Monty Python and the Holy Grail of Profits
And the spin-offs have been pure Camelot. The musical version, called Monty Python's Spamalot, hauled in $175 million, according to Playbill. Then in 2009, the Web went agog when the comedy troupe trumped content thieves and offered a full archive of Monty Python content on a YouTube channel, which fetched 186,000 subscribers and 60 million some-odd views. There is even a slick iPad app, Monty Python: Holy Book of Days. All of which drove a supposed massive spike in DVD sales. A Sir Lancelot-like 23,000% jump was reported by Mashable, BoingBoing, Techdirt and many, many others.
Which all should lend credence to the well-worn Web marketing argument that if you're hip, you don't suck and you play the content game by the new rules, yes, you can give all your stuff away and still charge somebody for similar stuff down the road.
"Monty Python Proves the System Works," blazed the headline from online marketing blog Topless Robot back in 2009.
Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person!
So it would appear that at last we have solved the three riddles of crossing the Bridge of Death here in the digital age: Simply take a multiplatform digital brand and extend back into the real world. But can investors actually plan on this integrated, digital-age approach of offering up gobs of content for nothing to zillions, hoping the experience will drive sales for other products? Does that thinking -- which, let's face it, drives the value of everything from Google(GOOG) to Justin Bieber -- really reveal to us the holy marketing grail our dark digital age so desperately calls far?
Absolutely not, Baker-Coe says.
"It would be almost impossible to duplicate the success of Monty Python," he says. "I cannot think of another brand that would work."