They were counting the 5 dollar monthly subscriptions as well as the 50 dollar annuals, and I can imagine now that the ‘cast is “free for life” that only a small portion will resub. Still…
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@zegolf this is actually bad news. I shudder to think what other websites are following this and plan to pick up where Whiskey Media left off. Admittedly, not all sites can rely on the Bombcast as leverage to make some money but this whole thing is completely baffling to me. Really? 5000 people kicked out fifty bucks? Seriously? I can think of actual…you know, “causes” that can’t get 5000 people to donate anything.
250k should go a long way in paying for the 20 or so salaries they have on staff at Whiskey media…
Here’s a little math for ya to think about. Assuming all 5,000 subscriptions are $50 for the year, that’s $250,000 for the year. Not bad scratch for talking about video games.
Well I guess that’s good. Course, I never paid anything. I think id be kinda pissed if I did. I know this probably wasn’t their intention, but it really does kind of feel like this was a way to grab some quick cash.
Bombcast is free for everyone now.
So there’s that.
Regarding the DRM on the podcast. In the end, there is simply nothing they can do to prevent this from getting onto bittorrent. Someone will take the time to either reencode it into an mp3 or to open up audacity, set the computer recording device to “internal speakers” and then play/record the bombcast in one go. There will be a 2 hour delay, but the non-paid users will get it long before the week that they were supposed to wait.
Back to this topic again.
@ajguy Just to be clear, the Bombcast is the highest rated videogame podcast on iTunes… or at least, that is what I’ve been led to believe.
Still, I agree with you for the most part. They didn’t add value and then said “here is why you should pay us money.” They just broke up what they already do into chunks and decided to charge for it. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes.
@cgrajko Well, the point is that Giant Bomb doesn’t make money for anything other than their site. And the fact that the most popular thing that they do, the podcast, probably makes them zero dollars has to be a big reason why they want to charge for it.
Again, though, I don’t really disagree with what you are saying.
Wait….you guys aren’t wearing pants?
I personally think I’m now over my earlier bitchfest. Those guys need to eat, and Whiskey Media is feeding them. Something about not biting the hand that feeds, right?
I guess the point at which I finally said “whatever” was when I remembered that my boss donates annually to the local public radio station (the ones in the <100 frequencies). I often asked him why he was wasting his money on donating to a radio station. They ran commercials and were paid by advertisers.
Until this summer, when their annual drive didn't make enough money, and they had to change formats. I guess when you're playing to the fans, you hope the fans give back.
Someone will backfill the gap that Giant Bomb (probably won't) leaves. Then they'll monetize. Yadda yadda.
So…about that violence in video games? Yay war?
I'd be interested to know, for the guys that have kids, whether your attitude changed towards violence in games once you had kids.
I know for me, personally, I'm not quite sure how I'd feel. Reality sucks, but it's reality. I think the people that are afraid of violence in games (especially war games) are so panicked about it because the violence is getting more and more real. You know what? War sucks, but don't candy-coat it. Maybe exposing people to it will help educate people. Maybe it desensitizes them to it? I'm not sure where I stand on that.
@ajguy That’s exactly what I’m wondering about. You’d think that they’d need to encode the file to a different file format then MP3, run the podcast RSS feed through some form of authentication process, and then you’d only be able to listen to it on “approved” devices for it to work (ie. EGMi). In the future, I can totally see paid podcasts going this way when people are primarily listening to their podcasts via iPhone/iPad/Android-powered devices but we’re not there yet.
Here’s another question that I have that I haven’t been able to read about anywhere. Are they DRMing this thing? It seems to me that this will be all over the internet an hour after it’s posted.
I mean, I have to imagine a large percentage of their audience doesn’t have a credit card. I can’t even imagine what my parents’ reaction to high school me asking for $5 a month for a podcast would have been like. Still, I was a savvy enough kid to know how to acquire .mp3s I shouldn’t have had.
@sinfony No, I understand what you’re saying. I was trying to make the same point as you, but maybe I wasn’t clear. It’s like I said, the base content is the same. It’s all just different interpretations.
