From Don McAllister:
"Changes are in the air....
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2009 AT 10:50AM
I've just posted two audio clips to the ScreenCastsOnline iTunes feeds, one for members and one for viewers of the free feed. The clips describe some changes to the structure of ScreenCastsOnline moving forward.
If you're not familiar with the setup of ScreenCastsOnline, it's my video podcast and my full time job. I've been running it successfully for the past 4 years and since starting the show, I've created over 220 screencasts on all sorts of subjects, applications and topics. Each show is around 30 minutes long and is a full video tutorial covering a specific application or the occasional "MacMontage" show, where I cover a number of hints and tips in a single show. When I first started, the show was a hobby and all the content was free. When I decided to go full time, I launched a membership scheme and started to produce some of the shows for just the members.
Initially, the membership was very low cost, so I did three free shows and one members show for a long time. I did get the occasional sponsored show or an affiliate deal to help support the show too.
Then about two years ago, I started to feel uncomfortable about the members, in effect, subsidising the free shows. Just one members show per month didn't seem right? So to reset parity, and make it fairer, I decided to move the model to two free shows and two members show each month. The members shows were in a higher resolution and included navigation chapters, but subscribers to the free shows still got two full free shows each month.
This model has been running successfully for over two years, and although I get very few complaints from the members, it still didn't feel quite right, basically giving half my content away for free and expecting others to pay for the other half.
So after much deliberation, I've decided to take the show to it's next stage of evolution, and make it three members shows every month with one full free show, starting as of 1st January. I think this is a much more equitable arrangement that will both attract new members and possibly more importantly, make the renewal decision easier for existing members.
But if I'm making changes, why stop there!
Pricing has always been an issue in trying to find the sweet spot and realistically reflect the true value of the show. During the initial stages of ScreenCastsOnline, it was a leap of faith for many people to pay for something previously available for free. The whole issue of paying for a podcast was a complete anathema for some people (very few hate mails I have to say though). The whole issue of paying for content on the internet seemed quite a stretch in view of the amount of free content available all over the Internet.
My model was to price it low (a low cost six month membership plus access to the archive) and deliver top quality content on a regular basis. The show has been running for over 4 years and in all that time, I think I've only missed a show three times. The production values have increased tremendously as I've developed more experience both technically and in my delivery.
So I've persevered and the audience has grown. I've had many instances where people have emailed me and would have been happy to pay the six months membership for a single show, it had been that valuable to them.
As well as producing the show each week, I've also taken on external screencasting work, turning into a mini production house for others. The extra funds that has generated has gone a long way to supporting the show, but the downside is it detracts from the time available to produce the shows and all the supplementary mechanisms that are needed to support it. I really need to free up some time to concentrate on the ScreenCastsOnline website and make it easier to use and more importantly, easier to find and watch content.
So I thought I'd tweak the pricing model as well!
The current price for a six month membership is $57 - that's not per month, but for six months. In addition, you get immediate access to the archive of over 220 shows - a bargain!
However, I'm not sure that truly reflects the value of the show, especially as that price has remained the same for 14 months or so and since setting that price point, an extra 60 shows have been added to the archive.
So as well as changing the ratio of the shows, I'll be putting up the price of the membership to $87 from the 1st January 2010.
Now I fully realise that this may upset a lot of people who've been following the show for while and just receiving the free show. To offset this, I'm going to make a special offer of a significant discount off the current price of the show for November, to give the opportunity for them to join before the price increase and before the free shows drop to just one per month.
With immediate effect and only up until the end of November, I'm making available a 50% discount for a full six month ScreenCastsOnline membership. No restrictions, not a trial period, but a full membership with the next 6 months worth of shows and immediate access to the ScreenCastsOnline archive.
That makes it just $28.50 for a full membership. Just sign up as usual at http://www.screencastsonline.com/extra
and use the Coupon code NOV2009 to get the full discount.
As an aside, I'm not making any changes to the existing members and renewals - they remain exactly the same as they have been for the last three years. Oh, except for a new 24 month renewal rate to save $20."