The Ending of the Reviews

It’s an interesting thing to have a massive project (okay, massive for a tiny little business like ours) like the video reviews end. After over 110+ board game reviews and over 145 videos in total, we’re finally calling it a day. Assuming each video review took about 20 hours of work (what we calculated was the average) of production time, that’s around 2,300 hours or nearly 96 days (383 working days at 8 hours each!). That’s more than a year’s worth of work that has been put into the reviews by the Starlit Citadel team and it doesn’t even count the time need to play the games or the time cost of replying to subscribers and handling the various requests for reviews. Put another way, there’s at least half again as much work that went into those reviews than that estimate.

On that note, I wanted to publicly thank Joanna & Kaja once more.  As many of you know, Joanna directed and edited the videos in the last couple of seasons while Kaja was the one who scripted all the videos.  The lion share of the hours you see above are shared by them both and it was their consistent professionalism and dedication that kept the videos at such a high quality level.

What I wanted to highlight as well would be the support staff who were part of the video reviews. Rob Hunt was our initial videographer and editor in the first 2 seasons.  Carla Miller was both assistant videographer during this period and when Rob left, the main videographer. Ashley Young came into play in Season 2 when she started doing the ladies makeup.

While somewhat sad to see the reviews end, I understand the need to move-on. It’s always been a huge time commitment for the ladies and while I briefly (very, very briefly) considered seeing if we could continue the reviews, the fact of the matter stands that the current format & success of the reviews have everything to do with both Kaja & Joanna’s dedication.

The Future of the Video Reviews

As some of you who view our video reviews might have noticed, we have turned on advertising for the video reviews. The reason for this is because we have realised that the reviews just aren’t doing what they are meant to – generate more customers for us. It’s rather obvious when you view where our customers are coming from compared to where viewers are on the videos. Even though we have more viewers than ever, our actual visitors to the site from the Youtube visitors have dropped.

A Marketing Vehicle

Basically, the effectiveness of the Youtube videos have disappeared.  There are numerous reasons for this, but at the end of the day, it looks like the audience for our videos are just not interested in supporting the production of the videos via buying from the site.

It was always a danger with an internet vehicle like this which was not / could not be targeted to a specific geographic region.  It’s always been somewhat tenuous as a line item, with its effectiveness hard to judge.  Still, we were willing to let it coast for a time when we saw an upward trend in visitors / sales / etc.  What that means is that as a marketing vehicle, the videos are being written off for 2015.


Advertising as a Stop Gap

Since the videos can no longer be counted as a valid marketing expense, the next step is to make them (at least) revenue neutral.  To do that, we need to generate direct income from the video reviews.  As such,we have turned on advertising on the video reviews in stages, with the latest update turning it on completely.

We will see if this generates sufficient revenue to keep doing the video reviews.  The likelihood of that is quite slim due to the nature of the payouts for advertising.  Still, it is worth a shot since it is the least obtrusive way of generating revenue.


The Next Steps

What are the next steps if advertising doesn’t work? Well, the system that makes the most sense to us is Patreon.  Subscribers can pay directly for the creation of the video advertisements and only pay when we actually release a video.  It does require us to fund the videos first, but it does at least make it viable for us to continue the videos if enough people are willing to pay for it.  And considering we have over 18,000 subscribers, you would think that would be viable.

We’ll launch the Patreon subscriber drive in a month or so after we check the amount of revenue we’ve generated from advertising.