So, one of our questions on our survey is how we can develop our videos. It’s likely to be the last year we are going to ask that question as the answers we receive are generally not that useful. It’s not that respondents aren’t trying – many of the suggestions are useful, just impractical. Let’s tackle most of the comments in order:
Do more videos
As Kaja posted when we crowdfunded some of 2013’s videos, our paid-cost of generating a video is around $300 a video. That’s not including pre-play time or the time cost of actually writing and memorising the scripts. All in, I’d guess at around $500 – 600 in cost (salary, etc.) to develop a video. So if we shot double the number (i.e. one video a week); we’d be looking at another $13,000 minimum. That’s a lot of funds for something that has had limited revenue generation.
While the videos are part marketing for us, in the 2 years we’d done the videos it’s pretty clear that we have not generated additional revenue to cover the additional cost of doing the videos. We still plan on shooting them next year, but 26 videos a year is our maximum.
Shoot a Tabletop / Play-Through Video
We shot one this September. It’s still not released because, between all his other projects and the sheer amount of work a shoot like this requires, Rob has not yet finished editing it. Along with working on this, he’s also got to release all the other videos we’ve produced since then. It was a fun project, and we’re looking forward to releasing it before the end of the year, but the work involved (and subsequent cost) is just too high. We aren’t being funded by Google, after all.
Do More Up-to-Date Videos
Okay, this one is more in our control and we’ll actually be focusing on more up-to-date / recent releases. As a marketing tool, we needed to cover all the classics and bestsellers to make this work for us. As such, in 2013 we’ve had to do dig into some older items and with only half the videos as the previous year, we just couldn’t cover as many new releases as we’d like. However, the good news is that we’ve caught up with the vast majority of older games, and going forward will be focusing on more recent releases.
As for doing videos of games before they are released, well — that’s really up to the publishers. As this isn’t our real business, we don’t have time to chase publishers for new releases and can just hope they send them to us without promoting, allowing us to get the videos shot in a timely fashion.
Less Script / More Fun!
While it’d be nice to have more fun, it’s worth noting that both Joanna and Kaja are working from a very tight script, which is necessary to fit a full rules summary into the 5-minute target we set ourselves for that portion of the video. We don’t want to go much longer — especially since there are so many other good video review series that do — which means we need to convey a ton of information in a very short time frame. In addition, with only 2 or 3 takes per video, they just don’t have a lot of time to rehearse and get really comfortable with the script to make it more ‘natural’.
At the end of the day, with more practise they’ll get better (and have improved a lot over the 2 years these videos have been produced) but there’s only so much that can be done within the time-frame and structure.
No Rules Explanation / More Rules Explanation / More / Less Pro’s and Cons
The structure we have is actually focused specifically on our intended target audience. We are looking to provide information to new visitors, as a quick overall summary of the game. It’s not focused on those looking for an in-depth review of the game nor those who want a more in-depth discussion about the rules (or a ‘how to play’ review). As such, the structure we use is one that we are very happy with, and that fits best with how we use videos on our website. We’ve tweaked it a bit here and there; but can’t really see it changing much over the long-term.
At the end of the day, the videos do what we need them to – provide good, relevant information to customers and branding for the site overall. Our current structure is what we feel is the best method. With over 10,000 subscribers; I’d guess it works. It’d be preferable if it could draw more revenue, but that I believe will come in time – a long term investment.