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Thanks a bunch Pommster!
There’s no problem with the delivery of ads, TWiT is amongst the best, if not the best, in the business at delivering ads. The problem is that advertisers are cutting their ad spending because they don’t know how much income they’re going to have in the coming weeks and months. Share prices are down too, which means that the usual sources of investment for those advertisers are drying up - borrowing is difficult if your stock price is tanking.
What makes it worse is that the number of listeners for each podcast has fallen, most likely because of the loss of captive commute time that many people filled with podcasts. This probably makes getting advertisers in harder work for TWiT if the audience appears to be in decline, even though it’s a one-time consequence of the “shelter in place” situation.
It’s a tough time for TWiT, and podcasts that are failing to generate ad income are going to be at risk, no matter how good the content. All we can do is be as understanding as possible of the pressures Leo & Lisa are under, and tell as many people as possible how good the shows are. Leaving reviews for shows on iTunes and other places will help keep them visible to new audiences too.
Patrick and Sebastian are going to do a farewell video - it will be published on the TWiCH feed. And Patrick has asked to take over the feed, so with any luck they’ll keep doing the show. Don’t cancel your subscription just yet!
It’s hard to cancel shows, but we have to be a bit ruthless, especially now. Advertising and downloads are off considerably since the pandemic began and money is very tight. Like most small businesses, we don’t have vast reserves. Lisa and I put six figures of our own money into the business last month and won’t be taking any draw for the forseeable future. We’re determined to get TWiT through this and emerge stronger than ever, if maybe a little the worse for wear, when this is all over.
Hi @Leo, that’s great news. Do what you can to protect your business. Being a worker in a South Australian government department, my job feels a lot safer than a lot of other, more transient jobs. I feel for the small businesses of the world and those workers who have lost their livelihood in this time.
Hey Leo! Appreciate the somewhat comforting words. I know it’s tough, and you gotta do what you gotta do to survive. I get that. It’s just such a shock when, by my viewer judgement, there are other less engaging Podcasts on the NW upon which the Ax should have fallen this early in the purge. I always envisioned TWiCH would be among the last to go, not the first.
As I said earlier, I watch TWiT Live pretty much 12/7. I don’t watch much TV - I watch TWiT. Why? I Love Tech. I Love TWiT, you and all your people. I even enjoy MacBreak Weekly and I don’t own a single piece of Apple hardware.
God I sure hope TWiT makes it through this. Everything else on the Internet is just second rate compared to TWiT. You don’t even know me, but I’ve watched and listened to TWiT so long I consider all of you my friends. Before TWiT was here, I used to record the Tech Guy Show off my AM Radio so I could listen to it again. I don’t make any purchases without checking your recommendations and advertiser list first. I trust you that much.
So do whatever you must to make it Leo. I will support you and always be one of your viewers.
I completely sympathize with TWiT’s economic peril at this time of great societal stress. I hope that when things improve, that This Week in Computer Hardware can return. It was one of my favorite shows and Patrick and Sebastian are a terrific team with a very pleasing on-air chemistry between them that is “infectious” (sorry!) to audience allegiance. Long live TWiCH!
We discussed this a few weeks back over here:
Maybe it’s a good time for that experiment? I for one certainly feel the value of TWiT now more than ever. Before, I simply enjoyed the entertaining content and friendly company - now, I kind of depend on the TWiT family to be an antidote to the downside of social distancing. Don’t need to distance from a friendly voice in a podcast. I could imagine there are others that feel the same.
I think I’ve read something about a tip jar somewhere. Is there such a thing? Why not make it front and center?
The aim would not be to shift from one model to another, but to allow and facilitate the community contributing to the team being able to provide what we love to consume. Especially in these times, the best that might happen is for those offers with the strongest community to build the best possible commercial resilience, no?
Will miss Twich, I used their information on the hardware end of the show to build my most recent windows machine. It is 4 years old and still going, along with a few upgrades on video card and ramm. Windows is a problem, the machine isn’t. Will miss TWIT if the economy does it harm, or if Leo has to charge for the show. Comcast in this rural area is killing my budget with high prices, 3Mbps down, and poor service. I’ll keep watching as long as Comcast doesn’t break my budget. Gotta eat.
carbonga: I agree. I think it may be time for a monetizing change. But I don’t think the “Tip Jar” model would work. It works for me as a viewer, but if you’re the proprietor, how would you budget around that unreliable, inconsistent source of income? You can’t. The only model that works is the subscription model. All the Big-Name Podcasters that have migrated from TV have done it this way. But it should never be the only or even primary source of monetization, rather a supplement to the main source - Advertising. IOW: a Subscription does not entitle the viewer to Ad-Free content. Also, it would seem to me that PAID Subscriber data would be much more valuable to both Podcaster and Advertiser than unpaid.
My suggestion however, has a few components to it from the subscribers’ point of view:
- Don’t be like the Cable companies we all despise. Charge viewers only for the shows they want to watch. Bundling is OK as long as it is not the only choice and doing so saves the subscriber some money.
- Don’t make viewers commit to such a long period of time that they feel locked in. Make it semi-annual, quarterly or even monthly like some Play Store Apps.
- Pricing: It needs to not only be affordable for the financial capability of the AVERAGE viewer, but also have several choices as to how the charges are calculated. That is things like Full access vs Limited Access, or View Online vs Download Only, or whatever.
- Then there’s the Free vs Premium Content model.
