The Hobbit, and that's mainly because I've been following the production diaries and am intrigued to see what the quality of the film and the 3D work is going to be given the extensive amount of technical expertise involved in the filming. Nothing else, not even The Dark Knight, has me excited to go to the theater. I probably spend more time watching home made shit on Youtube than I do consuming Hollywood crap these days, honestly...

Re:I don't get it (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701221)

The TV-commercial-before-the-movie thing, as we know it, started in the late 90's. Before that, all you had were concessions and movie trailer ads. It's possible that they used to do it back before I was born (late 70's)... like when they did little news reels, but I wouldn't remember that. 80's and 90's were largely commercial-free at the theater.

Of course product placement has been around far longer.

Re:I don't get it (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701283)

"Shit" definitely beats "crap"... "honestly"... OTOH, movie theaters always had the candy stand, which is how they monetize their screenings, since they only keep a small percentage of the box office, particularly in the first two weeks.

OTOOH, we'll see if Louis CK starts accepting ads, or if he continues using the PBS funding model, and I don't see how he'd sell a $1 million in videos without having had several cable specials for promotion first. What he's really done is he's "monetized" the publicity he got from the big media platform, it's not a good example of a sustainable, thriving business model. Dane Cook is a better example of a purely "internet-created" comedian.

In the end, I'm sure that as long as people can laugh at the Holocaust and menstruation, Louis CK will have no problems, on whatever media platform he chooses.

Re:I don't get it (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701355)

If you were early, there was a slide-show that was 50% local adds, and some random facts/trivia.

Not as obnoxious as adds after the lights go dim, but there were adds as long as I can remember (late 80's I suppose).

Re:I don't get it (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701369)

I wonder where the fine line between Product Placement, and placing a product to add to realism.

When the movies make fake brands during their show, it somehow feels like it is breaking the 4th wall, to say that we couldn't get permission to use this product.

I mean we use brand name products all the time in real life.
I am currenly using a Lenovo Think Pad Laptop, drinking water out of a cup with Duncan Donuts label on it. Typing on a Logitech external keyboard, and using an HP extra monitor. Next to me I have my JVC headphone, a NEC Telephone, an empty Diet Coke bottle, a Poland Springs bottle (that someone left during the last meeting) and a Mr. Coffee Coffee maker, Expo white board markets,

It is amazing how many trademark labels are with us all the time.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701033)

Nothing has value other than what you can sell it for, that's not a secret. Openly acknowledging that, however neither validates your frankly, asinine, insinuation that you can only steal something of value, or that value, not ownership, determines theft (pro-tip, if you take something that doesn't belong to you, and you don't have express permission from the owner to do so, you are stealing it), nor does it invalidated copyright as ownership of something.

Earth-shattering though, I know, that a copyright holder openly states what everyone outside of Slashdot already knows; it is not obligatory to monetize (or commercialize, or even enforce ownership on) copyrighted works.

Congrats though, you've discovered the gist of capitalism and of how a market works. Nothing has value beyond what you can sell it for, scarcity only weighs into the equation because it has an impact on supply and demand, not because it inherently makes something have a value, the rarest substance in the universe isn't worth a thing, if nobody wants it or nobody cares to sell it.

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

notgm (1069012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700879)

while this is a subtle sarcastic jab at the big studio, it's not far from correct, but it isn't entirely insightful, either.

to monetize is to turn a profit. If Louis CK paid all of the salaries of all the workers (including himself), paid all appropriate fees and whatnot, and sent all of the surplus from the gross proceeds to charity, he didn't monetize. Al Perry is right in saying that he didn't monetize, because there was nobody to turn that profit over to.

HOWEVER, his assertion that profit should drive art/entertainment is what we should take issue with. profits are for corporation or group-funded ventures, not individually founded enterprises. the whole corporation=person loophole has killed his perception.

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701059)

to monetize is to turn a profit. If Louis CK paid all of the salaries of all the workers (including himself), paid all appropriate fees and whatnot, and sent all of the surplus from the gross proceeds to charity, he didn't monetize. Al Perry is right in saying that he didn't monetize, because there was nobody to turn that profit over to.

