Ricky Gervais cashes in on comedy podcast hit | iLounge News

Ricky Gervais cashes in on comedy podcast hit

Ricky Gervais, the English comedian behind the BBC’s and NBC’s “The Office,” is cashing in on his top-rated comedy podcast by signing a deal to sell future episodes through the iTunes Music Store and Audible.com. Seasons two and three of Gervais’s “The Ricky Gervais Show” will be sold for $1.95 per show or $6.95 for the entire season of at least four weekly episodes, plus a free sneak preview.

“The Ricky Gervais Show revolves around the comic dialogue of Gervais, his long-time creative partner Stephen Merchant and ‘hapless producer’ Karl Pilkington,” reads a description of the show. “First launched in December 2005, the show has quickly become a global phenomenon, having gained unprecedented popularity. The show averaged more than 260,000 weekly downloads in only its first month and was recently awarded the Guinness World Record for creating the world’s most-downloaded podcast, having reached 2.9 million cumulative downloads in just over two months”

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Well, I will officially stop downloading this podcast. Paying 95 cents for something that is essentially free would be dumb. I could see selling a few advetising spots but they are missing the whole mark of podcasting here.

Posted by JWj on February 21, 2006 at 10:04 AM (CST)


I don’t think they are missing the point.  Podcasting is a distribution method, it does not mean you can’t make money off of it.

Honestly, content is not free.  Even if you give it away free, it still has value.

Posted by OrangeWhip on February 21, 2006 at 10:24 AM (CST)


I too won’t be paying for these downloads, despite the quality of the show.  If Gervais’ pay-per-download experiment is a success, why shouldn’t we expect other mainstream podcasts to follow the same route?  If they do, the very nature of the podcast medium will be threatened, and the enthusiasm mainstream media has shown towards it will end.

Saying that, maybe the rise of pay-to-listen mainstream shows will give independent podcasters the place in the sun, and the distinction from mainstream shows, that they deserve.

Finally, will the Ricky Gervais show technically be a podcast anyway? His show will have no automatic download infastructure, and you will have to buy every show as released. I thought the whole point of podcasting was that you didnt have to do this.

I understand the desire to make some money, but paid-downloads is an unimaginative and slightly depressing way of going about it.

Posted by mike on February 21, 2006 at 10:29 AM (CST)


Audible offers full Podcast subscription and delivery via RSS to iTunes or any other podcast app.  You subscribe once and the files are automatically downloaded, just like any other podcast.

With iTunes, I’m not sure. The way I read it, you’d have to download each episode manually, but I could be wrong on that.

Posted by unkle jake on February 21, 2006 at 10:35 AM (CST)


What scares me the most is just the added infrastructure to download shows you pay for.  No doubt it will be an iTunes-only kind of thing, whereas now if I wanted to I could grab the free files on my Linux machine.  In order to have it a pay service, they will be locking out people just because of the technology and all this DRM jape.

DRM is really about control of the delivery platform.  That’s why Microsoft and others are so interested… It forces you to use certain hardware and software combinations.  So what if I want to write my own podcast aggregator?  No luck there, sorry.

Posted by m.sherman on February 21, 2006 at 10:44 AM (CST)



iTunes automatically downloads new episodes once you ‘subscribe’ to a podcast.

Posted by vienta on February 21, 2006 at 10:55 AM (CST)


Content is not free, distribution of 2.9million podcasts is not free!

I for one WILL be paying for the Ricky Gervais PodCast, I consider it a bonus that they have been free up until now.

Posted by Alan Marshall on February 21, 2006 at 11:12 AM (CST)


Honestly, the quality of the show was beginning to slip and the format was getting pretty tired.  While it did help me get through the day with a bit of humor; I think I’ll pass on paying.

Had it gone out on a stronger note, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay.

Posted by dave on February 21, 2006 at 11:23 AM (CST)


I like the show.  50 cents per is about what it’s worth.  The announced pricing structure will probably kill it.  $6.95 for 12 more shows? Maybe. $6.95 for 4 (maybe more) shows? Pass.

2.9 million * 10% willing to pay * $2 = $580,000.

I think 10% is a bit high though

Posted by Joe Berstine on February 21, 2006 at 12:21 PM (CST)


It’s all well and good to charge for podcasts - Gervais certainly wouldn’t be the first. Well before podcasting was invented as a term, Audible was charging for audio downloads. What I think the problem is is the price - seems a little high for the content being delivered.

Posted by george on February 21, 2006 at 12:21 PM (CST)


I’m pretty disappointed with this. They joked on the show about how much money they could’ve made… but ah well. I can understand their reasons, but I won’t be paying for the podcasts. There are other ways to get this kinda thing.

