Nighttime talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is the latest mainstream performer who’s found it possible to make a mint without solely relying on traditional broadcasting and promotional channels.
His solution? YouTube.
Kimmel’s channel, called JimmyKimmelLive, features clips and recaps — typically running under five minutes each — from every episode of the comedian’s popular late-night talk show. Kimmel’s channel has more than 300,000 subscribers, and many of the videos have acquired millions of views on top of his substantial broadcast television audience on ABC.
It is YouTube’s 98th most-viewed partner channel of all-time, according to site information.
YouTube’s partnership program invites creators of extremely popular videos to monetize their uploads via ad-hosting or rentals while splitting the income with YouTube.
For Kimmel, the double-dipping is paying off — his YouTube channel generates between $1 million and $2 million annually, “a person close to the show” tells The Wall Street Journal.
But Kimmel is not the only star entertainer who has found that bypassing traditional broadcast and advertising revenue streams isn’t just for viral-video maniacs who edit away in their mothers’ basements.
In December, the comedian Louis CK offered his most recent stand-up performance video for download from his website for just $5. He skipped the costs of distribution, marketing and advertising, and lowered the incentive for fans to illegally download the video for free. He hauled in $1 million in just 12 days.
But you have to wonder whether his and Kimmel’s success will undermine their ability to turn the huge profits still best-enabled by mass-market consumption.
-Contributed by Mashable