Greetings Projector enthusiasts, home theater addicts, and first time projector buyers!
Adding a Subscriber section to Projector Reviews is a tricky thing. I'm of the sort of person who hates finding out one day, that I have to pay for something that was free until today. I figure most other people resent that as well. Well, I value all of you enough, that I felt in launching a subscriber area I needed to offer additional content, rather than lock existing content behind a subscriber "paywall".
For those of you who didn't read the previous blogs: Our new site redesign, will be a major update, look completely different, and should be live late May or June. The previous blog even has a large image of the initial wireframe of the new homepage.
I've already warned in a couple of reviews, that we are collecting some data on projectors that we've never published. Soon that info will be available to you in the Subscriber area. (BTW the price isn't set yet, but probably $12.99 a year, give or take).
Also available to subscribers will be some special offers. I can't tell you any yet, because I'm just negotiating, nothing concrete. But, for example, I'm talking to 3 screen manufacturers so far, about providing a special $15-$25 additional savings when one of our subscribers buys their brand screen from a dealer (or direct if they sell direct), so the subscriber can register for the extra discount (which might be fulfilled with an itunes card, or pre-paid debit card, or... ), we're still working on that.
I'm talking to the dealers who advertise on our site about making offers also, only for our subscribers. And I'm talking to projector manufacturers, of course. One idea I've bandied about, is a special rebate when a subscriber orders an extra pair of 3D glasses. Anything that makes sense. Basically I'm hoping to have 8-10 special offers, so that basically, any of our subscribers that buys a projector, or a screen, or perhaps a calibration disc, can get a value savings that's more than the cost of our subscription! Fair enough? I mean, even without any offers, I expect you all to find the $12.99 (+/-) value just in the extra content provided , but, I figured why not sweeten the pot. Why not let you save a few dollars too.
So, what's the new content? Perhaps the single most obvious thing is more detailed calibration information. We will be providing Calman graphic display data from Mike's reviews, and we'll be providing CMS - individual color calibration settings for most projectors we review. We already have that information set aside for about a dozen home theater projectors, and all new home projectors that have a proper CMS... That will all go live when the subscriber area is ready.
Want more? Of course. Short videos will be added to the subscriber area that will help understand features. For example I'm putting the finishing touches on a video about JVC's "4K" e-shift2, which will show you how the different settings of e-shift2 significantly affect picture clarity.
There may also be short podcasts while I'm actually reviewing a projector. Perhaps a 30 second audio where I mention that "I'm looking at the XYZ and ABC projectors side by side in a fully darkened room. I'm starting with running the bond night train scene several times to look at dark shadow detail... here's what I see... The standard photo of the Bond night train and the same from competing projectors, of course, will still be in the main review.
Videos. From the viewing counts I can see that many of you have watched some of our "Video Summaries of Reviews". To date we've done about 25 Projector Reviews TV videos. It was the PR TV project that demanded the site redesign, and a subscriber area to make it complete. Here's the scoop.
I wanted to produce a significant number of videos a year, but the cost in time and money is hefty. The idea was to create informational videos, such as our "How to Choose the Right Home Theater Projector for a Family Room Environment", in 4 parts. Or Black Level Performance - why it's so important... Problem has been the time and cost. The solution was to also create video summaries of some of our reviews. So, to accomplish this the goal was to approach the projector manufacturers. When I or other review sites publishes a review, it's very common for the manufacturer to "buy" a Permission. That is, they pay for the priviledge to display our award graphic (Hot Product Award, etc.) and pull a quote or two from the review to use on their website, in their advertising, etc.
Basically I offered a pretty hefty Permission fee for us to create a video summary that the manufacturer advertiser could put on their site, give to their dealers, youtube, etc... I figured that the money coming in for the Permissions would cover the costs of all the the informational videos.
Oops, not so fast. Some manufacturers were very excited and have participated, but that created a problem. Not every manufacturer wants to "play". OK, so, in theory, I don't create a "video summaries" for their projectors. Seems reasonable, except, there are a few projectors that I would simply want to create a video for due to the importance of that projector in the market. Making those extra videos is an expensive "money losing" option. And from that, came the subscriber idea.
Here's the examples: Look to the Projector Reviews TV page. Note lots of Epson videos - they pay for the priviledge. Sony is another... Mind you no hard feelings, but Panasonic decided for whatever reason (including possibly budget), not to buy a Permission for the Panasonic PT-AE8000U, a projector I consider a major player. I felt we needed to make that video, and we did. Lisa (she produces the videos) tells me that the PT-AE8000U video, the last of a batch of 10 will be ready this coming week). What to do?
Easy. The Panasonic PT-AE8000U video will be available for subscribers, but since there's no "permission" they can't put it on youtube, on their site, etc. Only our subscribers can view it.
Now this creates a dilemma I haven't resolved. If the Subscriber area was live today, no question - PT-AE8000U video would be there, but since it's still a couple of months away, I'm warning you all now. I may put it live on the PRTV page as a "loaner" from the subscriber area - think of it as an "advertisement" of the future goodies behind the "wall". If I post the PT-AE8000U video next week, be assured it will be moved behind the subscriber wall when it launches. I think that's fair. as always those "paid videos" will be open to all, those not, subscriber. In addition, we will up the number of informational videos, but some will be only for subscribers. You might expect something like this:
A four part video, perhaps: "The 3D Revolution: Choosing the right projector for an awesome 3D viewing experience" (I've got to work in my title lengths.)
Part one of that Video would be on our site, and on Youtube. Parts 2 and 3 just on our site, and Part 4, a special segment only for subscribers. In our current site, that would be a three part video. Extra content for a 4th section will provide extra value for our subscribers.
We're still coming up with ideas, but we think we can easily justify your roughly $1 a month, for the additional info (and we hope), entertainment. I don't know yet if practical, but perhaps (no promise) an occasional scheduled podcast where we handle some of our subscribers questions or take on topics, or do an interview. I'm open to your ideas, just try to remember, we are a tiny organization, I am the only full time person. Now, I get less than 20 hours a week help from Lori and Lisa (wife and college student daughter - both who would rather be doing other things.) Other than the family, I pay Tony and Mike for their business projector reviews, and Mike to calibrate home theater projectors. Folks that's it! So, go easy on "massive ideas." Resources are limited. Of course if we can generate enough subscriber revenue, we can increase staffing. I've already started putting out feelers for a possible full time writer/reviewer for this summer, and alternately one or two more contract reviewer/writers.
That's more than I intended to tell you so far, but there will be other updates before we launch. Hang in there! -art