Last week, CollegeHumor unveiled “Fired,” a 30 minute episode of their popular web series Jake and Amir. The episode was made available both as a $2.99 stream and a $13 DVD that also included outtakes, behind-the-scenes content, commentary, and 10 other Jake and Amir episodes.
I talked to Sam Reich, CollegeHumor’s President of Original Content, about why they’re trying this new model. “We have no plans to move entirely to the pay-per-view model. Advertising is our bread and butter,” he told me. “That being said, we wanted to experiment with making something big and devoid of advertising, and the pay-per-view model was the only way we could afford it. Jake and Amir made the most sense as the focus of that experiment because they have largest fan base.” It makes sense; with the advertiser-supported model, anything racy that an advertiser doesn’t want their brand attached to won’t make the site any money. But this could be an avenue for more ambitious and risky videos to be profitable without needing to appeal to an advertiser.
And while he didn’t want to go into specifics about how many streams and DVDs they’ve sold, the numbers are good enough that they’ll try more things like this in the future. “Thus far, I’m happy to say that the experiment has been successful, and we’ll almost definitely be doing another one.” And with the episode being added to YouTube as a pay-per-view stream next week, it’ll become available to more people soon enough.