How To Get Paying Subscribers for Webisodes

Last week I attended the Blogworld & New Media Expo as they made their debut in New York City at the Javits Center.  I had been wanting to attend but they had previously only been hosted in Las Vegas and I seemed to always have a scheduling conflict. This year, I won a free pass that BlogWorld gave away during a tweet chat a few days before the actual event, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see what the latest buzz was in the new media world.

All the excitement was around internet radio and internet TV or webcasting.  Some like to call it podcasting, but I think the term pod is to closely associated with Apple. All your are really watching/listening to is a live webcast or a downloadable mp3 file, which doesn’t require any Apple technology whatsoever. So for this blog post we’ll stick to the term webcasts or webisode.

I had the opportunity to talk to a few of the people that were producing these webcasts at BlogWorld and they even shared with me their various business models. One cool webcast network is “Guys from Queens” which has several viewers and is entirely supported by ads. They have something streaming 24/7, which you can check out entirely free at

Some other really cool people I spoke with were Kris and Betsy Smith who are a married couple who produce “Croncast“, a webcast which they described as them talking about life.  They have a subscription model, which for $4.49 a month gets you access to their webcast.  They told me they have about 250 people subscribed which I thought was quite impressive to get that many people to pay any amount of money for a single webcast. Even if it’s an excellently produced webcast, which I’m sure it is, $4.49 is half of what I pay for my Netflix subscription which is an entire library of movies and television series.

When talking to Kris and Betsy the thought occurred to me that there is a real opportunity to create a multi-billion dollar business to start a company that combines the best webcasts on the internet, pay the producers of these webcasts and have a subscription model for people to access this content. If your able to buy content from several people who produce a webcast around all types of niches you would be able to charge more monthly and get several thousand if not millions of subscribers.  Even though Kris and Betsy have proven it’s possible, it’s really hard to get people to pay anything when they are only getting content produced by one or two people. If their entire media consumption needs from news, sports, movies, entertainment, celebrity gossip, education and everything else people watch and listen to are met, then you can get the masses to subscribe and actually charge a much similar price to what people pay for basic cable television. If we ever expect to get good, original content made for the internet, producers of shows need to get paid for what they create.

Another webpage that hosts a huge library of webcasts I like to listen to from time to time is Geekcast is primarily focused on internet marketing. All the content is entirely free, but I’m sure if they wanted to charge for this content, they could certainly get people to subscribe for this highly valuable information that is simply given away.

Besides Netflix and Hulu, there isn’t any other companies paying people to put their content up online. I suspect that very soon companies will begin popping up, paying people to create premium content exclusively for the web.  The only question is who has the balls to take on the cable and satellite companies, which most of them also provide internet access to millions of homes.

To my knowledge their haven’t been many attempts yet to create a company online that aggregates the best webisodes and actually put them behind a paywall. I think people are afraid to try it because they think there are too many free options online and people surfing the web wouldn’t pay a monthly subscription fee. In the next few years though I’m willing to bet that companies will begin to sign contracts and pay people who are creating content exclusively for the web. Once this happens television as we know it will become obsolete. Everything will simply be streamed online or available for download and people creating content will expect to get paid from companies who are charging the monthly subscriptions instead of simply relying on advertising for revenue.

As a side note, if your interested in learning more about webcasting, Jay Berkowitz, CEO of will be hosting a free webinar Wednesday, 1 June at 12:30 pm EST to discuss how to start your own webcast. You can learn more and register at the GoToMeeting page. Also if you would like to check out Kris and Betsy’s online talk show, you can get a free 30 day trial at

Lastly, I’d like to thank the BlogWorld organizers for the pass to attend their first Expo in New York City to get a glimpse of where we are heading with new media. I had an absolute blast and look forward to attending BlogWorld in the future! If your interested in attending BlogWorld Expo, they will be hosting the next one in LA on 3 – 5 November. Check out the BlogWorld page to learn more.

1 thought on “How To Get Paying Subscribers for Webisodes”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *