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February 22, 2006

And So It Begins...

Gervais For the past six weeks now, I've been a gigantic fan of the The Ricky Gervais Show podcast (note: link opens iTunes).  The show is wonderfully hilarious and features a guy named Karl Pilkington, who could be one of the funniest guys I've heard in a long time.

But that's not what this post is about... entirely.  The first run of their show was a 12-episdoe arc, which they just finished up on February 19.  During the last few episodes, they kept mentioning/counting down to the end of the first season (if you will) and barely talked about coming back.  It sounded like they really wanted to come back, but with busy schedules and what-not, I'm sure it wasn't an easy thing to do every week.  When you claim to be the world's number one podcast, I hoped that SOMETHING will get them back in the studio.

That "something" has happened.  Starting Tuesday, February 28, The Ricky Gervais Show will be back.  Hip hip, hooray!  Exciting news, right?  I think so... but there's a catch.  Now, to enjoy mad ramblings of Karl Pilkington (and his extremely round head), you're going to have to pay for it. Now it won't have ads in it, it'll just be the guys and whatever it is that they talk about, but it's not free anymore.

Yup.  Podcasts, and the costs of producing/providing them, have become a legitamite business and the world's number one podcast is setting out to prove it can create a business model around them.  This only makes sense as podcasters are providing some type of content or entertainment to their listeners... but I wonder how well this will work out, we don't have to pay for AM/FM radio (nor do we listen to it that much anymore).

How would you feel if American Copywriter went to a pay model?*

* This is just me, SethyG, rambling here.  No one has ever mentioned making AC non-free, so don't freak out.  Seriously, calm down.


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I think everyone would pay if they felt the content was worth it. It’s like the post the other day about ESPN and content. As long as people felt they were getting exclusive material not found anywhere else, I think they’d pay.

I would vote for paying a flat rate like cable offers for its programming packages, which would then allow me access to x-amount of podcasts so I can mix and match the ones l like Almost like the satellite model, but cheaper. Like iTunes, maybe charge $1.99 each single podcast, or $5-$10 a month gets me access to 5 or so blogs.

Curious though why the consideration to going all-pay. Is it an operating cost issue or more an opportunity to make the $$$$.

(Nothing wrong with the latter, just curious.)

first of all, thanks for introducing me to the ricky gervais podcast. i can't beleive how daft i've been and didn't think that a comedic gegnius wouldn't have a podcast. duh.
second, i can understand paying for podcasts. it seems reasonable. sometimes you have to pay to get good things without commercial sponsorship. we wouldn't ever want Metamucil to proudly present American Copywriter. HOwever, Oberto Beef Jerky presents American Copywriter doesn't sound so bad. Anyway, listener supported radio is something I'm used to beign from Seattle. Every year i pledge $10 a month to KEXP to keep bad ads off the radio and Clear Channel far, far away from ruining the stations freeform playlist. IT's the only way I still hear Morrissey, the Pixies, Sugar, SufJon Steve, and all the bands on your playlist to the left on the radio instead of Ashley SImpson follwoed by Jessica Simpson followed by (insert new rap artist). We pay for cable everyday. We know that it costs a little extra to get HBO, but hell, they've got the best shows on TV and there are no commercials. It very well lighten our work loads a little, not pumping out Dominoes Cheesy DOts Delivery spots, but also makes us work harder to redefine what advertising is and does.
I'll pay.

(I wish TypeKey/TypePad would let me edit comments for typos.)

I also checked out that podcast. Funny as hell. Check out Ask A Ninja vidcast. People email questions and he answers them. It’s like Rex-Kwon-Do.

I would pay for the AC podcast, but I don't like the idea of having to shell out to *try* something new. There needs to be a "preview" mode for podcasts--say one or two, then decide whether or not to pay.

This is what I wrote at TVSQUAD on the subject.

I love this show, but I'm not gonna pay for it. Especially not 7 dollars. There are way too many other great shows available for free. I'm very wary of celebrity types doing podcasts specifically because of this reason. I was very impressed when a star of this magnitude was offering us free content. It's a great way to sell your brand (American Copyrighter phrase) but I'm not paying for it.

What's next are going to have to pay for the ABC OFFICIAL LOST Podcast? Then eventually TV Squads podcasts? I'm with the previous commenter who said they view Satellite radio and podcasts in two separate mediums. If you want to charge go to Satellite. Don't mess with our happy (and FREE) medium of podcasting.

Pretty soon though, most things go pay anyway. If people will pay for free water in bottles, they’ll pay for anything.

I never understood the "free” arguement though. Yes I can tune into some free podcasts elsewhere, but I’m still paying my ISP each month to access them. Without them, how would someone access free content online?

Good points, everyone! Thanks for chiming in. I think that the main reason for Ricky and crew to start a fee-based podcast would be to pay for production costs... oh, and something we call bandwidth, which gets VERY expensive. I can't imagine what their hosting costs are.

Yeah, free is free, but like makethelogobigger says, we pay for free water in bottles. Maybe I should've titled this, "And So It Goes..."

oh pleeeeaaaaaasssseeee don't make me pay for anything, im sooo broke.

i'm so embarrased and the WORST typist ever. i must apologize for my lousy, unspell-checked, grammaticly incorrect commenting skills. i was just so excited to get my comments out, i forgot to check for mistakes. but i just er-read what i wrote and UGH, no fun to read. won't happen again, folks.
oh, but hey, enjoyed this discussion.

I have not yet, and most likely will never, pay to hear the Ricky Gervais podcast. The show is funny and I certainly listened to the first series, but paying for podcasting is just dirty. (for lack of a better word). There has been a lot of flack on the iTunes Music Store about people complaining about the steep price per episode related to the shortness and audio-only nature of the content. I agree.

However, I think I might subscribe to American Copywriter if it were more of an audio-magazine than a podcast in its current low-budget state. I think that If I am going to be pay money, I'd want to see regular release of episodes (like clockwork) and longer episodes nearing an hour. And of course, no ads!

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