Posted by theshape on February 21, 2006 at 2:26 PM (CST)


I’m a huge Gervais fan.  I worship Merchant and Gervais.  I think they’re brilliant and the podcast is hysterical.

I refuse to pay $2 a show.  No freaking way.  Too much.  I’d pay *maybe* 5 bucks for the “season” of 12.

Welcome to the wonderful world of piracy, Ricky.  You just made thieves out of your fans.  Cheers, mate.

Posted by stark23x on February 21, 2006 at 2:59 PM (CST)


Here’s another question.  If we’re paying for it, are we going to have to sit through ads for the BBC, the hosting company and the Guardian?

Bet we do.

Posted by stark23x on February 21, 2006 at 3:05 PM (CST)


Having been the “Fourth Man” of this show with my many amusing contributions, I am disgusted at Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington.

What’s more, an entirely home grown podcast, largely fed off stories from the (entirely free) BBC website, will actually cost substantially more for us Brits than our US cousins.

99p = $1.70 or thereabouts. Bargain? I think not.

Posted by Paul "The Party Animal" Parker on February 21, 2006 at 3:46 PM (CST)


Get over it.  This is the future of podcasting.  If you want good stuff you’ll have to pay.  I never imagined podcasting to be free forever.  Jobs hinted at this too a while back.

Posted by Stan Roper on February 21, 2006 at 6:32 PM (CST)


I enjoyed this podcast a lot but I’m really dissapointed that they’ve decided to charge for it now.
I’d agree that the content slipped a bit in the last episode, mainly due to them mentioning that you must sign up to the newsletter and how it was only reasonable that people pay a small amount for their new podcasts.
Surely they could have made enough from advertising within the program to at least break even on the podcast. I wouldn’t object to a couple more adverts as long as they were substantially better than those aweful C4 adverts they had on the last few episodes.
I don’t care how round Karl’s head is I won’t be paying for the upcoming podcast.

Posted by robroe on February 22, 2006 at 8:35 AM (CST)


As with other parts of iTunes, it’s all down to content and price. Ricky Gervais show is funny when it’s free and once a week. It’s not going to be so funny if I have to pay for it (which I almost definitely will not).

They won’t always be as much fun, but the compilation of Jeremy Paxman interviews podcast on the BBC web site might inform me as well as generate the odd wry smile.

Shame about the Gervais show, but frankly how much can 2 blokes ragging another one for being bald and bigotted actually constitute comedy anyway.

Posted by Graeme Austin on February 22, 2006 at 12:29 PM (CST)


Will you people stop bitching and moaning? It is a small price to pay, relative to the other expenses in your life it is probably negligible. Not much to pay for a laugh. If you spent your time productively instead of haunting the forums whinging about how unfair it is, you could easily buy the podcast. Get a paper round and stop complaining. There. Problem solved, now get back to your homework.

Posted by rabies on February 22, 2006 at 11:33 PM (CST)


Ricky, Steve, and Karl are not doing one thing wrong in charging for their future podcasts!  These outcries come from the jealous non-talents and illegal downloaders.  Let he free market help decide if their pricing will need to be altered a bit.  Bottom line:  The Ricky Gervais Show is hilarious.  The majority of other “comedy” podcasts I’ve heard range from okay to unlistenable.  These guys gave 3 million people 6+ hours of howling laughter for free.  It took them time and money to give this away. 

What do these bellyachers want?  Demand they not do the podcast at all if they will charge for it?  Or would they, please, perhaps allow them to offer their podcast at a price for people who want to hear them and are willing to pay?

What a nanny state, “they owe me” attitude some of these people have.

Posted by Ryan McNary on February 23, 2006 at 1:31 AM (CST)


The show was a 30 minute commercial anyway. Now we’re paying for commercials?
Plugs for the Office, Flanimals, More Flanimals, long plugs for “channel 4” shows, Guardian unlimited, whatever that internet hosting company was…jeez.
And how much further can they take the “bash Karl” theme? not much I’m guessing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge RG fan and have contributed to his career and fortune watching his shows, talking them up, and buying DVD’s, but this is just a half hour short. Some have talked about how insignificant $2 is, for me it’s a gallon of gas, almost a gallon of milk, and 6 shows a month would pay for satellite!
I think they should consider this self-promotion, FANTASTIC self-promotion considering the download numbers and use it as a longterm RG promotion machine.
But alas… I was not consulted on this decision.

also, tark23x hit the nail on the head in his closing statements.

Posted by Robert on February 26, 2006 at 2:26 AM (CST)

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