I’ve read all your blog comments since the launch of premium channels. Part of me is dismayed that there are many negative reactions. But an even bigger part is thrilled that you guys care enough take the time to express yourselves.
Here are some answers to various concerns raised in your comments:
By far the biggest source of complexity in the launch of premium channels comes from our integration with our billing partners. Put simply, Epoch and CCBill are really good at processing the standard billing model (i.e., charging the same price every month), but are new at doing anything more complicated.
When we planned out premium channels, we wanted to let users upgrade and downgrade their subscriptions. We didn’t realize how much difficultly Epoch and CCBill would have in implementing this functionality until we were deep into the project. In retrospect, we should have made premium channels available only to new users, and tested the upgrade/downgrade ability on small numbers of existing member until we worked out all the issues.
You can find more information on billing for premium channels on our FAQ:
Just know that we are working hard to provide a seamless upgrade and downgrade ability to all our members, regardless of biller.
Future Blog Posts
You asked lots of questions that are too broad to cover in this one post, but I’d like to discuss in more detail:
1) How we calculate star ratings
2) How we license content (strategy, legal issues)
3) Issues with content encoding (aspect ratios, splitting DVDs into groups, etc)
4) More on billing (different billing models, doing our own billing)
Here are the steps I propose for improving the premium channel integration:
1) We turn off the animation of the flash banner on the home page.
2) We massage the search results to put all “premium channel” videos at the end. I still think it’s useful to have the search results integrated in certain highly targeted cases. For instance, let’s say you like Jenna Haze. You might want to know that she has 10 scenes on Evil Angel.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Thanks!