Right now, perhaps a lot of people do listen to Giant Bombcast just as you say. It’s because you like those guys. But do you $5 a month like them? Perhaps you do, but does every single listener of the show? It’s a really big gamble. I mean, I much prefer a Five Guys burger to a McDonald’s McDouble, but one is $6 and one is $1. Guess which one I tend to eat more often.
It’s certainly a brave new world. I wonder how many other “professional” podcasts will follow in their footsteps. Heck, this may potentially bring “amateur” shows such as the Squadcast and EBP a bigger audience of cheap people. 🙂
AJ, I think you’re misunderstanding why people listen to the Bombcast. I don’t listen for the news; podcasts are a shit place from which to get news. I listen because I like the guys on the show. I’m not going to switch over to Weekend Confirmed or Mobcast because I don’t care to hear those guys. All of the major gaming podcasts have basically the same format and content. It’s the personalities that control the appeal. I’d rather wait a week to get a show from people I like listening to than get a timely show that I can’t stand.
What AJ said.
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.
Going to throw my 2 cents into the pile,
I agree with a subscription based premium in some cases, IF it adds value to your experience.
I’ve never listened to the Bombcast but from the brief look at there site it seems neat. Rooster Teeth run a similar thing but MUCH cheaper ($10 a year) and that gets you early access to their videos, downloadable HD versions and some other exclusive things. $5 bucks a month is steep but if they increase the content/quality to warrant the fee then sure I’d sign up.
On the other hand Times.co.uk pissed me off earlier this year by switching to a paid model. I don’t want to sign up for their site, I only went there to read Clarkson’s weekly car reviews anyway. Its sad that they threw a wall up around their entire site, its most likely killed their online readerbase and probably killed their online ad revenue.
Exactly right, this is the original content business I’m still waiting for. As much as I enjoy the joking and such with Giant Bomb, I’m yet to see a reason why people should be paying for a non-truncated recording of what four guys in San Fran have been playing, a reading of selected news pieces with editorial-esque commentary bookends, then releases which are freely available elsewhere – albeit with some humourous readings when it comes to WiiWare and DSiware – and…er…emails?
At least with the SoS, it’s wonderful discussion on interesting topics, not just the industry cycle spoken about for five minutes then moved on from. Idle Thumbs, sort of similar – but even then, and don’t hate me, all the podcasts held in high regard by many aren’t much better or differentiated. I think Jeremy Parish and co. are too cool for the room and I get tired of the Jazz-cafe faux nonchalance of podcasts of similar ilk. Maybe the Brodeo/1UP Yours, but even then, I only came across the 1UP scene when it was starting to drown in its own saliva and the nurse contemplating a fresh set of sheets for the next patient.
Pachter was right, surprisingly, in that “games journalism” should be more about the people who make games themselves – but not in the reductive sense that it’s about individuals. I want studio highlights, I don’t want “personality” reporters and commentators. When we’re dealing with a medium whose reporting – for the most part – has a central pillar of product review, making it no different from looking at what makes a Toshiba fridge better than its peers, I want to know not what Joe Blow-Report thinks, but to know the history of the guys behind it. We get that now, sure, but its metered out through marketing, through the usual and sadly necessary business scoops.
To tie off a rant about wanting cake and eating it too – a strange analogy in itself – @cgrajko covers my stance. Good discourse shouldn’t be hidden behind pay barriers, but I’d advocate people appreciating interesting, INTERESTING work with donations or simply helping out in whatever way. Round table weeklies going through the motions won’t snag my bucks. Give me in-depth interviews and nice big articles and I’ll be more than happy to spare some clams.
@JeffGrubb I don’t work in the industry, and I can’t even pretend to know what it’s like to do what you do for a living, but I’m somewhat saddened by the idea that people should have to pay for the news. It isn’t as if the Giant Bomb folks are giving gamers something that they couldn’t already figure out for themselves by reading other sources and drawing their own conclusions. I’ve only listened to a few episodes of the Bombcast in full, but it doesn’t strike me as the type of thing that is blowing anyone’s mind. Maybe I’m just a cynical asshole, (I am… for sure), but I can’t help but feel that something free will take the place of the Bombcast for a lot of people who are unwilling to pay for it.