Actually, my understanding from wikipediaing is that monetizing is the process of converting some property in some sort of currency. If I dont monetize, lets say, my digitally recorded music, then it's not a crime to copy it because it has no value.

If I do monetize it, then it is a crime to copy it because it's as bad as copying money.

It does not seem to be a popular definition but I think this is indeed how studios see it. They use a word that intentionally sounds luring to creators (we will monetize your stuff!! Does that not sound like you will get money?!) While internally they are telling each other what they actually mean in keywords.

The studios here are just trying to make creators think they would be missing in even more money than CK made if they don't monetize the way they did.

I can see it now: Studio exec talks to creator:
Hey Bob, what you rather do... profit of your music... or monetize your music? Seriously, what sounds like would make the most money to you?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701109)

because there was nobody to turn that profit over to

There was - himself!!

All the profit was his, as he was the sole "shareholder" in this venture. What is the problem??

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

jmauro (32523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701133)

That's the problem the studio is complaining about not being allowed to take their cut, mainly because they were cut out of the process entirely.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Elbart (1233584) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701349)

How horrifying.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701181)

profits are for corporation or group-funded ventures, not individually founded enterprises.

On what do you base that presumption?

Re:I don't get it (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701251)

Just because he chose to donate more than half of the profits doesn't mean it wasn't profit. Also, whether he pulls out the money as salary or profit is a theoretical question for tax optimisers, the amount remains the same.

Re:I don't get it (2)

j3p0 (16007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701063)

Or as Eddie Murphy once observed:
"Net points is monkey points, because they always make a monkey out of you"

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700811)

Monetize. As in "Now, now, Louis, be a good boy and bend over so we can continue monitizing you and your peers"

P.S. the captcha is "spreader," now that's just gold.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700861)

Monetizing means squeezing the maximum amount of money possible out of something, and letting everyone and their brother get their fingers into it. Much like Al Perry's mom, heyoo!.

*ahem* Anyway, it's unlikely Louis CK would have made a penny more (and pretty likely he'd have made a lot less less) if he'd have gone with Paramount. But we would have paid at least $20, so four times as much, and gotten a DRM'd-to-hell-and-back file, if we were even lucky enough to get one that can be played more than once. In return, Paramount promises to "promote" his shows, so he theoretically makes it up in volume. Paramount would make a bunch of money, the artist would have made less and pissed his audience off at the same time, everybody (who counts, i.e. the Paramount execs) is happy!

When Louis becomes over-saturated because Paramount would rather have $10 today than $2 year-after-year and can't sell tickets anymore, well, sorry bud, guess you're just not funny. Nope, it has nothing to do with the fact that we forced you into a terrible TV show because of some shitty clause in your contract and let Comedy Central rerun your specials until everybody knew them word for word and spent all of your money on over-promoting your stand-up shows that you don't have time to write new material for because we're running you ragged "monetizing" your every breath. Not our fault, the numbers don't lie. Next!

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701099)

heyoo!

Making that noise after your own joke is obnoxious.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701013)

It is the definition. Their view is selling the product for maximum use of copyrightness. He sold it as product. He did not utilize copyright laws. So he didn't monetize his copyright claims, directly.

It makes sense, and is technically right. Whether it is the path we should be taking in the future is another issue all together.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701217)

Of course he utilized copyright laws. The whole "make something and offer it for sale" model intrinsically utilizes copyright laws. That's why he made $1m instead of everyone just going off to TPB or whatever and downloading it for nothing. Without copyright laws there would be no moral environment in which paying $5 for something would be remotely interesting to people. People paid because they respect the moral principle from which copyright law derives. This moral principle is often lost amongst all the shouting about how studios rip everyone off. Here is proof that people want to pay creators. Everyone needs to stop using things like this as "proof" that copyright law is wrong.

I'm not even sure who this guy is anyway. Who is Louis CK, and how did he get famous off his own back without the assistance in any way shape or form from the copyright-based corporate businesses he's now apparently a poster-child against? [Google] *sigh* Oh, he didn't. He's just another guy who got famous working within that system and now seeks to undermine it once it's no longer any use to him. Jeez, how original :p

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701235)

No, it is *not* technically right. Just because he sold non-DRMed files doesn't mean that he didn't utilize the copyright laws.

