Paying for The Athletic

As you probably know, Andy Bitter has left Roanoke Times and is taking his talents to The Athletic. The problem is that this is not a free site, and costs $3 a month ($36 a year), or so depending on sales. I personally always enjoyed his writeups the past few years, but I'm not sure if The Athletic is worth it. Obviously, in a long article he outlines why it will be worth it, better articles, more in-depth, etc..

I created this thread to gauge the community's reaction. Is anyone going to be subscribing? Yes, no, playing it by ear?

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

I don't pay subscriptions for content, and I'm not hurting for articles to read badly enough to start. Nothing against AB.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I'm tempted. For the cost of a weekend or two without beer, I could catch up with some real good writing .They also have a selection of teams I'd be interested in reading on. Not to bash TKP, but I pay twice that to support good content that comes less frequently. And a dope bottle opener.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

im with you. I feel the same way. we will see how long I can thug it out with out ABs articles. I visited his blog often before but Im already paying for TKP and im not real big on paying for subscriptions but im sure at some point maybe when fall camp starts Ill bit the bullet it is fairly cheap.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

And a dope bottle opener.

I still haven't got mine.

via GIPHY

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

According to the tracking number, it was delivered on May 8. Did a roommate or family member lift it from you?

Chem PhD '16

If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous! With treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid...

Most likely just lost in a stack of mail somewhere. We don't do snail mail too well. All our bills are paid online.

I'll find it.

And thank you.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

I almost overlooked mine. It's nice but it could easily get lost in a pile of mail.

Not to bash TKP, but I pay twice that to support good content that comes less frequently. And a dope bottle opener.

I hope you also feel like you get value from the site and its community. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort to make TKP happen. TKPC has been proactive with its value add for members. For example, over a year ago, I thought it was silly for TKPC members to get hit up by TKP's ad network (as tame compared to other sites as it is). TKPC members only see direct site sponsors (mostly because they are good deals).

I don't tell anyone how to spend their money, but if you value this site, content, and community, I hope you (TKP Community at large, not NerdMagic) decide to support TKPC, because without support there may not be a TKP one day.

I hope you also feel like you get value from the site and its community.

If I didn't, I would have unsubscribed. Absolutely love it here and happy to contribute. Just drawing a price/content comparison. You keep doing you, you beautiful bastard.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

I would personally much prefer the "cost" of seeing a bunch of ads on the sidebar as opposed to paying the cost of the subscription fee. I would certainly feel more comfortable with a pricing model based on: good content brings more visitors, more visitors bring more ad revenue to TKP; as opposed to: good content brings subscribers, then we can deliver good or mediocre content, we have the revenue regardless. Now, I certainly don't think you guys intentionally deliver poor content because you have the subscribers "in the bag," but there isn't the same incentive. Now, I know there is the incentive of drawing more subscribers, so perhaps its a moot point anyway.

Joe, how would TKP's revenue from ads only compare with the current subscription revenue?

Regardless, I'm thankful the site exists and I visit frequently.

I really like not seeing ads. I didn't think that would be a big selling point and it's not why I joined up, but it has been a nice perk.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Joe, how would TKP's revenue from ads only compare with the current subscription revenue?

If he could make a bundle off just ads, I'm pretty sure he would simply do the ads. Then he would not have to deal with TKPC and we wouldn't have HokieFireman posting to get people to join (and also donate to Hokie Club).

Joe, how would TKP's revenue from ads only compare with the current subscription revenue?

Pretty sure you only make money if someone 'clicks' on one of the ads. So TKP gets 100,000 page visit the site each day, and 1% click on an ad, and TKP gets $0.10 per click, TKP earns $100/day, or $36,500/year. If there are 619 TKPC members, each paying $82/year, TKP will earn $50,758/year.

I think my page visits might be on the low side, but I also wouldn't be surprised if my # of add clicks was on the high side. Regardless, it takes a lot of people to click on ads to make decent money. You need to either have a lot of people visit your site, and have a regular click rate, or place perfect ads on your site that really stand out to your target audience. The alternative is to just charge a subscription fee.

