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Subscription Based Reelviews 
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Post Subscription Based Reelviews
Hi all,
just when the forums opened, i went on a holiday. I came back 2 days ago and the number of posts in the forums was overwhelming. I guess there were a lot of us reading Reeelviews :-)

Question to all: Would you be willing to pay "a few dollars" a month/year for Reelviews access rather than have all the ads? I have emailed to Jim a few times saying i am one of those who do not click on the ads, but am willing to pay for access to his site (within reasonable limits of course). Its his site and what he wants to do isup to him, but what do the all the other readers say?

cheers
Polar Bear


Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:49 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
I don't care either way as long as nothing's restricted if there's a subscription fee.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:52 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
The answer to that is yes.

I think that the idea that everything on line is free has to change. I'm not writing this as a moderator because I don't know James any better than anyone else.

However, I have read literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of great reviews and reel thoughts over the years and paid absolutely nothing. I am sure that James puts a great deal of thought and effort into this site and I think that it's not unreasonable to pay a subscription each year. I'd prefer that is was annual so that I did not have to get into a month $1 payment or something like that.

Maybe I'm being naive here, but I have to believe that based on the quality of writing and the amount of content, that most people on this forum would be happy to pay a subscription.

I actually think that there is a more important point at play though. At newspapers we are seeing high quality writers being laid off as the newspaper readership declines and migrates to the internet. The general quality of on line reviewing is not even close to leading newspapers. James has been something of a beacon in that respect. If nobody pays anything they then deserve what they have paid for, nothing. In the current economic climate, ad revenues (CPM's) are in decline as are rev share deals and click throughs. If we are not careful we will start to lose great resources across many areas. Thi sis an unusual economic era, not only because of the turmoil, but because we have new medium that is defying some of the base economic laws of competition.

Great post Polar bear and welcome back!
Rob


Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:22 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Robert Holloway wrote:
Great post Polar bear and welcome back!
Rob


He was gone?


Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:28 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Robert Holloway wrote:
The answer to that is yes.

I think that the idea that everything on line is free has to change. I'm not writing this as a moderator because I don't know James any better than anyone else.

However, I have read literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of great reviews and reel thoughts over the years and paid absolutely nothing. I am sure that James puts a great deal of thought and effort into this site and I think that it's not unreasonable to pay a subscription each year. I'd prefer that is was annual so that I did not have to get into a month $1 payment or something like that.

Maybe I'm being naive here, but I have to believe that based on the quality of writing and the amount of content, that most people on this forum would be happy to pay a subscription.

I actually think that there is a more important point at play though. At newspapers we are seeing high quality writers being laid off as the newspaper readership declines and migrates to the internet. The general quality of on line reviewing is not even close to leading newspapers. James has been something of a beacon in that respect. If nobody pays anything they then deserve what they have paid for, nothing. In the current economic climate, ad revenues (CPM's) are in decline as are rev share deals and click throughs. If we are not careful we will start to lose great resources across many areas. Thi sis an unusual economic era, not only because of the turmoil, but because we have new medium that is defying some of the base economic laws of competition.

Great post Polar bear and welcome back!
Rob


I one-hundred percent agree with you, Rob. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that we should pay a certain amount per month or year given the nonfiction he puts out. I don't know how much I would pay, but I love this site and this forum. I'd probably pay a little somethin' somethin'.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:36 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
So we'd have to pay to read his reviews? Yeah, that would help readership. Huh? If Berardinelli was interested in making lots of $ from this, I assume he would have taken one of the newspaper jobs that was offered him.

I would not pay a subscription fee for Reelviews--I am against subscription fees online in general. I am part of a generation who has an innate sense that everything digital should be free. If Reelviews stuff is subscription-based, you will see ppl. copying/pasting and posting in other places anyway.

Also, I hate subscription fees because then I feel pressure to spend more time viewing the things I am paying for vs. things I can get for free regardless of quality. That's the main reason I hate World of Warcraft and other subscription MMORPGs, as well as things like HBO.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:38 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
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Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
I haven't really ever considered charging a subscription fee nor is it likely that I'll ever go in that direction. I don't think it's a supportable model. I would end up writing for a small group of dedicated readers with no chance of growth.

The idea of a "donation" has been raised by more than one reader as a voluntary means of allowing readers to contribute if they so desire. This is a concept I will likely eventually explore and expand upon. Rather than a strict donation, there would be "premiums" offered (think of it like PBS). For example, a $20 donation might get you a nicely-bound paper copy of the Top 100 (commentary & reviews). For another $5, you could have it signed and personalized. Copies of a limited edition fiction novel I'm working on might go for $25. And so forth... Nothing is finalized, but the idea would be to provide something tangible for a donation rather than just the satisfaction of supporting the website.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:25 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
James Berardinelli wrote:
I haven't really ever considered charging a subscription fee nor is it likely that I'll ever go in that direction. I don't think it's a supportable model. I would end up writing for a small group of dedicated readers with no chance of growth.

The idea of a "donation" has been raised by more than one reader as a voluntary means of allowing readers to contribute if they so desire. This is a concept I will likely eventually explore and expand upon. Rather than a strict donation, there would be "premiums" offered (think of it like PBS). For example, a $20 donation might get you a nicely-bound paper copy of the Top 100 (commentary & reviews). For another $5, you could have it signed and personalized. Copies of a limited edition fiction novel I'm working on might go for $25. And so forth... Nothing is finalized, but the idea would be to provide something tangible for a donation rather than just the satisfaction of supporting the website.


You might as well do a store if you're go that route.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:43 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Patrick wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
Great post Polar bear and welcome back!
Rob


He was gone?