Re:I don't get it (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701071)

If ever there was an indication that the entertainment media publishers need to be committed to a mental institution, it's this.

Louis CK (whoever that is) did something that did not involve the media publishers and made a very quick $million. (Oh I just googled him... I've seen him before... just never cared to remember his name... pretty funny... not quite George Carlin, but nobody can be George Carlin... not even George Carlin since he's dead now... I think he might be rethinking his 'respect for life' monologue now though) That's $1,000,000!!! Now he just needs to do that two or three more times so he can afford to pay the taxes on the first million. Then he can easily live the rest of his life without working in reasonable comfort. It's a LOT of money and it's certainly "enough" money for most people unless you're one of those sick greedy bastards who would prefer to see nations starve to death while their bank and investment accounts reach the trillions.

And what do the media publishers say? "Well, we didn't make any money, so he didn't make any money." I think both Louis CK and the IRS will both disagree with the morons at the media publishing companies.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701309)

No, if they'd produced his show for him. They wouldn't have made any money either. If they made money they'd have to pay him, so they'd insist to both Louis CK and the IRS that the show did not make any money whatsoever.

We should feel lucky that despite the fact that even the biggest blockbusters don't make money, all these media companies stay in the business and keep putting out movies and music for us. Less generous companies would look at all the money-losing movies and get into another line of business.

Re:I don't get it (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701237)

> "He got a million in 12 days, how is is not gaining money?"
Just so you know, bringing in $1 million revenue does not automatically mean you're "making money". Making money means paying all your expenses and then having a profit. Louis C.K. says he, "$250,000 will go to pay off expenses related to the website. Another $250,000 is going to his staff and the people who helped work on the show.". Louis C.K. did make money from the show, but that's because of the other $500,000 ($280,000 of which he gave to charity).

Also, I tried to lookup the quote by following links from the Techdirt article. God, I hate techdirt - not just because Masnik and Techdirt loves to spin anything related to copyright (Masnik believes filesharing should be fully legal and has a hand-waving explanation as to how to make money on digital content, his Techdirt sidekick, Nina Paley, argues copyright shouldn't exist in any form and anyone should be able to sell anyone else's copyrighted material), but also because all the links lead right back to Techdirt and you can't verify the quotes or find the context. Here's a link to the quote (thanks to Google, http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/infolaw/2012/04/10/hollywood-comes-to-brooklyn/ [harvard.edu] ) if you want to verify it like I did. The link is to a story where someone summarized Al Perry's speech (it's not a direct quote) - ugh, I hope he summarized it fairly otherwise were on a crappy witchhunt. For all I know, Perry might've said that Louis C.K. didn't monetize well (e.g. charge more and do more advertising or something).

Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Insightful)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700671)

What would Hollywood know about monetizing anything? After all from what they keep saying it's my impression that they loose hundreds of millions on every production just to have their hard work stolen by Evil Pirates(tm). So sounds like he made at least $1 million more than they ever do

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700749)

After all from what they keep saying it's my impression that they loose hundreds of millions on every production just to have their hard work stolen by Evil Pirates(tm).

Congratulations! This is one of those rare fortuitous occasions where making the "loose/lose" errror still makes sense.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700767)

How about that? Another Slashtard who doesn't understand the term monetize.
 
Go back to delivering pizzas and let the adults talk, ok?

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700801)

Why don't you educate us on the definition you're using so we can all join in?

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700825)

How about that? Another AC who conveniently forgets, or doesn't know, that Hollywood uses 'creative accounting' with their films.

Please go look up how the movie 'Titanic', actually lost money on the books, through billed well over $1Billion globally. Or how Stan Lee had to sue to get his massive share from Spiderman 1, when they tried to claim it lost money on the books, though billed well over $300 million domestic US in the first few months. Oh, right. Contracts. Has nothing to do with monetize, which is exactly what this guy is ranting about! He didn't contract through us, which is why they're complaining.

What you're thinking monetize is, isn't what the Paramount bobble-head is talking about with this doublespeak.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Interesting)

oobayly (1056050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700773)

Exactly, according to them they couldn't make a profit from revenues of almost 1 billion USD (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [slashfilm.com] .

