The new movement, though, if you want to call it that, would be to have a real subscription format, but rather than just the $1 per show Hauntcast devised last time, it would be $100 for the year with a goal of at least 250 subscribers.
Obviously that would gross Hauntcast a minimum of $25,000 which would allow him to justify the amount of time he and his team invest in the production of the show, and speaking of the team, would allow him to pay a stipend to the Scream Team who've agreed they'd come back if they could get paid for their participation. In these still difficult economic times, it makes sense for everyone to want to maximize their own return for their effort. The real question is, of course, does it maximize the return of potential subscribers?
Last year when Hauntcast went pay-per-download, I paid for my own subscription, plus 3 or 4 more subscriptions: two for a contest I held and one or two for friends. That would have brought my support of the show to as much $60, so would another $40 be a dealbreaker for me? Doubtful, but it has to be admitted there is a lot of competing attention for really scarce discretionary money.
I subscribe to both HauntWorld and Haunted Attraction magazines, which go for around $50 each annually (and there's a new magazine coming out next month, Top Haunts, that looks really good), but you get just four issues a year (TH would be biannual, that's two issues a year for the numerically challenged). Hauntcast would be monthly. I also attend a few Halloween and haunt-related shows each year, which adds another $50-$100 a year to my obsession investment, but those are just one- or two-day events. Then there's of course the time and money I commit to making and building props each year, all with the knowledge I'm doing this for a few dozen kids -- at most -- who come trick-or-treating to my house each Halloween (last year, because of the snowstorm and power outages, there were just two kids that showed up, and two neighbors who stopped by to tell me they appreciated my decorating efforts each year). So obviously the risk-reward ratio is all out of whack when it comes to me and Halloween.
In the past I've said how much joy I get out of Hauntcast. It helps me while away the hours on prop building and just listening in generally. I was really getting into the new Ed Gannon segment that was introduced before the show ended and from what I've seen he might be willing to come back as well. That alone should be a big (haunted) attraction for many. It is for me.
Yet at $100 a subscription, that's no small commitment for listeners. When it was $1 a show, most of the subscribers melted away, and -- though I don't know why I think this -- I believe there may have been at most a few thousand listeners (2,000 or less). Can the show attract say just 10% of this number for what amounts to a nearly 10-fold increase in the subscription price? I find it difficult to see them pulling it off.
Without question, Chris's show was top quality. Just from my sorry-ass attempts at editing my vlog I see the time commitment necessary to do all the editing required for the two-hour show that Hauntcast became. And while I appreciated all the extra content Chris gave, undoubtedly from a sense of believing he wanted to give more to people who were paying for his product, it was a monumental undertaking.
My suggestion would be that Chris reduce the admission fee to $50, but cut the content back to the one hour or so that it was before the switch to the pay-per-download format. That would put Hauntcast on the same footing as various Halloween and haunt-related magazine subscriptions and shows and wouldn't necessarily require such an arduous time commitment on him or the Scream Team.
I think also when you have a longer format, you're almost of necessity trying to find stuff to fill in the time with. By keeping it to one hour, the show is much more focused and just the best stuff makes it to the airwaves. No doubt it's still a bear of a commitment by Chris, but I think targeting a larger mass market by pricing it at half the cost of what's being planned -- being the mid-tier Macy's of shows rather than Nordstrom (and we all saw what happened when he tried to be Walmart) -- would broaden his audience considerably. He might get 500 people paying $50 whereas finding 250 at $100 could be more problematic.
Whichever way the show goes, I'm pretty sure I'll be there. I'd understand people balking at paying $100 for the show, particularly during these lean times, but I'd bet Chris, JT, Shelly, and Ed would find a wider more accepting audience at a lower annual cost.
EDIT: Chris Baker just posted a video to address the issue once and for all, and I think it's worth a look: