Archive for the ‘premium channels’ Category

Update on Premium Channels

Just so you know, I do read all your comments. The one principle that guided me through the 6 year history of VideoBox is to always improve customer value. So listening to you guys is important.

 
First, to set some expectations: there’s little we can do quickly. Our site – and its relationship with our affiliates and billers – is complicated. Adding premium channels was a six month project, with the UI changes being a very minor part.

 
So, to answer some questions:

 

How Much Does the Damn Thing Cost?

We charge the minimum our contracts allow, which is roughly equal to your base VideoBox subscription. We don’t give an explicit price because there are lots of different prices for a base VideoBox subscription, depending on whether you have DVD or non-DVD resolution, and the month duration of your subscription.

 

But there’s an easy way to see your price: click on the UPGRADE button. You won’t be charged, and you’ll see how much it costs.

 

You may see something about your first payment being “prorated”. That means you’ll be charged a partial amount between today and when your subscription rebills. So if you’re 10 days away from your next rebill cycle, you’ll be charged 1/3 of your monthly price today.

 

 

Can You Make It Cheaper?

I agree that these channels should be cheaper. After all, you don’t pay the same for HBO as you do for basic cable. I’m working on it, but realistically it will take some time to convince Evil Angel and Vivid to change their pricing structure.

 

VideoBox is a small percentage of Evil Angel and Vivid’s overall content distribution, and they don’t want their other distribution channels to charge less.

 

 

Other Billing Issues

We still can’t process upgrades for Epoch. We can’t charge upgrades on multi month memberships at monthly increments.

 

Overall, this project has exposed severe limitations of Epoch and CCBill. The only way we’re going to have the flexibility we want is to do our own billing (which we’re currently investigating).

 

 

Subscriptions vs Tokens vs Just Say No

Several thousand members have upgraded to premium content, so it wouldn’t be fair to remove it entirely.

 

That said, I agree that the majority of members who have no interest in upgrading shouldn’t have to see it all over the place. You should be able to enjoy VB without feeling like we’re upselling you constantly.

 

I’m working with the engineering team to hide premium content from the main VideoBox pages. I think we should still display premium content in certain narrow cases, such as if you click on a star name and we happen to have more scenes with her on the premium channels.

 

But for general browsing, you shouldn’t be exposed to content you have to pay more for.

What Do You Think Is a Fair Price To Pay?

One of the biggest criticisms about the premium upgrades is they’re too expensive. We’ll talk to Evil Angel and Vivid, but first I’d like to get a sense on what pricing model would you guys find… non offensive? Of value?

 

Our constraint is the studios will insist on a revenue share of all their content, which means they won’t allow it to be mixed in with the general VideoBox content. It’ll have to be priced in a way that they can track it.

 

Subscriptions

We could ask for cheaper subscriptions, but there are a couple downsides with that model.

 
1. It could get annoying as we expand into more premium studios, and include content from other paysites. You probably wouldn’t want to manage 20 subscriptions.

 
2. Our billers can’t handle this complexity.

 

iTunes?

A much simpler model would be something like iTunes, where we charge one token per scene to watch/download. You’d buy tokens in fixed amounts (like $20 for 20 tokens) from our billers, and we keep track of the balance. Much simpler technically.

 

Then we could just have one area of “premium” content, and make it less prominent. And what do you think would be a fair price to pay to watch or download a scene?

 

Note: under the token approach, VideoBox basic would still exist in its present form.  You’d pay a subscription price for unlimited downloading of 5 DVDs per day.  We would just have an additional area (which would be token-based) for higher end or niche content.

 

Just Say No?

And finally, we could just say “no thanks” to any content that we can’t license without revenue sharing. The downside there is VideoBox will remain fairly constricted to mainstream LA professional porn.

 
Thoughts?

Q&A On Premium Channels

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:

 

Billing Confusions

 

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:

 

http://www.videobox.com/beta/support/faq-s9.seam?subTab=home&mainTab=browse

 

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)

 

Action Items

 

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!

Follow Up to the Last Post

In case you missed my responses in the comments section of the last post, I just wanted to say:

 

Thanks for your understanding.

 

Some responses:

 

1) We will put together an FAQ on billing prices. This is the first time CC Bill has done such a complicated upgrade/downgrade system (and Epoch can’t do it at all yet), so we don’t have precise details. Give us a couple days to work out the kinks, and we’ll post something.

 

2) Every now and then we have to remove some titles (like the “Big Wet Asses” series) because whoever licensed them to us didn’t have the authority to do so, and the studio requests that we take them down.

 

3) We just added a filter so you can see VideoBox-only content. We’ll polish it up a bit so that you can save an account setting if you never want to see premium content, but for now it should let you browse like before.

 

Thanks for all your comments!

A Message from the Founder of VideoBox

Hi, I’m Josh the creator of VideoBox. I was hoping my first post would be under more positive circumstances, but the voices I hear coming from our users are so loud that I have to respond.

 

You are right — we did not do a good job in rolling out the premium channels. Let me first explain why we created premium channels, and then what we’re doing to fix the various issues.

 

Reasons for Premium Channels


We want to add as much content for you as possible. The biggest studios have more restrictions on how they’ll license content, so we had to create separate channels for them. We have not (and never will) decrease the value of a basic VideoBox membership.

 

We are currently working with EA and Vivid to get more flexibility in pricing. I agree that when you compare VideoBox (with 6000 DVDs + 5 per day) to a premium channel (with 100 DVDs + 3 per week), the premium channel looks expensive. From the studio’s perspective, however, their site is $29.95, so they’ve come a long way in letting us sell their content for 1/3 the price and with no DRM. Nonetheless, we are working hard to bring the prices more in line with the rest of VideoBox.

 

I also want to reassure everyone that we will keep up the high quality of content on VideoBox.

 

Things to Fix

 

We will add a filter on the search page to remove premium content from your results.

 

You know how when you click “Top Scenes This Week” and you see all premium content? That’s not spam, that’s a bug, and we will fix it.

 

Also, I want to apologize for the perception that adding a Vivid title for DVD #6000 was a deceptive bait and switch. Those studios have given us a very small number of titles we can add to the main area of VideoBox, and we just wanted to display one in celebration.

 

I want you to know that what you say is really important me. My #1 goal is to create the best porn site in the world, and your comments help me do that. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.

 

Thanks,
Josh

VideoBox Annouces Premium Upgrades

premiumchannels
Well, we have been saying there is going to be a huge change at Videobox and by now you are fully aware that you can add additional Evil Angel or Vivid movies to your membership at VideoBox.

It wasn’t an easy decsion on our part to add these additional subscriptions. We get a huge number of requests for Evil and Vivid from our members, but those studios were not interested in licensing their content. The only way to get them on board (so that we could give you guys additional content options) was a model like this.

VideoBox has been and will continue to be the best value on the net. If you look at the average price of an adult website at $29.95, $17.95 is still a pretty good deal.

I look at it like HBO. You can have basic cable, or, if you want to watch the Sopranos you can add HBO. Granted, it’s not for everyone and you don’t have to subscribe. VideoBox will still provide the same great service we have and the content will continue to be good and get better. I have no intention of rigging the Videobox queue with crappy content that doesn’t benefit anyone.

Without wanting to sound salesy, I think you should try one if they look interesting to you. If not, you can continue to enjoy VideoBox the way you always have. I am committed to continuing to bringing you the best content service at the lowest cost possible and we never intend to change that.