Take a close look at what the US comedian Louis CK achieved with the video rights for his stand-up special at the New York Beacon Theatre on Nov 10th, 2011.
He made the video available for download (DRM free) on his website for 5.00 US$ via paypal four weeks later. If you want to make a good looking DVD out of it, you can download the disk artwork and the dvd cover artwork. After only 12 days it was downloaded over 200,000 times. Grossing over 1 million US$. Not bad. No licensing deals to be negotiated, no lawyers spending days of legal work for the contracts, no distribution fees, no variable production costs for the DVDs and no licensing partners trying to tell him that 62 minutes is an odd format. So, for him to net that amount under traditional terms he would have had to sell probably around 600,000 units retail. Plus, under regular distribution terms he would not have seen any revenue for at least 12 months if not longer. Now 6 weeks later everybody is more than recouped and a happy camper.
The other interesting metric are his 850,000 twitter followers, he can directly address. So do 850,000 followers = 200,000 downloads?
Bottom line: Own the content, know your fans.