I'm starting to believe that Hollywood really doesn't want to make money. After all, why else do they not want to put their films on the UK version of Netflix, when they're available on the US version? In the hope that we'll buy them on DVD instead? Good luck with that one.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701057)

Link is wrong, the document in the article shows a writer's defined proceeds from their payoff of their contractual deal, which is a formula based on a bunch of numbers, not a film's "profit". The words "revenue," "profit," and "cost" do not appear once.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700777)

Movies that Hollywood has claimed a loss for:
- Forrest Gump (as a result, the author refused to sell the studio the rights to the sequel)
- Spiderman (Stan Lee successfully sued over this one)
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding (most of the cast then sued the studio for a share of the profits)
- Babylon 5 ("Basically", says Straczynski, "by the terms of my contract, if a set on a WB movie burns down in Botswana, they can charge it against B5's profits.")
- Lord of the Rings (resulted in Peter Jackson not directing The Hobbit, also - 15 actors suing the studio for not receiving their cut of the profits)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reported a $167 million loss... which is roughly equal to the film's budget.)

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (2)

teidou (651247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700889)

"resulted in Peter Jackson not directing The Hobbit" Hmm. Are you aware he IS directing it? See the Hobbit Blog [thehobbitblog.com] for proof, or at least an elaborate ruse. Or is the word 'resulted' evolving into some new meaning of which I was not previously aware?

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700993)

He wasn't for a very long time while he was suing them over LOTR profits.(100+ million if I recall correctly)

They finally relented when Ian McKellen explained he was getting old and wouldn't be able to do it forever.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (3, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701087)

Part of the reason the Hobbit isn't already out is that it took Jackson and the studio a couple of years to come to an agreement. A big part of the reason it took so long was that Jackson was unhappy that we wasn't getting paid because the LotR trilogy somehow didn't make any profit (according to the studio).

They settled it somehow, but I don't know how.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700931)

That is why the big name people give large flat fees or ask for money out of the gross reciepts. The people who get screwed are people whose lawyers and accountants didn't know the difference of that from gross profits or net income. It is such an old trick, I wonder why people still fall for it. Especially people like Peter Jackson, Stan Lee and some of the big names in LotR; they have been in the industry, don't they know better?

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701371)

Not necessarily that they don't know the difference between gross and net. They just assume Hollywood is using honest accounting.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700947)

Movies that Hollywood has taken a risk on, since 1986:

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700955)

Movies that Hollywood has claimed a loss for: - Forrest Gump (as a result, the author refused to sell the studio the rights to the sequel) - Spiderman (Stan Lee successfully sued over this one) - My Big Fat Greek Wedding (most of the cast then sued the studio for a share of the profits) - Babylon 5 ("Basically", says Straczynski, "by the terms of my contract, if a set on a WB movie burns down in Botswana, they can charge it against B5's profits.") - Lord of the Rings (resulted in Peter Jackson not directing The Hobbit, also - 15 actors suing the studio for not receiving their cut of the profits) - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reported a $167 million loss... which is roughly equal to the film's budget.)

Gee, I wonder how many Hollywood elite are homeless and bankrupt because of this?

Oh wait, that's right I forgot. None of them.

'Nuff said.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701025)

- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reported a $167 million loss... which is roughly equal to the film's budget.)

Where are you getting these numbers?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [boxofficemojo.com] :

Production Budget: $150 million
Worldwide total lifetime gross: $939,885,929

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701193)

The prodution budget is not the only cost, and since you deduct costs from the gross to determine the profit your numbers are incomplete enough to be useless.

There the $200 million distribution fees, the $131 million on marketing, the $57 million in interest, the $300 million on advances, and so on.

http://www.deadline.com/2010/07/studio-shame-even-harry-potter-pic-loses-money-because-of-warner-bros-phony-baloney-accounting/ [deadline.com]

Whoosh goes here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701201)

Yes, that was rather the OP's point.

For tax purposes, the company claimed 167 million in net loss to the movie production, somewhat more (but close) than the 150 million budget.

