How is this different from existing monetisation options?
Advertising revenue is typically small and unreliable, with an ever-increasing risk of arbitrary demonetisation. Premium options will normally offer existing free content without advertising, which adds very little value, or demand a monetary commitment to a single producer or product. Consumers must be specifically and sufficiently motivated to make this commitment to your content above others. Very few will be willing to sign up for a large number of premium services at the same time. We dramatically lower the barrier for this spending commitment by providing choice at the viewing end rather than the buying end.
Can I still run my own premium service?
PCTV makes no claim on the content provided by contributors. We will be like a department store presenting your goods in a way that is convenient for the consumer. There will be more consumers in the department store than out in the middle of nowhere, but you can carry on selling your product wherever you like.
Will this take subscribers away from my own premium service?
Some of your viewers will choose to retain a specific paid subscription because it offers additional features or they just want to support your work, but most will find a PCTV subscription more convenient. This potential loss of revenue should be more than offset by a much larger total paid viewership.
Will I lose viewers and revenue to other channel contributors?
Yes and no. When your free subscribers become Spincast viewers, some will drift away to watch other contributors on your channel, and some will drift back the other way. In addition, if subscribers pay $10 for ten channels, $9 will be going to other channels but the same will be happening in reverse. In the end it will all even out, but it is the promise of choice that will push them to pay $10 in the first place.
Would I be committed to provide content?
In practice you will have very few commitments of any kind. The limits are mainly practical. If your output is low, your views probably will be too. The basic intent is that about half of what you produce should be premium content. Subscribers would be unlikely to join for less than 20% premium content, but it would be difficult to expand your viewership with less than 20% of your content publicly available. What kind of premium service you offer is ultimately up to you; common options are to delay publication of free content, split your product into free and premium halves, or provide entirely separate paid items.
Will there be strict community guidelines?
The general policy of PCTV will be to favour non-interference and freedom of expression, with only a few limitations. We are not interested in whether you are factually or ideologically correct. The question of inherently criminal or hostile content is complicated, and will be part of an ongoing discussion. Many decisions will be made at the level of the channel community.
How will decisions be made about channel content?
The contributors for each channel will constitute a community that actively discusses issues of common concern. Core issues like new admissions and content guidelines could ultimately be subject to a vote. It is not expected that you will approve of everything and everyone on your channel, but there will also be mechanisms for dealing with major disagreements.
What happens when the channel starts to get too big?
It is expected that each channel will have somewhere between 20 and 100 contributors, but at the high end of that range we will start to consider options for a split. New channels might contain more specific content, or perhaps resolve philosophical and creative differences within the channel community. We will be encouraging gradual organic growth of available channel options.
Is this really going to make me more money?
Nothing is certain, but it is very likely. Paid subscriptions create a much more substantial and reliable revenue stream but must present a compelling case. Viewers accustomed to free content will not easily transition to a regular spending commitment, and individual, non-corporate creators face an uphill battle trying to overcome this barrier. How much more likely would you be to pay $10 a month for premium content on your own selection of ten channels, each with fifty or so contributors? This is essentially the answer.
What is the next step?
If you are interested in joining this project, please let me know. There is very little commitment required even when we do start operations, but for the moment I am looking for simple expressions of interest. I would also like permission to list you as a ‘potential contributor’ under the appropriate channel on our website, with the understanding that you may withdraw that permission at any time. Given enough potential contributors, we should be able to move forward quickly.