Fresh Tracks+

Big Fin

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Staff member
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Dec 27, 2000
Messages
15,581
Location
Bozeman, MT
Today we launched a new platform we have been working on for many years. It is called Fresh Tracks+, which is what the name implies; Fresh Tracks, plus a lot more. It is brought forth on the premise that we pay for content in one of three ways:

1. With our time by having to sit through ads that mean nothing to us, and/or....

2. With our personal information and privacy by allowing these ad-based big tech companies to build profiles about us based on our behaviors, then sell/rent that information for huge sums of money, or....

3. With a small monthly or annual fee that eliminates items #1 an #2 above.

Some people are fine paying for content under options #1 and/or #2. I get that; it is how they have trained us since the first radio shows were funded by ads and when the first websites started tracking our activities. Yet, many of us have tired of our time and privacy being the currency by which we pay for content.

A bit of history on this project. Matthew and I started looking for our own video distribution platform in 2011 and 2012. We eventually built our own custom video player with a lot of features, at a significant cost. Unfortunately, at the time, delivering video files was more expensive than what could be earned in monetizing such. So, in 2013, we put the project on the shelf.

Roll forward to 2019. With the huge changes in video file technology, emerging infrastructure to better deliver high quality video, and my continued frustration with ad-based technology companies, Matthew convinced me the next step in our business model was to take advantage of these new opportunities and explore our own member-based platform.

Being the skeptic and having been burned once, I decided we needed to poll our audiences. Over the last two year, many of you were kind enough to participate in a lot of surveys we were doing. First, to gauge what new platforms you wanted us to add. Second, to get more information about what reasons you had for wanting different platforms.

From all of that came the plan of Fresh Tracks+. Matthew left his consulting job this spring and started working with RJ, our operations manager, to implement this new idea. It has been a huge undertaking. And it is being launched with many more features yet to come in the next few months.

Below is some highlight of why we have done this and why we are adding it as another option, rather than a replacement of existing options.

1. I believe you should be able to watch content without worrying who is following you around for the sake of skimming your personal information and using that to serve you the next content items or to serve you ads. Worse yet, they develop profiles about you and they rent/sell that profile information to advertisers. I've always hated that and I hate it more each day.

Unfortunately, YouTube is the biggest video distribution platform and likely always will be. And YouTube is the second biggest violator of your personal information and privacy, following the leader of the pack, Facebook. Those are two necessary evils in reaching large audiences.

Yet, if you are like me and you don't want to pay for content with your privacy and personal information, then this new Fresh Tracks+ option is a way for you to enjoy our content without that worry. Yet, knowing some people would rather pay for their content with their time (ads) and their privacy and personal information, we will continue to keep those other platforms in place and allow people to view our content there, albeit released at later dates than when it premiers on FT+.

2. In the surveys, a large number of you answered the same way I did - that you value your time and you would like an option where you don't have to sit through ads about products/services that you have no interest in. I pay a lot of small monthly or annual subscription fees to get my news and other content I want. I no longer have to deal with ads, intrusions, etc. This is a way for people to avoid ads. Some of our old content we put on FT+ will have company logos, as it is prohibitive to go and remove every company presence in that old stuff. But, the new content is being exported during edits as ad-free.

3. Many of you said you want all our content in one place. I share your frustration when we put a 4-episode hunt on YouTube, only to have YouTube scatter all four episodes and not allow us to link them in sequence. On FT+, everything will be in one place and easy to find.

4. I'm tired of being throttled by FB and YT. They don't "censor" us, per se, but they do demonetize our content, which is the same as censorship when using platforms that rely on ads for moving up the algorithm. Why would YT give a demonetized video any positive score in the algorithm if it is not earning any revenue due to their demonetization of "sensitive content?" Answer - they don't push it through the algorithm, rather it goes into a dark hole. This is their backdoor way of censoring content without being accused of censoring. Fine, their platforms and I agreed to their terms of use. But, doesn't mean I'm going to stand still while they do it. Thus, another reason for FT+.

There are a lot of other reasons why we are doing this. Anyone who thinks that guns, knifes, dead animals, cutting meat, etc is going to have a home on popular media distribution platforms five years from now has a more optimistic view of these ad-based tech companies than I do. You saw it this summer when Amazon removed all our content and all other hunting content from the free PRIME model and place that content on a rent/buy option. They keep a large chunk of that money and small producers who provide content end up on the short end. I suspect it is only a matter of time before Amazon tosses hunting from the rent/buy options.

I could go on and on. We are happy to answer more questions on this. We know it is not for everyone, but for many, it is an attractive option.