Incidentally, this is a big issue in literary circles. I once sat around for an evening trying to find good literature podcasts, but it’s mostly done by asshole professors who think people should pay for their content. (This is particularly upsetting since I became a teacher to, like, teach people…) I am unwilling to do so and have actually recruited a couple of other professors to do a podcast with me, because we want to share our knowledge for free. Fuck the people who think I should pay them $5 to hear their Lit Crit 101 ramblings on Book X of Plato’s Republic. I could probably charge for it, particularly since I have a graduate degree and so do the other two people I’m working with, but we get paid for doing other stuff. Why wouldn’t we share our thoughts for free if it’s something we really care about and want to discuss?
I too agree regarding @Beige’s suggestion of a donation model, but I think what Giant Bomb is going for is more of a Consumer Reports model. They claim that the money from their audience helps to keep them separated from the influence of advertising and allows them to remain free.
That is fine, and I do appreciate that sentiment, but they are going to continue taking advertising dollars and beyond that they will continue to take freebies from publishers.
Gerstmann was at the same Black Ops event that I went to. Activision paid for me to fly out there, they paid for the hotel room, and they paid for transportation to and from the airport. Gerstmann stayed at the same hotel I did and got the same rides I did. I think it is safe to assume that he too took part in Activision’s accommodations.
I don’t really have a problem with that. Working for Komob I know that if we don’t let Activision fly one of us out there we won’t be going out there at all, it is too expensive otherwise. But on the other hand our site doesn’t claim the moral high ground that we stand apart from the foul world of ads and its dirty, dirty money.
All that said, I think that one site of Giant Bomb’s size had to try the subscription model.
We’ve become way too accustomed to getting everything on the Internet for free. We take all the content we want from anyone website we want, because it is there to be taken from so that those websites will gain eyeballs for their advertisements. But most of the people who consume this content aren’t really living up to their side of the bargain. All we have to do is go to the site and view the ads, but when 3 out 5 people (a made up figure) are using ad blockers they aren’t living up to their end of the bargain.
At that point they are essentially stealing the content. The ad-block consumer reads, watches, listens to whatever and they give nothing back to the site. This is an unsustainable model .
I for one hope we can begin putting realistic worth on the content we consume everyday, if we don’t and continue to take it as worthless then the people who create it will move on to more worthwhile ventures.
One day of school and a practice later, I come back to a huge squad-wide discussion. Bravo for the level of discourse so far 🙂
Just finished listening to the announcement podcast they released regarding this issue. I have mixed feelings which developed over the course of the announcement. Initially, Whisky Media’s plan was fine by me – it offered small bonus perks for the community without affecting the current web site experience for those of us who aren’t heavily involved within their community. They’re trying to find a way around the typical ad-based system that sites use to make money without evoking the whole “pay wall” scheme that usually angers the majority of users. Like @Rocgaude, I support them in trying that model.
However, once they got to the podcast element, I started wondering. As background, the Bombcast has become my go-to gaming podcast post- 1UP Yours (excluding the Squadcast of course). I can’t wait for the show every week. I love the mix of personalities and enjoy most of the shenanigans that occur (this week’s discovery that two Wii Ware had the same press release made me laugh out loud in the middle of the gym surrounded by my teammates). I understand that the Bombcast takes up a lot of their time and energy but after offering the show free for 3 years now, you can’t simply split the show up and offer the 2nd half on time to paying customers. Depending on how they cut it up, they may kill some of the flow the podcast has developed over the years. Screw with the format and you risk alienating people more than you’d like.
I love podcasts but I have a hard time thinking I would pay a monthly fee for them. The best alternative in my mind is, like @Beige @bigdaddygamebot and @cgrajko have mentioned, to offer the opportunity to donate regularly instead and keep the format as is. If it is a show that you feel deserves your donation, then you can but if not, well the show is still available for you free of charge regardless. I’ve donated money to the TWiT Network on the basis of quality and the fact that the network has, over the years, provided me with between 2 and 8 shows weekly to which I subscribed to at any moment. Had the old 1UP Radio network asked for donations, I would have gladly done so as well.
Simply put: Don’t screw with the content – simply offer people a choice
Small podcast tangent: @RocGaude, did you get a chance to listen to the Bugle? I’d be curious on your first impression of the show.
What a rip-roaring discussion! And the civility! A feather in the collective cap.