Twitter me

Ad income is dwarfed by TKPC.

Moreover, and in general, you can project a subscription model — regularly recurring income — much more accurately and dependably than ad revenue. The former is in the business' control, the latter is not. Local newspapers are dying in part because the ad market fluctuated and they couldn't keep up.

Take a film review French does. They are anywhere from 2,000 - 4,500 words. He writes them, I edit them, I cut up the clips for them. They take about 3 days, at night or in the morning to do, because we both have full-time jobs. Let's conservatively say about 24 hours between us. I don't want to slice each play into its own article and have 10 articles just to scale ad revenue. That's an absolute shit product and experience. Not to mention half the web runs ad blockers. I want the final product to be polished. And this season I would expect TKP to continue to pace exclusive content for TKPC.

On the same note, it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to get a coach and recruit on the phone to deliver a quality interview and article.

Honestly, and this isn't directed at you, but there aren't many people who consume quality web content who understand what it takes to produce.

As I said above, for anyone reading, if you appreciate the community, content, and enjoy TKP, consider to join TKPC or it's possible one day it won't be here.

I want the final product to be polished.

It is. And well worth the cost.

Joe, Thanks for taking the time to give a good response. I don't know the details of how the business of an online community like this works like you do and it's interesting to learn about. And I really can see where you are coming from saying that it is helpful to be able to project revenue with a subscription model.

TKP has a lot of value to me for the community that it is: there's inside jokes that make me laugh, personalities that are intriguing to listen to, and insiders that provide a really unique perspective. I also love that TKP has contributions from so many who aren't full-time staff workers here. It gives the site an incredibly authentic feel as a place for a bunch of Hokie diehards who are much like me.

Though you didn't direct it to me, I think you're exactly right - I don't know all it takes for quality content to be produced. When I read your explanations I get a sense for the challenge that it is, but I've never done it myself so I don't completely grasp all it really takes. I am grateful there are people who are willing to put in that kind of time and I hope it's something they continue to love to do.

Just browsing through these comments, I think it is important to point out that the subscription-based model aligns the publisher's interests with those of the reader.

The publisher knows he must produce high-quality content that will attract and retain paying subscribers, and in return for their support subscribers get "real" content that isn't designed to simply attract as many clicks as possible.

Additionally, the subscription model enables the publisher – at least to an extent – to respect your privacy by not feeding you third-party ads that seek only to harvest and monetize your personal data. What's more, those third-party ad networks are extremely opaque about how their revenue-share model works. There's no way for a publisher to know if he is getting a fair shake... and the networks are so gargantuan that they do not care one bit about satisfying small-to-medium sized players.

Last thought... and this one isn't often well-received: free information typically has very little value. That's because it either must be tremendously broad so as to appeal to a wide-range of readers, or it must be strategically crafted so as to direct readers to a monetization funnel.

Paid content is the opposite – targeted and honest.

So, I would suggest that people should ONLY consume paid content. Ignore the free, public information... because if you aren't the customer, you are the product.

Last thought... and this one isn't often well-received: free information typically has very little value. That's because it either must be tremendously broad so as to appeal to a wide-range of readers, or it must be strategically crafted so as to direct readers to a monetization funnel.

I wouldn't say that free information doesn't have value, but if you're looking for specialized content, don't expect it to be free. It's a really interesting issue for content providers. Either you target a niche population who loves you so much that they pay you money directly and/or can be marketed to VERY easily OR you make content that most people like, but no one loves, and hope you get enough traffic to make money off of systematically targeted advertising.

I think in the next 5 years, people will warm up to paying for specialized content, especially when it comes at a small monthly cost, like the athletic does.

Twitter me

I am willing to support both The Athletic and TKP. I almost bought a Roanoke Times subscription specifically to get all of your content but I did not want anything else from Roanoke Times as none of the rest of the news is relevant to me. When do you start posting content?

I'm at the ACC Kickoff right now. VT goes tomorrow.