Despite a gross (not net) return of nearly a billion, the net (on which they pay taxes) was negative.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701029)

The truth is, not all of this is shady accounting. The problem is, people sign a deal where they get a cut of the theatrical profit, and even the most successful film (especially those that are very expensive to create) often fail to make a theatrical profit. Every cost associated with the creation of the film comes out of the theatrical profit. That includes cast and crew salaries, studio executives salaries, investor payoffs (very few films are financed entirely by a single studio), payouts to people who get a piece of the gross, advertising, film prints, everything. And remember, when they say such and such film made $100 million on a $50 budget, that movie is guaranteed to have lost money at that point. The $100 profit is the gross profit, and ignores that the studio has to split that with the theaters. The $50 budget is solely the production budget, and ignores advertising, film prints, executive pay, investor returns, and gross percentage payouts.

Now, it's at this point that people usually say "that can't possibly be true, or no one would make movies". Well, while the theatrical release splits it's profits and takes the lions share of the costs, the DVD, television and streaming releases share very few profits and take very few costs. The DVD version costs a few hundred thousand to produce, the advertising budget might be decent but it's generally nothing compared to the theatrical advertising budget (and they can reuse a lot of assets), and there's generally no payout on the DVD to anyone on the creative side of actually making the movie. On top of that, the retailers selling the DVD generally only take 5-10%, much lower than the theaters take on the film. So while the studios themselves generally take a loss or barely break even on the theatrical release, if the movie is successful they can make heaping piles of money once it leaves theaters. On a huge release like a Harry Potter movie, you can pull in hundreds of millions on the DVDs, tens of millions or more on Pay Per View, then sell an exclusive window to HBO/Showtime/Starz to be the first pay channel for a few million, then get a few million more selling it to the ones that lost the exclusive, then a few million more selling it to Netflix, then a few million more to ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX for an exclusive window on broadcast. Then, once that's all done, you sell the international TV/Streaming rights to some other entity for a few hundred million more, and you don't share any of that with anyone.

Now, you can definitely argue the "fairness" of this system, in terms of how much the studios make overall versus how much the creators make, but I have a minimal amount of sympathy for the endless writers, actors and directors who work in Hollywood and definitely should know how the studios make their profits, but then sign contracts that they know won't payoff, and still think they have a right to complain about it.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701065)

Slashdot is such a waste of space. Peter Jackson is directing The Hobbit.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701085)

The Lord of the Rings is an interesting one because Peter Jackson opted for a share of gross revenue not profit which is the prevailing wisdom in Hollywood to actually get paid. Jackson's dispute with New Line was that they didn't pay him the amount he was owed despite this safeguard. New Line's response was to play the victim of Jackson's greed:

"New Line already gave him enough money to rebuild Baghdad, but it's still not enough for him."

It was true that they paid a lot; but Jackson's argument was they didn't pay him what his contract says they should pay him by selling rights internally within the studio for less than the real value.

They sold merchandising at a firesale price (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701353)

Then gave Peter his "cut" of that knock-down price". The company who bought those rights were another subsidiary of the same parent company as New Line.

Therefore New Line got to merchandise from that other subsidiary at huge profit without having to give any to Peter.

In any other realm, this would be money laundering at least.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701091)

IIRC, Star Wars has supposedly still not made a profit.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (-1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701107)

"Hollywood" didn't claim a loss on any of those films, if they did, show me the link. What you're really saying is that some writer or actor thought they got screwed in their contract, and went around to a bunch of reporters and lawyers, with the claim that their "net points" deal never paying off constituted the film "never profiting" according to "corrupt Hollywood accounting."

Studios don't account from profit or loss on a film-by-film basis, they account for profit by their divisions and operating units, most of which sell production services and only marginally take equity risk on production.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701347)

In other words, fuck you, it's legal.

You and that concept are what is wrong with the world right now.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701379)

What? Forrest Gump [wikipedia.org] is the classic example of Hollywood accounting when Winston Groom wanted to be paid for his 3% of profits. The studio claims the film didn't make any profits.. Coming to America [wikipedia.org] is another example. Art Buchiwald's script was optioned then turned down. Then Paramount made a movie remarkably similar to his script. When he won his lawsuit, Paramount then claimed it didn't make any money.