@RocGaude I think half of what gets me riled is not so much the subscription model, just that clean piece of marketing undertow that makes me feel I’m missing out on something. With tangible products, the day-one purchase or the fresh edition of a magazine, it has ballast. With products that’re now broken up into the sections and monetised – formerly free items – echoing the recent trend in mined and extracted portions of games turned into DLC, I feel a mixture of regret it’s not the full deal, but revolted I’m being made to pay for it. It’s the perfect economic equation of want-versus-need losing its rudder with me, and perhaps makes me the right kind of sap for such situations. Certainly agree with @beige on the donation model, so if Giant Bomb ever did that, I wouldn’t be so tough on what I see as a bit of a rich deal.
The thing about the Giant Bomb website is that, despite it being the creation of Gerstmann and co., it’s pretty thin on video content, and unique video content at that. If they increase their output and unique content, then I’d happily pay for content. You’re talking to a guy who paid for a few years of IGN subscription JUST to post on the general board forums there. This highlights what I sap I was and how much of a scrooge I’ve become now that responsibilities have mounted. Make it worth my while, GB!
I’m going to preface my comments about the Giant Bomb thing with this: I don’t really like the Bombcast. I don’t see it as being terribly different from the glut of other podcasts that are floating around. As a result, this decision probably means something different for me than it does for the folks who actively listen to it regularly.
I’m with @beige and @bigdaddygamebot on the donation front. I gladly gave $50 to This American Life last year, because I like it a lot, and I felt that it provided me with $50 worth of enjoyment last year. I could have donated way less and still felt in the clear, but I had the money, and I wanted it to go to a service that I appreciate. That said, This American Life actually engages in journalism. Reporters find, write, and refine stories. Unless I’m missing something, this is a bit different than the Bombcast, which of course has a presence at E3 and whatnot but largely sits around talking about games. It’s cool that people enjoy it, but I’m not in favor of rewarding it. I mean, I sit around bullshitting about games every now and again on a podcast, and I wouldn’t dream of attempting to monetize that content, nor would I ever try to monetize content on my site (*cough* http://www.newgameplus.net *cough*).
The parallel I draw between myself and the folks at Giant Bomb who make a living off of this is clearly facetious, but there is so much good free criticism and gaming news from under the radar sites that it is tough to justify paying for something I can get elsewhere. I would, however, throw down a donation for A Life Well Wasted. Make of that what you will…
I’m really glad that people are picking up and enjoying Amnesia. I haven’t actually purchased the game yet, but I have been following it in earnest for the last few months, and I have played the demo, which is fantastic. As a matter of fact, you should all play the demo: http://www.amnesiagame.com/#demo
Frictional games is one of those companies I really adore, because they put out their stuff for PC, Mac, and Linux (and they allow you access to all 3 by purchasing the game.) This isn’t as big of a deal now that I’m not dual booting Linux anymore, but it is still cool that they’re looking out for everyone.
@rampantbicycle hit on pretty much all of the high points that I would bring up, but she’s absolutely right. It takes a lot of cues from Gothic Fiction and feels like a video game version of Lovecraft with a lot of nods to the type of atmosphere Henry James builds in something like The Turn of the Screw. The sound design is absolutely fabulous, and there are a lot of little touches that I appreciate but won’t mention for fear of spoilers.
@beige I agree with the Radiolab, This American Life strategy. I have donated and not because I was strongarmed into doing so at the risk of only receiving half of what I once received for free. I donated because I love what they produce and I don’t want to see it go away.
I don’t think the GB crew has any say in what business model is being used. I think the bus is being driven solely by Whiskey Media.
@bowlisimo I dig the random tangents and the Bombcast is generally the only podcast I listen to where I laugh out loud at times when listening. I certainly don’t want to squash it all, but of late, it has been more “rambling” and less “quirky conversation”.
Also…I love Gerstmann, like…love.
Personally, I wonder how splitting the content up will affect the tone of the Bombcast…when you’ve got paying subscribers, I have to imagine you feel a lot more pressure to try and seem like you’re providing worthwhile content. The tangents and off topic conversations have been some of the meatiest parts of a lot of my favorite podcasts though.