Because I lived in the New River Valley for 26 years and always subscribed to the Roanoke Times when I lived there, I enjoy checking out the headlines on line and occasionally will read a story about things or people I'm familiar/interested in. For a while now, the Times has offered free VT sports news via email, so no need to subscribe to read that stuff, and there's a well known way to get around the 10 free articles per month limit they "impose". I won't read as much now from them, though, because I get Barber's stuff with the Richmond Times I get every day in the paper box, and with Andy gone, I'll reserve judgement on who takes his place. I like McFarling, though, he's entertaining, but I'll miss Bitter. Retirement has meant serious limits on even small expenditures for me, so the Athletic will have to wait until I can figure out a way to join TKPC, and it's a race between that and pushing up daisies.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Tjbhokie is already signed up and loving what Bitter is doing over there.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

This was really good. Didn't catch it at first. Ha!

He probably signed up just to cheer him on in the comment section.

What's
Important
Now

He sent me a nice fruit basket this morning, in fact.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Anybody have any idea how often he will be posting material about the Hokies? Will it be a daily deal like he had at the Roanoke times, weekly, randomly?

Yes.

Seriously though, his title over there is "Virginia Tech beat writer", so I'd imagine we'll see a steady stream of contributions from him. Not sure that his posts alone would be enough for me to subscribe, but I might check it out and see if it could be my one-stop-shop for most of my sports news.

Perhaps not as frequently as before, but I still plan to file stories quite regularly, especially in the fall, when there's a lot going on. The tradeoff to not posting 12-15 stories a week will be to hopefully go a little more in depth or find something off the beaten path.

Yeah, theres always tons of VT football sites, and I would only be reading ABs work about VT. I'm leaning against, they would have to add more value for me to go in.

I'm tempted, mostly that half-price special makes the price pretty reasonable, and some here have said the content is good.

Someone above brought up signing up just for the season. Do they offer monthly, or is it yearly?

They offer both, but the monthly is more expensive.

They offer both monthly and yearly subscriptions.

Edit: See above.

Danny Coale Caught That Ball!!!

they ran a deal for 50% yr one yesterday.

eric

"My advice to you... is to start drinking heavily."-John Blutarsky

I signed up yesterday. The articles have way more depth to them than most other sports sites. Their mobile app is also very clean. Definitely worth the price for me.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

Like the first comment, I have never really had to need to pay for any kind of subscription or article. Some way, somehow, I am usually able to find what I am looking for/read up more on what I have heard recently.... Thank you twitter.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I signed up using this 50% off promo link. I like it so far - you choose your leagues and teams and your home page is customized with that content.

I figure for $30, I can see how much I visit over the course of a year and then decide if I want to re-up next year at full price.

I really liked the idea of subscribing for Bitter, but since I left college the first time I hardly have time to keep up with TKP. Might get annoying if a bunch of his articles get linked on here though.

"Hokie religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo

The benefit would be the other sports teams and overall college football articles. I get my scoop of Hokie news from TKP.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

I don't plan on signing up. I get everything I need regarding Tech football and more from TKP. I honestly don't go anywhere else, ever, anymore for VT sports news. A few friends go elsewhere and fill in what very gaps might occur.

I always thought Bitter did a good job of breaking / reporting news but thought his analysis and opinion pieces were not as insightful. His hot takes were usually "don't read too much into what you just saw (due to early games, opponents, playbook, etc.)" or "it's too early to pass judgment on. (Recruits, coaches, play calling, etc.)".

It will be interesting to see if he steps up his game in that dept (to be more in line with some of the fine columnists at TKP or even some of the insights at TSL). If he does, I'd think $30 is well worth it. If not, I suspect whomever replaces him at the Pilot / Times / Dispatch will quickly fill in what he provided.

Make or break factor in whether I sign up: what's the fantasy football content like?

They have great guides on how to make a 10th level multiclass rogue/quarter back. I'm partial to the war cleric/linebacker build myself though. Mileage will vary with you DM.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Username checks out.

10th level multiclass rogue/quarter back

That would be awesome. ShadowStep to the Free Safety, and sprint your way to the endzone. The increased movement speed buff is very helpful here.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

You can't multiclass in WoW you filthy casual.

(Just kidding I love you!)

