Subscriptions and the price of the internet

So I guess I was expecting a Whiskey Media subscription to run around the micro-payment zone (so when bundled up you'd probably go with quarterly / annual pricing to avoid eating too many charges on each transaction) and $50/year is higher than my expectations.  And time-delaying the Bombcast to incentivise users is a bit of a shame after the talk about subscriptions only being a premium offering.  Grrrr, Geoff smash plans of sustainable content generation without significant advertising revenues! 
 
And then I turned around and looked into the middle distance, coincidentally resting my gaze on a pile of EDGE magazines.  Being a local, they're roughly the same subscription value (if you get a discount offer) as Giant Bomb is asking.  130 pages a month, printed on paper.  Am I really just paying the money because of the paper bindings?  When I think of the WM sites and all the original video programming and written content I'm enjoying, how can I possibly not say that is worth a few dollars each month? 
 
"Because it's online" 
 I guess that's the answer.  We're so used to getting basically everything for free online that we don't expect to pay for anything.  If I don't support these guys then someone else will be making free content and I can just move to their free take-out joint.  Quality may go down, trust in an honest view may wash away, but at least we'll never have to pay a penny more than our basic ISP fees to get at the juicy juicy time-sink content. 
 
Well screw that!  I'll find $50 each year and throw it at the Whiskey brand.  If I really run out of cash I could stop subscribing to EDGE and put my money where my hours of enjoyment are.  But it isn't just about putting cash into things you like; it's about putting cash into slightly niche enterprises you really enjoy and want to see more from.  If Giant Bomb, Tested, Screened, and co are just another site in your mind then obviously putting a delay on some content is a dick move and maybe you'll just move away to somewhere else to get your gaming content.  But, if you think this content is unique and special, give a few dollars each month to help make sure it'll still be here, maybe bigger and better, in the future. 
 
 
Full disclosure, this isn't something new I've had to wrestle with on hearing the bombcast news.  As a paying subscriber to Rock Paper Shotgun (your number one PC-centric online magazine, only $24/year) I've already weighed up my view of paying for online content.  If the content is good enough, I'll happily pay magazine/newspaper subscription prices to help fund it.

13 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Shivoa

So I guess I was expecting a Whiskey Media subscription to run around the micro-payment zone (so when bundled up you'd probably go with quarterly / annual pricing to avoid eating too many charges on each transaction) and $50/year is higher than my expectations.  And time-delaying the Bombcast to incentivise users is a bit of a shame after the talk about subscriptions only being a premium offering.  Grrrr, Geoff smash plans of sustainable content generation without significant advertising revenues! 
 
And then I turned around and looked into the middle distance, coincidentally resting my gaze on a pile of EDGE magazines.  Being a local, they're roughly the same subscription value (if you get a discount offer) as Giant Bomb is asking.  130 pages a month, printed on paper.  Am I really just paying the money because of the paper bindings?  When I think of the WM sites and all the original video programming and written content I'm enjoying, how can I possibly not say that is worth a few dollars each month? 
 
"Because it's online" 
 I guess that's the answer.  We're so used to getting basically everything for free online that we don't expect to pay for anything.  If I don't support these guys then someone else will be making free content and I can just move to their free take-out joint.  Quality may go down, trust in an honest view may wash away, but at least we'll never have to pay a penny more than our basic ISP fees to get at the juicy juicy time-sink content. 
 
Well screw that!  I'll find $50 each year and throw it at the Whiskey brand.  If I really run out of cash I could stop subscribing to EDGE and put my money where my hours of enjoyment are.  But it isn't just about putting cash into things you like; it's about putting cash into slightly niche enterprises you really enjoy and want to see more from.  If Giant Bomb, Tested, Screened, and co are just another site in your mind then obviously putting a delay on some content is a dick move and maybe you'll just move away to somewhere else to get your gaming content.  But, if you think this content is unique and special, give a few dollars each month to help make sure it'll still be here, maybe bigger and better, in the future. 
 
 
Full disclosure, this isn't something new I've had to wrestle with on hearing the bombcast news.  As a paying subscriber to Rock Paper Shotgun (your number one PC-centric online magazine, only $24/year) I've already weighed up my view of paying for online content.  If the content is good enough, I'll happily pay magazine/newspaper subscription prices to help fund it.

Posted by ryanwho

Fun theory. Here's mine. 
This American Life-yearly donation drive 
Smodcast-sponsors 
Jimmy Pardo- reasonable subscription price, better value 
 
This isn't a good value compared to other internet podcasts who make money.

Posted by nail1080
@Shivoa said:
 
 
"Because it's online" 

there's your answer, you should have stopped tying there. A big fat subscription tab is going to turn away new users in the long run and there will be a lot less traffic on the site overall. So basically they will end up losing more money in the long run. That's why you don't make people pay for small websites which have not grown to their full potential yet.
Posted by KaosAngel

...where are all these new posters coming from?