All in all, I think we can all see that this extends way beyond the realm of games coverage – Beige just hit on the Public Radio similarity. I love the fact that by donating to your local NPR station, you can indirectly fund all of their content (The 1up network could’ve benefited a lot from that model), or you can choose to specify a particular show you enjoy.
Journalism itself is in upheaval right now though, not just Giant Bomb and gaming news, but places like the Wall Street Journal and CNN. Traditional advertising online just doesn’t have enough value for anyone right now – I work in that industry in fact, so I could go on at length about why that is – and a lot of big content creators are starting to look at pay walls and user subscriptions. I’m willing to bet that a lot of people will be keeping tabs on what happens to Whiskey Media….hopefully they’ll see that the best business model is one where subscriptions create the freedom to report honestly and independently, and aren’t just a supplement to traditional advertising revenue.
@beige That’s a great strategy. I know that Gamers With Jobs has an annual “fund raiser” where they always seem to raise enough money to cover costs and keep the show going. Good on them.
@bowlisimo First off, I’m on your side.
In regards to shenanigans, the Brodeo and Idle Thumbs pulled it off wonderfully. I can’t say the same thing for the Bombcast. While they sometimes knock one out of the park, I’m mostly zoning out during the initial “warm up” portion of the show. I can’t count how many times I’ve unscribed/re-subscribed to the show because of that. I only listen because of Gerstmann who, in my opinion, has always been funny and has something interesting to say. He’s got “it”, that spark of personality that people gravitate toward.
The gaming media will thrive or continue to dwindle based solely on its ability to retain personalities that make content worth consuming. I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement that people follow the people, not name brands. It’s the “soul” of the product/brand that’s important and what makes people connect with it. In a click-based, ad-driven business model, having a “soul” is fucking worthless. It’s all about volume, commodity-priced writing, “top 10” lists, and having your users write “blogs” (aka free content) in order to build traffic. I’m sick of that shit because that’s why we have no more 1UP Yours or Brodeo.
Tough crowd (that’s a good thing).
Three things (and realize that I’m leaning towards *not* subscribing)
1. As the GB crew was saying (and also Roc), I wouldn’t call creating a two hour weekly podcast a sliver of their creative output, especially when they say it basically knocks one full day off of the work week.
Regardless, I never got the sense that they were starving because people don’t pay for their podcast. Having subscribers is about being funded (of course, to make money) by the people who enjoy the site, and not by advertisers who just want cover everything in eye blasters and Call of Duty skins to get more clickz and make their website suck to use. You can think that I bought into their bullshit, but the track record so far has been good.
Anyway, if you use the site and don’t subscribe, basically nothing changes, except there is better site functionality, and you get half the podcast a week later. I hate the last part, but I still think it’s pretty reasonable. If all you care about is the podcast however, then it is easy to see why you would feel slighted.
2. @zegolf The strength of the personalities covering games is the biggest reason why I return to a gaming website. Yes, I can simply google Sneak King and get all the dry info I need, but for me, it’s the “man, I wonder what these guys think about this” question that is the greatest draw. It’s why I initially got hooked on 1up (in its hayday), its why I frequented Gamespot in college, and now Giantbomb. Also, I like to laugh.
3. Podcast shenanigans and random tangents (yes, about energy drinks) make for some of the best listening. I’m not sure what that argument is about, do I need to invoke the Brodeo?
@rocgaude 100% agree. If 1UP had said, “If you want to keep this rolling…please subscribe.” I would have subscribed without even thinking about it. Maybe the influx of cash might have kept more of the talent there for a bit longer.
@feenwager @bigdaddygamebot I get that. I can count on one hand the number of podcasts that I would’ve been happy to pay for and the Bombcast isn’t one of them (ironically, the old HotSpot which they originated from was worth paying for). I can’t tolerate shenanigans now for free podcasts as most shows can’t pull it off in an entertaining way. If you’re gonna go pro, you gotta go all the way.
@unmanneddrone I look at it this way. I have no problem paying for something that works and has a proven track record. Sony has not instilled any of that confidence in me so I knew that the “Plus” thing would be a questionable value. However, if 1UP in 2007 had been able to come out and say “Look guys, we’re hurting financially as a company. If we switch to a paid subscription for the podcasts (including 1UP Yours and GFW Radio), we’ll be able to keep those guys on full time and we can keep those shows flowing every week” they could’ve named their price.