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700817)

*lose

Re:Monetizing... what would Hollywood know? (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701043)

Actually, it depends who they're talking to:
To stockholders: "Yeah, we made millions"
To anyone with a percentage of the profit: "Sorry, we lost $2 million on that one"
To the IRS: "All our profits were in foreign countries, so we only have to pay taxes there"

And so on.

Idiots (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700675)

Copyright does not give creators the "right to monetize their creations," it gives them a limited duration (hah) in which they can control duplication and redistribution of their work. Louis C.K. monetized his creation in the way he saw fit and it paid off handsomely. It might not have turned into many many millions of dollars, but it turned a healthy profit, sans DRM and other industry pushed bullshit.

Fuck you, Al Perry. You're deliberately blind to his success because it points out that you're completely wrong.

Re:Idiots (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700843)

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

--Upton Sinclair

Re:Idiots (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700881)

Even better. It points out that he's completely useless.

Re:Idiots (3, Insightful)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700911)

You're deliberately blind to his success because it points out that you're completely wrong.

The problem is Louis removed may market inefficiencies created by the RIAA/MPAA, and those inefficiencies create jobs!</sarcasm>

Re:Idiots (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701143)

Copyright does not give creators the "right to monetize their creations," it gives them a limited duration (hah) in which they can control duplication and redistribution of their work.

Which in turn gives them the ability to monetize it.

Re:Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701239)

Don't waste your time on these folks. It's clear that they don't understand the term or the industry and have no desire to understand. They just want to beat their chests and justify why they don't pay for media content. Slashdot is such a loss anymore. It's becoming harder and harder to have a conversation around here without some raving idiot coming by and screaming nonsense and getting modded up because groupthink trumps the facts.

To paraphrase a great man... (5, Funny)

daitengu (172781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700687)

Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word "monetize" that I hadn't previously been aware of.

Re:To paraphrase a great man... (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700997)

Yeah... either I'm not smart enough to follow this story, or Al Perry's comment is just plain nonsense. I doubt the former since I've had my Monday coffee, but I guess you never know.

As far as I know, "monetize" simply means "to convert a thing into currency"*. We just do it so we don't have to barter everything; cash is far more liquid than a fistful of IOUs (which, in a sense, are the grandpappy of today's currency). Saying: "Hey buddy, I got a Pez Dispenser; I'll give you one for 5 cents." would be "monetizing" the Pez. Copyright doesn't provide this "right" (wtf? Is EVERYTHING some sort of "right" these days, simply so dipshits can threaten to revoke them? Is it my "right" to spend my cash, too?)

*Interesting note: I double checked and found that "monetize" can also mean "to coin" (which actually makes complete sense, considering the other definitions). So, I'm going to "monetize" as many phrases as I can, starting with "Don't step in that 'Alperry' over there, brah, you'll stink for days!" Due to the convoluted and unpredictable law of semantics, I shall soon be wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

Monetize doesn't mean profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700691)

He didn't monetize in the sense that he (the creator of the work) only profited himself, not all the shills in the MPAA.

And who/what is "Louis CK"? (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700699)

Would it have killed the submitter to include about three to five words informing us who the frack "Louis CK" is? Yes, it's just a Google away, but it would have been nice to mention it in the submission. (Or the editors could have added it.)

Re:And who/what is "Louis CK"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700747)

Would it have killed the submitter to include about three to five words informing us who the frack "Louis CK" is? Yes, it's just a Google away, but it would have been nice to mention it in the submission. (Or the editors could have added it.)

Agreed. Not only that, but the "related links" box doesn't appear to contain anything related to the story either (except the original submission of the same story).

Re:And who/what is "Louis CK"? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700803)

Would it have killed the submitter to include about three to five words informing us who the frack "Louis CK" is? Yes, it's just a Google away, but it would have been nice to mention it in the submission. (Or the editors could have added it.)

He's a comedian who released his latest produced video directly to the consumer and DRM-free. He made it extremely easy and friendly to access and made a shitload of money in a very short amount of time.

https://buy.louisck.net/ [louisck.net]

Re:And who/what is "Louis CK"? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700873)

Apparently, Dane Cook is infamous for ripping off his jokes. This is a phenomenon I've only become aware of in the last few years. Carlos Mencia and Robin Williams also have bad reps for stealing jokes. It's so bad for those two that comedians would walk off stage if they heard/saw them in the audience.