To quote Polar bear in his post

"just when the forums opened, i went on a holiday"

Lucky guy :-)

Rob


Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:28 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Trevor wrote:
So we'd have to pay to read his reviews? Yeah, that would help readership. Huh? If Berardinelli was interested in making lots of $ from this, I assume he would have taken one of the newspaper jobs that was offered him.

I would not pay a subscription fee for Reelviews--I am against subscription fees online in general. I am part of a generation who has an innate sense that everything digital should be free. If Reelviews stuff is subscription-based, you will see ppl. copying/pasting and posting in other places anyway.

Also, I hate subscription fees because then I feel pressure to spend more time viewing the things I am paying for vs. things I can get for free regardless of quality. That's the main reason I hate World of Warcraft and other subscription MMORPGs, as well as things like HBO.



Trevor,

If we ignore James and Reelviews for a moment, your position is understandable but not sustainable.

We are going to see the internet endure another revolution over the next five years and it will not be that everything is free to everyone.

I agree that there will always be free content. However, it will increasingly be the aggregated witterings of the uninformed being consumed by the uneducated and increasingly less well informed. Thoughtful, high quality content will never be the mainstream. However, it will be sort out like an oasis within the wastelands of trivia and gossip. For people to devote their lives to writing content, they will have to be paid.

Media companies are waking up to the fact that the current model is not working. Newspapers across the nation are struggling as their circulation dwindles. They have tried web versions of their papers and discovered no revenue. In addition, advertising revenue has slipped and advertisers are starting to question the whole concept of banners as click throughs continue to dwindle to pathetic levels. many film critics are losing their jobs as newspapers and magazines cut back. Mick la Salle at the SF Chronicle did a very interesting feature on this a few months ago as he discussed many of his colleagues who have left the profession.

So the real question is this. if we assume that we are part of a group that has an interest in a topic (movie) and enjoy high quality writing on the topic, how are the economics going to work?

Ultimately, if everything is free, how do you pay to get it produced?

Rob


Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:44 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Robert Holloway wrote:
Ultimately, if everything is free, how do you pay to get it produced?


You get rid of money completely! XD


Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:20 am
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
I understand your point, Rob. I was explaining why I feel the way I do, but it would certainly be hard for me to justify my views fully.

I like James' idea of donating and getting something out of it, like PBS. Or a store.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:45 am
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
The two approaches don't neccesarily have to be mutually exclusive, do they? I mean, it's possible to have ReelViews free with ads as a default, but with an option to pay for ad removal, right? As far as I know sites like InvisionFree, GameSpot and NarutoFan work on this model.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:23 am
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
I like JB's donation idea. It's a way to raise funds from the diehards while not driving away the casual reader or those that simply don't agree with payments. Going to a subscription based service could put ReelViews six feet under or it could work wonders. Is is worth the risk just so you don't have to see an ad that's easy to avoid anyway?


Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:49 am
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
I don't think the point is removing the ads, neccesarily. It's a way for the "diehards" to support JB, while also getting something out of it. Also, it's not as if people will be forced to log in...


Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:59 am
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Patrick wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
Great post Polar bear and welcome back!
Rob


He was gone?


Gotta hibernate sometime.

I'm also against the subscription model. James' donation proposal sounds more interesting. As an aside, I always liked the Amazon affiliate program. I wonder if the additional revenue is significant and sustainable?


Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:43 pm
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
I'm totally on board the donations route. Even the free Wikipedia does it after all.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:46 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3146
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
ed_metal_head wrote:
As an aside, I always liked the Amazon affiliate program. I wonder if the additional revenue is significant and sustainable?


Significant - not that I've seen so more. It delivers more in the nature of pocket change. Of course, that will likely go up as more people start using the ReelViews links for amazon purchases. It's a relatively new addition to the site. I know people who pull in a couple hundred dollars a month from it, so reasonable (although not stratospheric) levels of revenue attainable.

Sustainable - probably. Since, it's commission based, it should stand up better than revenue from advertising, which is in a preciptous nosedive. I fully believe that Internet advertising is ultimately a dead-end. At the moment, I'm trying to maximize what I can get without compromising the integrity of the site, but a paradigm shift is inevitable.

When the advertising runs dry, a lot of sites are going to have to choose between making their content available for free, closing up, or converting to a subscription service. I think a lot of sites that we take for granted as being free now will no longer be so.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:12 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
No to subscription fees, yes to donations.

James Berardinelli wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
As an aside, I always liked the Amazon affiliate program. I wonder if the additional revenue is significant and sustainable?


Significant - not that I've seen so more. It delivers more in the nature of pocket change. Of course, that will likely go up as more people start using the ReelViews links for amazon purchases. It's a relatively new addition to the site. I know people who pull in a couple hundred dollars a month from it, so reasonable (although not stratospheric) levels of revenue attainable.

Sustainable - probably. Since, it's commission based, it should stand up better than revenue from advertising, which is in a preciptous nosedive. I fully believe that Internet advertising is ultimately a dead-end. At the moment, I'm trying to maximize what I can get without compromising the integrity of the site, but a paradigm shift is inevitable.

When the advertising runs dry, a lot of sites are going to have to choose between making their content available for free, closing up, or converting to a subscription service. I think a lot of sites that we take for granted as being free now will no longer be so.


Does this work as well if I order on Amazon UK or Amazon Germany?


Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:16 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3146
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: Subscription Based Reelviews
Unke wrote:
Does this work as well if I order on Amazon UK or Amazon Germany?


I can't say with 100% certainty, but I don't believe so.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:01 pm
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