I completely understand the mentality of trying to put food in one’s belly. My issue with the podcast being monetized is that, in my personal opinion, it’s targeting the one thing in which the people who are less likely to financially contribute are interested.
If you want to make money off of a subscription, more power to you. I’m having trouble putting into words what my argument is, but more or less my qualm is with the fact that the only real benefit I get from Giant Bomb is something I can listen to at work and in the car or at the gym. I don’t really care for their website, personally I think it’s useless. If I want to know information about a game it’s because
a) I need a walkthrough
b) I need to look up trivia which is better found on Wikipedia or IMDB
I don’t care how many games have hamburgers in them, or how many games Denis Dyack has been involved in. There videos are nice distractions, but the game-provided content can be found anywhere, and “quick looks” are a dime a dozen. The forums offer nothing to me, mainly because I’m a faceless voice that won’t get a word in edge-wise because I don’t have the time to post 24/7.
I’m ok with them charging for, say, badges on avatars, and HD video output and things of that nature. But to me, personally, charging for the podcast; the only real benefit I get from Giant Bomb, is the quickest way to alienate me. Charging for the other stuff will target the people that are more likely to give them money anyway, because they’re more actively involved in the community. I give my money to Netflix, because I use that service a ton. I give my money to Microsoft (and don’t have a problem with the price hike, btw) because I use Live and all that it offers to me. Except facebook and twiiter. Nobody uses that shit.
As a group, the Giant Bomb crew commented on how Microsoft should have come out with a tiered pricing scheme. Why then, did they lump theirs under one price?
I can see where @bigdaddygamebot is coming from, and I agree with him. Whiskey Media IS fueling this whole drive. But that doesn’t mean that GB couldn’t have done something about it for the people who aren’t going to pay.
Am I just bitching? Sure I am. Will the split podcast effect me? Not any more than the fact that I’ll probably never listen to the second half. Are they doing the right thing? When you look at it from their perspective, sure. Life is a business, and ultimately everyone has to eat. I just don’t agree with the whole “EVERYTHING HAS BEEN FREE. NOW PAY FOR SLIGHTLY BETTER!” mentality.
Woooo. Angel Wings on my avatar that I never use.
Oh, also. GamersGate is having “EA Weekend.” Mass Effect 1/2. Dragon’s Age. All that stuff is on sale. If you didn’t get the email, it’s probably on the website. Or just ask me to forward it to you.
Emphasis on “crap”. I can appreciate their desire to be more profitable and I was actually two steps into signing up when I realized (atleast I believe this to be the truth) that this whole thing is being driven by Whiskey Media. They are basically holding the Bombcast ransom in order to promote their other sites. As a business, they are 100% allowed to do this. As a consumer, I’m 100% allowed to think it’s fucked.
It’s not sound business to start charging for something that has been free for close to three years.
A smart business decision would involve offering more content (the type of content that most of the userbase wants) at a price.
Love Giantbomb, but they’ve pretty much lost me on this one. I know the numbers. “Less than a dollar per podcast for the entire year…” , “Think of all the enjoyment you’ve received in the past…”
I get it. I really do, but if I did end up paying, I couldn’t help but feel like I’m getting fucked. It’s Whiskey Media’s job to make sure I don’t feel like I’m getting fucked, even when I am. They’re not doing a particularly good job at the moment.
If I DO pay for a podcast, I would certainly expect more talk about the actual playing of games and less talk about energy drinks, what Vinnie did on the weekend and drunken rampaging by Leigh Alexander…
Regarding the Giant Bomb announcement of their new subscription service, I’m all for it. While I can’t say that the Bombcast is a show I’d necessarily want to pay for, I believe in their business model.
The Ziff Davis-owned 1UP.com was slowly killed because of their ad-only, click-based business model. When you have people ”saying it like it is” on a popular free-to-listen podcast, advertisers get gun shy about investing their marketing dollars into that media outlet. One of the big reasons Shu was pressured to leave EGM was because of the Ubisoft ban. No one wants their products to be potentially slandered by their partners (just ask Jeff Gerstmann). Just because bad exposure is still good exposure to Madonna, it doesn’t always work that way in the gaming world.