- And on and on …
Then there is the consideration that the number of Paid Subscribers would reduce the total number of Subscribers which is less attractive to Advertisers. There’s a balance that would have to be achieved, probably with a transition period over time. There’s a million different ways to structure the thing, and I am certain Leo & Lisa can come up with something that represents a Win-Win for everybody. The only thing certain is that it probably needs to be done - NOW - before the situation becomes critical.
The thought of losing TWiT is more than I can bear.
Where do I sign up?
Just seemed to recall the tip jar as something Leo mentioned when writing about income streams as one thing they had in the distant past.
I am a big fan of an online TV channel, RocketBeans, which seems to be faring ok - not great, but ok - with a supporters club. You choose how much you want to contribute monthly to help keep the lights on. Add some feedback on which shows you’d most like to see the funds go towards plus a time frame between three months and a year in which you’d like to contribute and you might have a reasonably simple additional source of income and a community that has a sense of being able to contribute. Anyone who cannot contribute at this time might not have to.
Certainly, TWiT will have considered these options before and decided not to follow this route. Let’s hope the situation does not go south too much and reconsidering does not become a necessity. However, you may be right: better move early.
The tip jar is still there:
Excellent - thank you and done!
I unsubscribed, but I’ll resubscribe. Thanks, @Leo!
Well, as we wait for a subscription, if it’ll ever happen, we can still “subscribe” via the tip jar by just making the tip a recurring one. That’s what I did about a month ago.
Pommster: Thanks for that. I didn’t know about the existence of the Tip Jar. I will be heading over there to make a contribution for sure. A couple of points however:
1- I tried to find it on my own without using your link. It wasn’t very obvious. I wouldn’t say it’s hidden, or extremely difficult to find but certainly not THAT easy. If you didn’t already know about it, I don’t think you would ever see it in the process of browsing around the site.
2- It’s not being promoted AT ALL. And I feel it should be, especially now. Leo has made it very plain that the future of TWiT is at greater risk than it has ever been before. You don’t get this big and wind up with low overhead. It should be on EVERY page in the site, in particular every page where you would go to download anything. It’s not begging, it’s just good marketing.
I would be willing to wager that not even 5% of TWiTsters who visit this site even know about it.
I agree that the new web site is not the greatest to get information; FYI, the tip jar is in More… -> About -> Tip Jar.
The problem is that when the web site was built there was no reason to think the Tip Jar was much more than a whimsical curiosity, so it didn’t need to be kept visible. The current design does a very good job of keeping TWiT’s main revenue-earning activities on view, and working across all types of devices - PC, tablet and phone.
Now we’re in the middle of circumstances that no-one could have foreseen, it would be nice to be able to change things but the sad fact is that changes to commercial web sites are not free, and usually not cheap either. It would be pointless changing the site to make the Tip Jar more prominent if all the income gained from it would be eaten up by the cost of the change.
This may be one of those situations where there is no simple answer, or rather, in the terms of a famous saying “For every complex problem there is a simple answer - and it’s wrong”. I remember that from a poster that a bunch of programmers way cleverer than me had on prominent display above their desks about 40 years ago.
Clayton: OK, I get that. I can understand the financial cancellation impact of hard coding it into the web site. I didn’t think of that. I should have. However, there are other ways of promoting its use, the most obvious way being to just write a line or two into the show scripts. Maybe have it read 2 or 3 times during the show. Or maybe promote it like you would any other Ad from a paid advertiser. That wouldn’t cost any more than the time it takes to write it. And there’s no shortage of that kind of talent at this studio, right? Be like any of the other Networks (IP, TV etc) and use your own network to promote your own network! It would be very quick and easy to incorporate a simple and permanent Bitly link into the banner at the bottom of almost every screen that appears on the shows. There’s all kinds of things that could be done. I’m sure I could come up with even more if I thought about it a while.
Re “For every complex problem there is a simple answer - and it’s wrong” - I Love it! It just became a permanent part of my personal repertoire. Thanks!
Thanks for the insight, @Clayton ! All of the thoughts below hinge on whether TWiT is interested and willing to explore the general route of strengthening listener contributions (and there’s a sizeable chance that the network does not - absolutely ok, fully understand, strategic decision, Leo has discussed this at length before). Should right now be the time for experiments:
As a very regular listener of several shows, I have to admit that I have hardly ever been to the TWiT website. (I am a pretty regular visitor around here and love this community, though!) That made me wonder which fan and listener touchpoints might matter most to highlighting the opportunity to tip, support, maybe even feed input into the great programme of the TWiT network. Making costly adjustments to the website would not even reach me.
It might be something as simple as setting up an easily memorable and maybe even fun sub-domain to twit.tv that leads to a slightly revised tip jar page (right now, the text reads a bit like contributions are seen as rather indifferent). Based on my thoughts above, the challenge is to bridge the chasm between listening and actively going online to contribute, later.
Ideally, it would be called and positioned as something that does not feel too much like TWiT asking for contributions but rather an opportunity for listeners to help TWiT making great content: rocketfuel.twit.tv, juice.twit.tv, propeller.twit.tv, paddle.twit.tv . You’ll come up with much better ones than I do here. The page might combine the opportunity to support with an option to send in a positive message (not a request, but a praise of something that made them support - individual experiences, particular shows, overall happiness with the content). Those messages - combined with the aggregated value of the contribution - might be useful to consider in show design decisions more or less. Maybe all it takes is a bit of different positioning, a suitable sub-domain, and some mentioning thereof on air.
The idea would be to make this feel as organic community contribution as possible and not feel as a form of financial support. Will it make millions? Certainly not. Will it build even stronger bonds between regulars and the network, make a little bit while not hurting much, and generate some new insights into listener perspectives? Maybe yes!