Posted by AlisterCat
@ryanwho said:
" Fun theory. Here's mine. 
This American Life-yearly donation drive 
Smodcast-sponsors 
Jimmy Pardo- reasonable subscription price, better value 
 
This isn't a good value compared to other internet podcasts who make money. "
These are unique. Am I getting Vinny on any of those other podcasts? No. You can't decide for others whether it's good value, and if that's the case then you just don't subscribe.
Online
Posted by ryanwho
@AlisterCat said:
" @ryanwho said:
" Fun theory. Here's mine. 
This American Life-yearly donation drive 
Smodcast-sponsors 
Jimmy Pardo- reasonable subscription price, better value 
 
This isn't a good value compared to other internet podcasts who make money. "
These are unique. Am I getting Vinny on any of those other podcasts? No. You can't decide for others whether it's good value, and if that's the case then you just don't subscribe. "
If enough people "just don't subscribe" the model is a failure. And maybe you're fine with the site failing, but I'd rather they come to understand this isn't sustainable. If you want to be ignorant and pretend GB knows what its doing more than FAR MORE SUCCESSFUL LONGER RUNNING PODCASTS then that's your stupid prerogative.
Posted by AlisterCat
@ryanwho said:
" @AlisterCat said:
" @ryanwho said:
" Fun theory. Here's mine. 
This American Life-yearly donation drive 
Smodcast-sponsors 
Jimmy Pardo- reasonable subscription price, better value 
 
This isn't a good value compared to other internet podcasts who make money. "
These are unique. Am I getting Vinny on any of those other podcasts? No. You can't decide for others whether it's good value, and if that's the case then you just don't subscribe. "
If enough people "just don't subscribe" the model is a failure. And maybe you're fine with the site failing, but I'd rather they come to understand this isn't sustainable. If you want to be ignorant and pretend GB knows what its doing more than FAR MORE SUCCESSFUL LONGER RUNNING PODCASTS then that's your stupid prerogative. "
Hey now, don't make this personal. No need for insults. I don't want the site to fail, but they're gunna do what they're gunna do and I'm going to watch. I don't care whether people don't want to subscribe. Maybe enough people will, I don't know. It's still simple, don't subscribe. Complaining won't really do anything because they've already comitted, however. If they get 5K subs by Friday then the bombcast will be back to normal.
Online
Posted by NinjaHunter
@KaosAngel said:
" ...where are all these new posters coming from? "
I know right? Apparently there are people that lurk more than me. 
  
But yeah, I'm fine with giving them $50. I enjoy this site and what these guys have been doing.
Posted by Shivoa

Shockingly new posters (who somehow managed to be around with only the occasional post to the forums in over 2 years of being registered and enjoying the content on offer here) have views on the subscription.  If the subscription was all about locking off the forums behind a pay-wall I could see how the usage of these forums would be critical to discussion of the topic at hand, as that isn't the case I'd like to think I have a worthwhile viewpoint that can't be silenced by the call of n00b (a slightly amusing call seeing as my reg date is July 21st '08, just like so many others). 
 
I do love the call of righteous indignation: "Damn you guys and your plans to actually give WM money, you're destroying the site dude!  If everyone was to just keep leeching their bandwidth and then wait for the advertising market to recover so that it actually paid to offset those costs then maybe one day these guys could be paid a living wage without using up venture capital funds." 
 
Keep your indignation, I'll keep my plan to put money in the hands of people making unique content I value.  As I've said, it is about double what I pay for Rock Paper Shotgun and similarly priced to EDGE.  In my estimation it is more than I would have liked to see charged but I'll pay it and won't lose a second of sleep worrying if my real cash is making the site "unsustainable".  Anyway, I can see this conversation is probably becoming rather barbed on both sides.  I guess only time will tell, but anyone on the fence, just think about how unique you find the content and weigh up a subscription value based on that.

Posted by PAT4019
@ryanwho: American Life is solely producing their show not additional written/video content. It's unrealistic to expect donations for a podcast to subsidise the entire whiskey media brand.
Posted by ryanwho
@PAT4019 said:
" @ryanwho: American Life is solely producing their show not additional written/video content. It's unrealistic to expect donations for a podcast to subsidise the entire whiskey media brand. "
Except their staff is 5 times as big and they go on location and create tangible content. As opposed to just talking while playing a game, or just podcasting. If you want to defend GB, underselling another podcast that easily exceeds the cost of GB is not the best way to go about it. Once more, if you only actively care about 1/5th of the Wiskey Media brand, you're mostly paying for content you don't use. If Anime Vice isn't sustainable, shut it down. I don't need to be paying for content I don't care about or look at.
Posted by PAT4019
@ryanwho:  American Life's audience is an order of magnitude larger though and includes a bunch of philanthropists. Now the bombcast, while a quality production does not attract the wealthy benefactor audience that helps sustain American Life. I don't mean to downplay the quality of American Life but the size of the giantbomb.com audience isn't such that donations are a viable option (I presume). 
Posted by Baillie

Gamespot's subscription nets you... no ads! However, on special occasions you will still get ads! 
 
Sounds awesome doesn't it? 
 
Wait...

Edited by elko84

What I find funny is how people who have less forum posts means that you are new to the site.  Where if you have over 5 or 6 thousand then you've been around longer.  I have a low post count and I've been here since day one of giantbomb.  The way I see it, you can use and enjoy the site without posting in the forums.  For those that have a lot of posts, you either are really bored a lot or have no life.  For example, I'm posting now because I'm bored. 
 
Also, this whole situation is really simple, you either pay or don't.  It's not rocket science.  Go somewhere else if you don't like the decisions being made.