Making podcasts takes a lot more time and resources then you would think. Sure, most gaming podcasts are just a bunch of dudes talking over Skype about whatever they’ve been playing recently and bitching about current developments in the industry. However, if you focus on making a good show like we do, there’s a lot more to it and at some point you start to question how far the “labor of love” can be justified when you’ve got bills to pay.
I can guarantee you that everyone who’s actively trying to make a living in the gaming media world is trying to figure out how to monetize podcasts. It’s going to happen so prepare yourself for it. Personally, I think that podcasts funded by a subscription-based model will provide better journalistic insights then those funded by an ad-based model.
Of course, I’ll be glad to be proven wrong. Maybe someday there will be a mainstream website that produces another 1UP Yours that’s completely free and ad-based. Until that day, my money’s on the Giant Bomb model.
I’m just grouchy about the split. However, allegedly, something popped up on twitter suggesting if they get 5000 subscribers, the bombcast will be free forever and have no split audio. They can keep the HD video streams, that’s fine. It’s on the backs of the heavyweight Bombcast fans now.
@RedSwirl Sun, man. Get some! At least before Halo drops.
@zegolf, iscariot, unmanneddrone I listened to that Giantbomb announcement last night. I don’t like the splitting up of the podcast, that sucks ass. However (and not to sound too much like a GB apologist, although I probably will), I think they explained their reasoning pretty well. I can understand that podcasting from a business perspective costs a lot for little monetary return, despite being a great way to reach and speak to the community.
If you’ve frequented the website for any length of time in the past two years (or even just listened to the Bombcast), I think it’s obvious that the guys at Giantbomb are very sensitive to marketing bullshit and want very much to avoid becoming the ad infested walking dead that are IGN, Gamespot, and 1up. To their credit they’ve done a great job with that, and it gives them a lot of cachet and good will with the community because of it. People like to support that kind of thing. Also, they’re fucking hilarious and I’ve been listening to them since college.
The difference though, between this and what Microsoft did with XBL, is that you guys are getting charged an extra 10 dollars on top of an annual fee you already pay for no change in service, whereas Giantbomb is improving the site and attempting to pay for themselves with something other than just advertising dollars from mostly gaming companies at the same time. This also answers @Jeffgrubb ‘s question as to what is wrong with games journalism. It’s the press being paid to advertise by the very game companies that they are criticizing (see Gerstmanngate).
That said, will I pay for a subscription? I might. Although, the problem is I visit the site daily for the videos, but I don’t really care about the community stuff. You guys are my community.
How many more times can I write the word bomb?
@zegolf There’s a few different angles to look at this, and one of them doesn’t apply to Giant Bomb…it’s the struggling service providers. While I quite like the Bombcast, I certainly wouldn’t pay for it.
A good example of a paid subscription service in regards to a podcast is the wonderful Mysterious Universe show; two guys (out of Sydney, surprisingly) who do a great job with a free podcast, but for subscribers of their ‘Plus’ setup, they get an added hour of reporting and stories as an addition to their weekly podcast, plus a follow-up weekend edition that isn’t available outside of the subscription. What’s more, this is their primary source of income, so they do a great job on all accounts.
The Giant Bomb guys? I only use subscribe to the podcast, I don’t hang around the site. With you on this one, Zegolf.
@RocGaude or anyone else who’s in need of a further podcast recommendation…I’ll throw Mysterious Universe up there as one of those oddities you might need to round off that balance of tech news and culture. You might be a massive sceptic when it comes to anything X-Files-y, but these guys are cheerful and eloquent non-kooks who would be as quick as you to dismiss baloney. http://mysteriousuniverse.org/
Their podcast is on iTunes.
@iscariot83 Not to jump in on the Q&A, but I just heard the Giant Bomb/Whiskey Media announcement and I’ve gotta say it’s a total load of bullshit. The whole pay-for-podcast crap, even though you get all of it a week later, is crap. I understand needing to make money, but that’s directly punishing people who only use GB for their podcast. I have no need to participate in their community because I don’t have the time to keep up. I work for a living and don’t feel like editing wiki’s and jumping on forums for the 8 hours after I get home.
They may as well put horse armor on the podcast at this point…