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Pay only Podcast not us!

Posted by todd at 12:26 PM on February 21, 2006

Being a trend setter is tough and having went through some resistance last year when we were one of the first if not the first podcast to secure a sponsor and definitely one of the few shows to have a continuous sponsor for the past 8 months, we took a lot of heat for that. The same is true for the Ricky Gervais Show who is being pretty bold in trying to demand $1.95 per episode for his show.

I did some analysis recently and figured out that if 50% of my listeners donated $1.00 per month I could do podcasting and blogging full time, completely replacing my day job, even with the increased self employment taxes. But guess what 50% of you will never pay $1.00 per month even if I kicked production to 20 shows a month. So I am quite skeptical that Ricky Gervais is going to be able to get $1.95 per episode.

My thought process initially was that their has to be added value for the listener in order to even think about asking for a $1.00 a month, when we asked all of you on a survey how much money we save you every month from the recommendations that I put forth, the 1000+ people that responded said on average I saved them $9.00 per month. In the next question I asked what they would be willing to donate $1.00 per month for the same information that was currently free, the response was predictable in most saying that they would not pay or donate to listen to a podcast.

Podcasting and popularity is kind of a double edge sword, provide great content and added value yet the realities of implementing a subscription systems was less than appealing, this is one of the reasons why Geek News Central has sponsors today, because I know in a Internet based economy people want their content for free! I agree with them, I like my content free as well. Thus until someone can build a better mouse trap we will have sponsors for the show.

I doubt we will every find out if the first for pay podcast will actually pay, my bet is that he will fall out of all the various Top 100 list, and the show will go down as a good experiment. I may be wrong but that’s where I would be betting if I was throwing dice on the craps table. [News.com]

5 Comments

  1. From Dennis Hays at 6:07 pm on February 21, 2006

    I like the idea of Gervais trying a different delivery system for his “podcasts”. Should he be successful, then maybe some others can get money the same way. If a highly listened to podcast, like his, fails, then, at this time, we all can say this may not be the right vehicle now. At least there’s an effort here. I commend him for that.

  2. From Mike Wills at 8:05 pm on February 21, 2006

    I’ll tell you what. There is only one or two podcasts that I listen to that I would even consider paying for. The first one that comes to mind is Scott Sigler’s podiobooks. I could just wait for the book to come out, but he delivers such an enjoyable experience that it would be worth paying a little bit for. Maybe $0.25 – $0.50 a show. Any more I would wait for the book. Beyond that from what I hear, there is no podcast that is worth having to pay for to listen. If I can’t get it for free, I won’t listen. Heck, I don’t even listen to Adam Curry anymore.

  3. From Landincoldfire at 6:08 am on February 22, 2006

    Unless the podcast is extremely good, I can’t see paying for it.

    I can understand the cost for bandwidth to get the podcast out can sink a few ships rather quickly. Of course the better the more downloads, thus more bandwidth. To keep advertising down, there may be a need for donations or even a very minimal cost for membership.

    Off the top of my head I can think of a dozen that I would be willing to pay a very small amount per month to help cover their cost.

    Yes Todd, yours is one of them.

  4. From Bob Jordan at 12:26 pm on February 22, 2006

    I have found The Ricky Gervais Show to be so darned funny that I had to quit trying to listen to it while on the treadmill out of fear of hurting myself.

    I think The Ricky Gervais Show is one of the few podcasts that can charge for the content. I know I will subscribe.

    Todd, you seem poised to scream “I told you so” if The Ricky Gervais Show drops from the top 100. Being in the top 100 seems like a poor metric if the goal is to make money. Perhaps a better test is whether or not the show makes more money on a pay per listen model compared to the sponsorship money they received from The Guardian for the first series.

    It is impossible to compare The Ricky Gervais Show to the Geek News Central Podcast. Ricky & crew are generating unique content. The bulk of the content for the GNC Podcast is summarizing and offering an opinion on various tech news stories. There are a lot of other sources for that same information.

    I do think there is a danger of subscription fatique. Most of us can’t afford to pay a monthly subscription fee for everything that we find interesting. I try to be format agnostic and pay only for content and services that I need or want that I cannot get for free.

  5. From James T at 2:02 pm on February 22, 2006

    Todd,
    I have listened to most of the Ricky Gervais shows and must say that they are very funny. Although throughout most of the first serious they kept mentioning how they should have charged for the show seeing as how many ‘millions’ of users were downloading it. I believe that they used the first 12 shows as a test bed to see how many listeners they got and have now decided to charge, knowing that they have enough numbers to lose a substantial amount of listeners but still make money.
    I did download the first ‘free’ trailer and must say that the sound quality was not a patch on the previous episodes. This will need to be fixed if I were to continue listening. It is inevitable that the show will fall in the rankings as not all the current listeners will be prepared to pay but I do believe that it is good enough to attract enough subscribers to make them a nice profit!