Re:And who/what is "Louis CK"? (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700967)

Considering that googling still didn't pop up the relevant results, the information was not in the article, and this is not a tech issue in the least I agree that a little bit of background would have been nice.

Just a little link to a story about his selling direct to customers would have sufficed.

Hold the phones! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700707)

You mean Louis C.K. has enough respect for his fans that he decided not to soak them for all they're worth? Stop the presses, this goes against everything my MBA taught me!

Not monetizing (3, Insightful)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700709)

Not monetizing *for whom?*

He made a mil in 12 days. For most of us that is a lot of monetizing. So for whom is it not monetizing, and why?

Comedy Specials (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700715)

Louie said on the Opie and Anthony show that he's never seen any of the money from the sales of his comedy specials.

Re:Comedy Specials (5, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700775)

which is why he sold his latest special on his own website and made the money he deserves. fuck paramount

Re:Comedy Specials (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700941)

Louie said on the Opie and Anthony show that he's never seen any of the money from the sales of his comedy specials.

Exactly the point the Good People(tm) at Paramount(tm)(r) are trying to make. See, what he did right here was make money from the sales of a comedy show he's selling. That's different from monetizing(tm) it, which is wholesome and good. See, when you monetize(tm) something, you give all the cash to a worthy corporation that writes very big and very complicated stacks of papers to sign. A lot of people need to be paid well to write those papers, which I'm sure you'll agree are very very important. When you make money, on the other hand, you get to keep all that money, which is filthy and wrong, as it doesn't involve corporations being paid to write very big and very complicated stacks of papers.

I'm glad Louis CK appears to understand how irresponsible and job-killing his greedy habit of making money is, and we at Paramount(tm)(r) are certain he will seek our forgiveness.

1M in 12 days isn't monetizing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700721)

1M in 12 days isn't monetizing? I guess that makes sense to someone with shit for brains.

monetize (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700765)

"monetize" - You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
 

Paramount's definition of "Monetize" (4, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700781)

Based on Al Perry's comments do we assume that "monetize" is defined by Paramount and the rest of the MPAA/RIAA as the use of extortion tactics to gain revenue from copyrighted materials, or maybe it's not monetizing unless the courts are involved?

The fact that Louis CK was able to make one million dollars in 12 days yet not meet Al Perry's definition of "monetize" implies this.

Re:Paramount's definition of "Monetize" (4, Insightful)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700835)

I suppose Monetize means using "Hollywood accounting" to pretend no money was made from enormous profits.
No question Louis CK made good money of it (rightfully so), and I really hope others that use the same methods will as well.
Jim Gaffigans recent Mr. Universe, for example (and yes - get it and see it - best ever)

The "Recipe"? (4, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700807)

Great article. I'll save the media production bashing to those already on the trail and go to what I thought was an interesting theory by Lewis CK. "The key to success is being polite, awesome, and human".

I don't think the first one makes that much difference. Lewis Black makes me laugh so hard I cry, and he's not polite. He is awesome, and to me funny. Steven Write is polite and human, but not what I would call awesome. Monotone is something that many people just can't handle.

Anyway, I think that being human is probably the biggest factor. Glad to see something positive coming out of all this!

What a great CV (2)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700815)

It appears that one of the previous job held by Paramount's worldwide VP of content protection and outreach was working for Saddam's information ministry, where he provided Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf with material to use in all those insightful broadcasts. Do you know the "there are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!" quote? It must have been this guy who was behind it.

Worldwide VP of Content Protection and Outreach (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700837)

This is a translation error from the original Hollyaccounting language.
The correct translation is Worldwide VP of Content that is made Out-of-Reach

Sorry for the error. FTFY.

Didn't monetize = Al didn't get paid. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700853)

"The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website."

Al is just pissed that a neophyte producer was successful without him.

Re:Didn't monetize = Al didn't get paid. (2)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701069)

Hey....this is the entertainment industry we're talking about?

Louis CK fucked with the system. He wasn't thinking of the middlemen. He stiffed the studio execs. He gave the lawyers and his agent the finger.

