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Episode 58 — Chris Hardwick, Chief Nerdist

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Chief Nerdist Chris Hardwick returns to The Wolf Den for the first time in four years. He and Jeff get caught up with everything going on in the Nerdist world, and how Chris keeps on top of having a podcast, a Comedy Central TV show, and being the CEO of a growing media company. Chris shares his views on the state of podcasting and where it's going, and how different platforms require different approaches for media making.


Don't miss this episode's bonus video at the Midroll blog: http://blog.themidroll.com/twd-58-bonus-video/

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Hardwick is fond of saying that listeners consume this kind of content for free.

The true economics of the situation paint a very different picture.

If he can believe in Bitcoin he should be able to finally accept that we pay with our time and purchases from show sponsors.

Without listeners/traffic= no advertisers/no dollars.

The business side of everything is not a stand a lone private relationship between content creators and advertisers.

You trade the traffic that listeners give You for money.


Payment just not necessarily with american dollars.


I should add- that I do not believe that gives each and every listener total ownership and an editorial voice

but this blanket statement that "you consume it for free" is a bit too off the mark.

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Since you bring up "true economics", I feel compelled to take a moment and break down what you're saying a bit:

"We pay with our time and purchases from show sponsors." In order to refer to something as a "payment", there needs to be a transfer, in which the buyer gives something up in order to gain the benefit of the goods/services provided. Now, when you're talking about time (audience, ratings), and purchases from sponsors, it's easy to see how the podcaster benefits from these, which is the point that you were making. Without those numbers, the podcaster would get no money from the advertiser. I'm not questioning that in any way.


However, let's flip that around: rather than looking at benefit to the podcaster, what is the cost to the listener? What is the listener giving up (i.e. paying) in order to receive the benefit of the podcast?

Time? Well if you think about it, it's kind of ludicrous to say that the time you spend doing a thing you want to do is a "cost". You don't consider the time you spend eating a meal to be part of the "payment" for that meal. You wouldn't consider time spent at an amusement park to be "payment" for the fun of being there. So the time you spend listening to a podcast that you enjoy is not a payment. There's no loss to the listener, nothing given up.

What about purchases from sponsors? Well, first off, the percentage of listeners that actually click on those sponsor links is so small that you could still say that the grand majority of listeners get the podcast for "free", even if one did concede that purchasing from a sponsor represents a "cost" to the listener. However, once again, where's the loss? What is the listener giving up? The only money they pay is what they give to the sponsor in making the purchase, and for that they receive the goods from that sponsor. There is no additional charge for buying it through the podcast link. In fact, there's usually a discount! Once again, the listener doesn't lose or give up anything for the privilege of enjoying the podcast. There is no cost to the listener.


So yes, Podcasters do absolutely rely on their listeners for their livelihood, but the fact remains that the listener does not need to pay, lose, or give up anything in order to enjoy the podcast. The listener consumes the podcast, enjoys the content, and pays nothing for the opportunity (unless, of course, they donate. Those guys are saints, and we love them dearly!). So show a little gratitude, and try not to fly off the handle every time the content creators make some tiny change in order to sustain the content that you enjoy, which is the point that Chris is generally making whenever he makes a "consume it for free" comment.

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