This American Life takes a page from Louis CK, sells movie directly to fans


Credit: This American Life

Popular public radio show This American Life is following in Louis CK’s footsteps: The show just announced a partnership with video distribution platform to make a video recording of its Invisible Made Visible live show available online later this month. Fans who pay $5 will be able to access full-length streams of the show as well as download a DRM-free copy.

Ira Glass and team recorded Invisible Made Visible earlier this year at the NYU’s Skirball Center, and beamed the event live to theaters all over the country. The idea of the show was to involve many things not possible on the radio, including pictures, video and live acting on stage.

This American Life also used the show to experiment with interactivity: A live performance of OK Go incorporated the audience, which was able to influence the music through a special mobile music app. Fans who access the Invisible Made Visible video on VHX will be able to experience some of this with an interactive video player that allows them to play along with the OK Go performance. originally launched as a video discovery platform, but has been refocusing on its distribution capabilities in recent months, helping Aziz Ansari and Indie Game: The Movie to distribute their videos to an audience willing to pay.


Gustav Henk

I don’t understand why “DRM free” makes sense to any filmmaker. Who doesn’t want their content to be encrypted or protected? This allows for rampant piracy of the product. I like VHX and Distrify, but having looked at all the current options out there, was the choice for my film because it was far more advanced and actually offers DRM in a way that I, the filmmaker, can manage!


Because DRM doesn’t prevent your movie from being pirated. It only limits the ability for legally purchased video to be watched wherever your customer wants. There are ways around every kind of DRM, so you’re spending time managing something that only has an effect on people who already gave you money.

The spirit behind selling things without DRM is to gain trust and build an audience. Will your movie end up being pirated? Sure. But if you make great content, all you have to do is ask people to pay and they will. This makes a lot of sense for something on Public radio, since that’s been their business model for years.

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