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

The Athletic just announced today that they have assembled a team of fantasy football writers and are aiming to be the best fantasy department on the internet.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

I signed up for the Athletic a few weeks ago, and I've loved it. It does not replace a TKPC membership, but it does compliment it. TKPC articles focus on X's and O's, player development, analysis of coaching decisions, etc. You will not find that type of tactical analysis on The Athletic (or anywhere else on the internet). If you have limited funds, and VT sports are your main concern, TKPC is of more value.

That said, I've enjoyed the VT articles I've read so far on The Athletic; Bitter posted one article breaking down VT's offensive recruiting by position, and Matt Fortuna posted a piece detailing the state of the Virginia Tech program - both were great reads. Personally, I like reading the opinions of 'outsiders'; it's tough to take a step back from the program when your so invested in it. So far, I've found the writers on The Athletic to be both realistic and knowledgeable. I was also impressed with their soccer coverage. I'm not knowledgeable about soccer, but after thoroughly enjoying several Atlanta United games, I'm trying to learn more about the sport. Their world cup pieces have been great.

Twitter me

Nothing at all against Ernderberter, buuuut....

Still weighing the TKPers club so that'd come first

Bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips

I spend 3 bucks a month on WAAAAY dumber shit than supporting AB, so I'm in.

ANDY?!

Different Andy, though I too spend money on dumb stuff.

I asked Andy many of these questions. He answered.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Covering VT hoops would be very enticing to me. It's about an equal draw for me now. Having one beat writer cover both would increase my interest.

I signed up a couple of weeks ago, using that 50-percent-off link, and am pleased with the product.

Almost positive there's a one-week period for free cancellation, so if you're really on the fence....

I'd pay for the Athletic like I pay for netflix and amazon prime...by using someone else's log on because I'm a cheap bastard

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I signed up. I tend to subscribe to more things than I need to, and this one I knew I'd actually use.

I have a subscription as part of work, so I can expense it and I quite enjoy it. However, could I not expense it, I wouldn't buy a subscription.

Always choose joy.

Definitely not. So are you actually Andy Bitter posting this question? First, no offense to AB, but sports writers come and go; someone else will continue to write about VT football or relay quotes from the big whistle after games. Second, I don't understand why anyone would pay for multiple websites or even another website where most of the coverage won't even be about VT sports. TKP is awesome enough.

HH4455

If you only care about VT sports, then you're right, it's probably not worth paying for. But if you enjoy reading about other teams/leagues, then I think it's absolutely worth it. I've enjoyed all of the articles I've read there so far. They go much deeper than the surface level garbage that I'm used to reading on free sites.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

Does the Athletic have FOERENSICS? That's the only sports writing I would pay for.

If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous! With treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid...

With the breadcrumbs - at best- that come out of the VT football offices these days, I would caution "paying" for content. Fuente is not going to disclose ANYTHING about injuries or roster moves, so what are you paying for? Bitter to give you a tidbit about who lined up at WR in the 10 minutes of practice open to the media? No thanks. Also the player/coach weekly pressers are covered question by question by 4 VT guys and TSL. The "insider" stuff is so locked down now, Bitter isn't going to give you any breaking news

so what are you paying for?

News travels so fast now, it doesn't matter who breaks it. If you pay for content, it's because you like that person's 'take'. You may not appreciate AB's opinions (that's fine) but other's do. Don't forget - you're not paying just for AB, you're paying for hundreds of writers at The Athletic.

Twitter me

I think if you take some time to read the Athletic, you might see a different type of material than what you envision. Certainly there will be "content" that is new to you or that you've been waiting to hear about. But it seems to be just as much "perspective" and "narrative" writing as it is "content" writing. That has value, at least in my mind, especially from a guy like AB.

Is it football season yet?

the way i justified it in my own head, The Athletic is basically a magazine subscription. I no longer get SI or ESPN The Mag, so this took the place of that. I've been a member for a couple of months now and will say that the feature stories combined with "State of the Program" series on each college program alone have made it worth the price of admission. Getting AB added on was icing on the cake.

I no longer get SI or ESPN The Mag, so this took the place of that.

