I figured I’d say a quick piece about the whole Giant Bombcast thing. As someone who has also been making a free, weekly podcast for three years, believe me when I say I’ve certainly been trying to figure out a way to monetize the format as well. The truth of the matter is, I’m a little fish in a giant ass pond. Then you have the Giant Bomb guys. At best, they are a medium fish in a giant ass pond.

Full disclosure, I’ve never cared for the Giant Bombcast. I’ve given it a few tries, but the whole thing is just too chaotic and off topic for me to get in to. At times, it sounds like there’s 10 people in the room just drunkenly shouting, and since I typically listen to podcasts while driving, it became very hard to focus on.

The stuff they talk about is, as was mentioned by others, available everywhere else on the internet. The reason you listen to a particular podcast is because you enjoy the way that crew discusses said content. While I don’t enjoy Giant Bomb’s format, I can understand why others do. Heck, it Weekend Confirmed wanted money, I’d probably pay it because I love the insights of Garnert, Brian, and Jeff. But there’s still an inherent danger to the subscription model.

The way I see it breaking down, you will gain the support of your most fervent listeners. At best, that may be half of your listeners. Everyone else will just move elsewhere to other free podcasts. Weekend Confirmed, Mobcast, *cough* Exploding Barrel *cough* all offer similar content and are free. Now here comes the real problem. How do you grow your now fractioned user base? You may get some word of mouth, but in general, why would someone looking to listen to a gaming podcast subscribe to yours when there are hundreds of other shows featuring similar content for free?

Personally, I think the early Penny Arcade model is the way to go. Ask for donations, offer unique little pieces of bonus content that is entirely unique to you for those donors, continue with ads, and do merchandising. I haven’t had the time lately to go full tilt with it, but I’ve certainly looked into getting EBP mugs and shirts at CafePress, and there’s really nothing to it. With any luck, you’ll be able to build enough of a base from ads and merchandise that donations won’t even be necessary. Though I don’t think it will ever be feasible to create a gaming convention around a podcast. Maybe a charity.