Will you think of the poor entertainment industry for a second? Blow and hookers are expensive. Vacation house mortgages don't just pay themselves.

Re:Didn't monetize = Al didn't get paid. (2)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701229)

You just made me wonder.. Did he fuck his career on any and all possible TV, Movie, and/or Radio gigs? Not that he had much anyway, but I wonder how that is used as leverage in cases like this? The movie execs are known to be mafia like in their mentality and treatment of those that try to buck the system. I'd be curious as to the amount of hate mail, death threats, etc.. he is getting from the Holleywood crowd..

Umm...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700895)

And this is slashdot-worthy news...why?

Re:Umm...? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701011)

Is this the new Slashdot meme?

Paramount's interpetation: (2)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700899)

Is that he wasted time concentrating on being intellignet and funny, instead of trying to squeeze as much money out of his fans as possible.


And Hollywood wants to know why they're losing the war against piracy....

Wait didn't LCK (5, Informative)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700909)

turn his work into money while while also giving his viewers get a good laugh. Shit not that I think about it, I got a two for one deal for my $5 and LCK got a new fan.

Thanks LCK!

Also didn't he donate some of the profits and share quite a bit of it with his staff? Good god we should hang him for such charity and make him lose his copyrights.

Rather than hoard the vast new profit from the digital download sales, CK said he plans to split it up among various people and organizations. The comedian explained that $250,000 would pay for the standup special and $250,000 would be disbursed as bonuses to people who work for him. Also, CK plans to donate $280,000 to five different charities, including the Fistula Foundation, Green Chimneys, Charity:Water, the Pablove Foundation and micro-loan non-profit Kiva. That leaves CK with $220,000 for himself.

“Some of that ($220K) will pay my rent and will care for my children. The rest I will do terrible, horrible things with and none of that is any of your business. In any case, to me, 220k is enough out of a million,” CK said, adding that he’s always viewed money as a resource rather than something you keep for yourself.

Won't someone think of the middle man (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700919)

These poor entertainment executives have multiple sports cars and trophy wives that aren't going to fund themselves.

Website idea (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700987)

We need a site/app where people like LCK can post info of up and coming self produced shows to get the word out. I bought his special but only by chance when I saw a post about him on Michael Geists websites. $5 was a hell of a deal and I'd be willing to buy buy buy at that price.

Hollywood commenting on alternative distribution (5, Insightful)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700991)

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

mpaa and riaa steal from Content Creators (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701009)

new line refused to pay Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings saying it did not turn a profit and you hear about record companies getting naive bands to sign bad contracts all the time. Are you really stealing from people who often stole what they are selling?

Monetize (0)

nemui-chan (550759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701079)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Monetize (1)

LandoCalrizzian (887264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701279)

FIXED: Paramount Claims Louis CK "Didn't Sodomize"

J. Coulton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701209)

I'm really surprised to hear that JoCo made half a million. He really caters to a niche audience (not a super small niche maybe, but he's definitely not "mainstream"). Plus what he charges (may it be for concert tickets, CDs or downloads) is really quite reasonable compared to the standards of the music industry. I had always imagined he made roughly the same kind of money a software engineer makes, maybe twice as much. This is more like 5x. Good for him!

If he can do it, how long until "bigger" acts start questioning the way business is done and the value of the middlemen?

Invention (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701345)

If you invent a word, then you get to invent the definition. I say Louis CK succeeded 100% in flrduburging his material.

If he's making money and he's happy with the result, then Paramount can STFU.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701377)

His whole reasoning for cutting out the blood sucking middlemen was to NOT monetize and leech the consumer of every possible dollar! His blog even states that he could have gotten a large lump sum up front at first but it would have cost each consumer quadruple the amount of money and the content would be DRM Laden and difficult to transfer to other devices.

Louis CK took a risk that the media corporations want us to believe is unthinkable and destined to failure, instead he made $1 million in 12 days, much more than he would have made from the media corporations.

The simple fact is thanks to the internet, Louis CK has a direct line to his fans and supporters and does not need media publishing companies. He made more money than he would have going through them AND he took away less money from the consumer purchasing his product.

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