Q: I just read an article on Buzzfeed; in it, Shira Lazar suggests that Vlogbrothers could logically become a paid subscription channel because of the devotion of Nerdfighters. What are your thoughts on this?
asked by bramtic
(Rebloggable by request.)
A. That’s nice of Shira to say, but why would we do that?
Let’s say that you’re a nerdfighter and you’re living in poverty. (Lots of nerdfighters are.) Why would I exclude you from the community just because you don’t have access to the same resources as someone who is wealthy? That would go against the inclusionism that’s the core of nerdfighteria.
(I’m not just saying this in a feel-good, altruistic way: It would also be a terrible business decision, because at some point in the future you will probably not be poor, and you will be able to support our work by contributing directly or buying a poster or a book or an album or whatever. But you will never know that you like the stuff I make if you were denied the opportunity to watch it in the first place.)
What makes a lot more sense to me is going to the community and saying: Hey, some of you can pay for this and some of you can’t. That’s cool. If you can pay for it, please do, and in exchange we’ll be able to turn off ads for everyone, which is nice, because ads are gross and annoying and I hate them. If you can’t pay, that’s okay, too.
YouTube’s apparent forthcoming paid subscription model isn’t built like that at all: It’s built to be exclusive and paywalled, which I don’t think works for creators who want to build the awesomest possible audience.
I love Shira but I think she’s missing the distinction between an audience and a fan community.
An audience leans back, consumes content, and pays for things like subscriptions which gives them special access to things. They’re done with the show is done. It’s over when the season is over.
A fan community has a deep emotional connection to not just the creators but to each other and will find ways to support one another within (and sometimes beyond) their means. Their attention to the thing may vary but their identity never does. (Fans don’t stop being fans just because you’re in the off season.)
One isn’t necessarily better or more appropriate than the other. Some creators/story universes are able to support both. It’s important to understand the difference between them, though.
Yeah what Kenyatta said.