A few weeks ago you’ll remember that we did an ‘ask me anything’ thread on here, and that was a lot more popular than I expected, and the previous one’s, so I thought I would involve people who post here a bit more in our plans. I’m aware that generally the people who post here are ‘Loyalists’ or ‘Ultras’, however you wish to be defined, and that many of these ideas will pertain more to people who dip in and out, but they will affect you, so I will share them.
As you know, the pandemic period caused quite a lot of disturbance for us, because we lost actors, cast new one’s, but not all of them stuck with it, the story was thrown into turmoil etc.. It has taken longer to fix all of that than we wanted, but time marches on to the ‘Next Global Crisis’ as it were… That being the squeeze on everyone’s living standards and disposable incomes. The last year has seen our costs increase a lot, in large part down to big rises in location costs, but also I have to pay cast more, so that they can stay committed to the project. I’m far happier doing that than paying astronomical sums for essentially a room that would have been empty that day anyway, but I digress… Coupled with the rise in our costs has been the squeeze on your wallets, and I think that has been especially bad over this winter just gone. From November we noticed a bit of a sea change in what was possible for people, and for the first time since we started in 2009 some of our videos absolutely bombed. We’ve always had videos that were disappointing sales-wise, but never to the level where we’d have been better off never making them. In this same period, we’ve been saved on occasion by the odd video that proves a massive hit! This tells me that people are still in the market, and will buy, if it is something they want to buy. People are being choosier, which I understand.
Now, I’m afraid I can’t say “All the videos are $2 from now on!” or anything of that nature, referring to my costs going up. What I am going to strive to do, is make a product that more people want. Hopefully the onset of warmer weather and I hope, a better economic outlook, will make this a win-win for all of us. I’m certainly not going to whine about videos that tank and complain that people aren’t supporting us, we obviously didn’t make things that people wanted. Some of you did, but not enough of you sadly. I’m also not going to ask for ideas about how to make more popular videos, because you will cite all the things you personally like above others, which I don’t blame you for, I’d be the same in your position, we just don’t need to go around that circle in my view.
SO… There is good news, and there is bad news. Let’s do the bad news first:
We will be making fewer Story videos in future. A monthly story video is too often. Our strongest period, back in the early seasons, had a story video about every 3 months. Yes, we had ‘Side Missions’ backing that up, but the important stuff went down on a quarterly basis. I would like to go back to a 2-3 month schedule. I have not been happy with the story since the pandemic as we’ve had a flux in cast and I’ve had to re-write to accommodate this far more than I’d like, and I’d like to put people in the story I think will stick around. More importantly, people are not keeping up with it in the numbers I need. I think it is actually putting people off because they worry they won’t know what is going on. I know many of the people here love the on-going story, but it just isn’t working as it should. This way it will be better, if less frequent.
We will be making fewer Championship videos in future. These used to be monthly, then we dropped to about 9 a year, and I think we’ll probably drop down to 6, so you’ll still see them, but fewer. The Championship was always a bit of a fringe idea, a niche within a niche. Heroine v Heroine videos never do as well, and even unbelievably amazing Heroine v Villain videos sometimes do badly. Of course there have been wildly successful one’s, such as whenever Erica got squashed by the Dominator, but otherwise, it just kind of does okay, without fireworks. Due to limited access to the location we use, we have to film very long days there, and this has led to choices of match-ups that were far more about what was easiest to film, instead of what would be the most compelling ring battle we could arrange. By dropping to 6, I am more confident that the 6 we put out will be on the more compelling side of things, in the Erica v Dominator guise. The Championship existed partly just to have release variety, and it will still provide that, but less often.
There may also be fewer Action Cosplay videos. I’m not fully certain on this. Some of them do really well, but it is more a playground for blooding new talent, and working out whether or not I want to spend a fortune on a bespoke costume for this person. I think we’ll still throw in established cast when we really want to do something, but like all of this ‘bad news’ section, we’re shrinking things that aren’t pulling their weight. That’s the end of the bad news.
The good news…
This site will become more important again, and instead of being 50% of the releases, it will likely be 75% in future. We have started filming again, and we have several in the can that I expect to both bomb, and do really well. Maybe I’ll be surprised, but I doubt it. The bombs have been shot and will be released, I won’t tell you what they are, but basically, if you want more of something, or someone, you need to buy it. Skipping a release from a heroine you like will probably see her get side-lined if others do the same. Anyway, this is meant to be the GOOD news section… Now, the videos that do badly have things in common with each other, as do the videos that do well, and these things go far beyond just who the main heroine is. We will be making more TRANSFORM videos. I like them, and I want to expand on them quite a lot. You like them generally as well, so that’s why. There will be HIGHER STAKES in every video. The videos that do badly tend to end with the heroine having learned something and walking out of the room, that’s fine for a STORY win ending, but not for a non-canon video. Losing will be a gigantic problem for her, whether death (still rare), or a fate worse than it (permanent capture, being taken to a planet where unpleasantness will happen etc) so feels certain that she can’t afford to lose.
Related to this, villains will become more villainous. Don’t worry, we’ll still have comedic moments, but the average will become darker. We have a few villains that are a little bit too friendly, and that is going to change. VTV will continue, and maybe expand, as it toes the line between darkness and comedy, and we’ll put our thinking caps on to raise stakes there. There will be more squashes. Start to finish, completely one-sided battles. You like them, we’re going to do more of them, at least one a month. These won’t be their own format, but maybe a transform will also be a squash, or a solo mission will be a squash as well etc..
We will also be working on improving the offering to Members. People who open their emails on Friday and (every other) Tuesday are the life-blood of this project. In this instance I’m happy to hear ideas about specific ways we can make the weekly gift better.
NGC will never be a 100% custom series, it won’t ever be a 50% custom series BUT we are looking for partners who have the means to collaborate with us in this new regime, so make contact privately if you would like a place in that. This will take nothing away from existing slots, and everything we produce will really need to fit with our plans set out above. It will be an important position however, and we will be candid and transparent about what is possible, and you will see a lot of your ideas turn into full videos.
This new regime won’t happen overnight. As I said, we have several unreleased videos that will need to be released, but you’ll like most of them anyway. We will phase all of this in over time, and I hope it is something you can respond to. For the time-being we won’t be making any changes to Photo Set Tuesday releases, or photo sets generally. That is something we have focused on in the past 18 months, and as you’ve seen, sets are now much bigger and more interesting than in the past. Now we are turning our attention back to videos.
That’s it. I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think if you were able to take the time to read it all!