So...does that mean Andy's gonna be in the swimsuit yearly edition?

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Has anyone seen The Athletic advertisement on Facebook? Why are they using a picture of an Oklahoma State player (Justice Hill #5) stiff arming one of our players? Just seems like an odd decision to advertise to Hokie fans by using a picture from a game we lost and a play where we are not portrayed favorably. Just found it to be a strange decision by the marketers from The Athletic lol.

"And guess what, you've wandered into our school of tuna and we now have a taste of lion." -Allen Gamble, The Other Guys
@Doooougie07

Bought it when Andy announced his move and the site announced its most recent major expansion with 20 or so more CFB writers.

At the end of the day its the future of long form sports writing without Grantland, and the uneven nature of SB Nation's writers, and ESPN and Fox basically abandoning the format.

I also appreciate their ability to put out quality national and team coverage that if still not as insurgent and contrarian as the SB nation group(Spencer Hall, Godfrey, Jason Kirk, etc) is still plenty far from the company line of ESPN.

If you are on the fence maybe give the podcast The Audible a listen, its with their two big national CFB guys, Stew Mandel and Bruce Feldman.

A bit late to the party, but I got a subscription for the baseball coverage a couple of months back. The content there is much more analytically focused than what most of us are used to seeing from a sports news site. If you just want it for Hokie FB, might not be worth it for you, but when you follow several teams across 3-4 sports (college and pros) it's pretty great. You get great beat guys like Bitter and C. Trent for the Reds, as well as quality stuff from national guys like Ken Rosenthal. I've really enjoyed it.

Reading the comments about subscribing here or there and the value received made me wonder how many subscriptions does one need. Could it be that if we cut out one subscription, (never TKP), and contributed to the Hokie Club instead, we might actually get more bang for our buck. Maybe we'd be able to upgrade the product we put on the field and challenge the blue bloods on the field and the recruiting trail.

Just a thought, not a comment on any specific posts or any specific commenter.

For any subscribers, there was a very well written article about the Edmunds family posted yesterday. Definitely worth a read.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

Can you be that guy and post it here so we can see for ourselves?

and yes, I would download a car

cmon help a brother out, i got bills to pay

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

Leg for Total Recall!

Danny Coale Caught That Ball!!!

The original, too, not that weak-ass 2012 remake (which I didn't see, I just know that it's nowhere near the original).

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

I subscribed. Articles have been really good so far. Much longer than normal so need to find some dedicated time to read them all.

The app interface is pretty nice and shows me which ones I've already read.

Just wanted to throw in my two cents. I trial'd the athletic when someone suggested it might be where Andy was headed. I liked it, but there wasn't enough info on my teams (Hokies, Orioles, Eagles). Especially the Hokies.

When Andy moved I went ahead and signed up. Frankly, the articles Andy has been pumped out have surprised me in the quantity and the quality. I never thought he was a fan-boy (still don't) but his articles have been a very informative and enjoyable read.

I for one have begun looking for news sources that don't jam 96 advertisements in my face... do they even realize how difficult their sites are to navigate? The Athletic has been my #2 best dollars spent on sports news.

1. TKP

2. Athletic

3. Sirius Radio

.

.

#extendbronco

Eat it, Sirius Radio!

Seriously, though. Glad you're enjoying your subscription. I think our plan is to have all the pro sports teams filled out sooner rather than later.

What's the biggest discount you can give me, the OP of this thread?

.edu email address? Almost 50 percent off.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

The original post had plenty of merit, but if you're going to solicit for deals with The Athletic, or any other site, please do it via another medium. It's bumping up an old thread based on self-interest and it's nothing but noise. Thank you!

ha sorry!

I didn't subscribe to news sites 20 years ago when they first tried it. Not going to now.

Never crimp your blasting caps with your teeth. - Dr Haycocks

Its always 110 Holden...said every mining engineer ever.

I subscribed a while back for the St. Louis coverage. Having Bitter on now is an added bonus.

The Athletic took over my Post-Dispatch subscription. I was only ever in it for the sports writing anyway, and the Athletic is just higher quality here in STL.