What you see today has all seasons of Fresh Tracks, including the new Season 9 (no, it won't be going to Amazon). You will find the four seasons of our old show, On Your Own Adventures. You will find our "Lessons Learned" videos, our new fishing series, "Any Fin Goes," our films, many live events, some upcoming content that will be exclusive to FT+, and the content that will roll out on the ad-based platforms later on will be available on FT+ before it is available on YT or FB.

We are adding APPS for your phones and your smart TVs. We hope people will sign up directly with us, to avoid paying 30% to the app platforms, then go download the apps afterwards. Those apps will be ready in the next few weeks.

Thanks for all your support. Lots more to come on this project.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you want to check it out, here is the link - https://www.freshtracks.tv/
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,336
Location
SE SD
Very cool, Looking forward to trying out the new platform!

So I understand correctly, the best way to sign up is through the website to avoid the app related fees on your end?
 

Timvz26

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
30
This looks great, will you be doing live stream Q&A's like "Elk Talk" used to be on here?
 

TN2shot07

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Messages
890
Location
West TN
I’ll be excited to see the apps. I run all of my tv through an Apple TV so hopefully that’ll work! I work on a computer all day and try my best to not touch one at the house
 

WNC2500

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
562
Location
North Carolina
Signed up for the year subscription as well. It is great that it is all in one place, don't have to search through YT or wherever to track down what you are looking for. Signed up on the website, but looking forward to what is to come with apps, and everything else!

Great job @Bigfin, and Matthew.

I was disappointed as well that RANDY did not work. I assumed 10% off.
 

bennirio

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
106
Location
Utah
Happy to support you Big Fin! Just did the year subscription. Thanks, as always, for the content.
 

klampson

Active member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
228
Just signed up for the year.

I too tried promo code "RANDY". Didn't you say during one of your Elk Talk podcasts to try that promo code for everything LOL....

Really stocked about the new platform, congrats!
 

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
63
It's really interesting to see online content come full circle. In the 'early days' of the internet when companies were first realizing it was a viable way to connect with users/customers, everyone was trying to serve their content up directly from their own website. Challenges ensued - do users have the correct browser + version; do the browser's plug-ins work correctly; does the website server have enough horsepower to deliver content to a bunch of people at one time; etc; etc. Then along came YouTube, Vimeo, and other content 'providers' to take the burden away from one-off websites. Now everyone can upload their content and share a link without having to worry about the technical details of serving it. Then, over time, via pseudo-censorship like Randy mentioned, they have slowly alienated various groups of users to the point that folks are going back to self-serving their content. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out over time and see where we are in another 5-10 years.

Looking forward to the new site and content!
 

grizzly_

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Messages
962
Subscribed

Congrats on the new venture, BigFin. It's always cool to watch visionaries reinvent new and better ways to do things.

PS. I'm a total Luddite so will need help from other members on how to watch episodes on my TV 🤦
 

trb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
435
Location
Colorado
We are adding APPS for your phones and your smart TVs.
So if I subscribe on the website, which I will do today, I should be able to have it on my Roku TV in a few weeks?

Thanks for the update! Very much looking forward to not having to deal with Grammarly and Seat Geek ads...or the episodes randomly disappearing on Amazon.
 

Big Fin

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2000
Messages
15,581
Location
Bozeman, MT
So if I subscribe on the website, which I will do today, I should be able to have it on my Roku TV in a few weeks?
Yes. We will have apps for both phone platforms and the four largest smart TV platforms, one of which is Roku. We have already submitted for approval. Just a function of how long it takes them to approve.

Thanks for the support.
 

Derek44

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Messages
280
Location
North Central Washington
Today we launched a new platform we have been working on for many years. It is called Fresh Tracks+, which is what the name implies; Fresh Tracks, plus a lot more. It is brought forth on the premise that we pay for content in one of three ways:

1. With our time by having to sit through ads that mean nothing to us, and/or....

2. With our personal information and privacy by allowing these ad-based big tech companies to build profiles about us based on our behaviors, then sell/rent that information for huge sums of money, or....

3. With a small monthly or annual fee that eliminates items #1 an #2 above.

Some people are fine paying for content under options #1 and/or #2. I get that; it is how they have trained us since the first radio shows were funded by ads and when the first websites started tracking our activities. Yet, many of us have tired of our time and privacy being the currency by which we pay for content.

A bit of history on this project. Matthew and I started looking for our own video distribution platform in 2011 and 2012. We eventually built our own custom video player with a lot of features, at a significant cost. Unfortunately, at the time, delivering video files was more expensive than what could be earned in monetizing such. So, in 2013, we put the project on the shelf.

Roll forward to 2019. With the huge changes in video file technology, emerging infrastructure to better deliver high quality video, and my continued frustration with ad-based technology companies, Matthew convinced me the next step in our business model was to take advantage of these new opportunities and explore our own member-based platform.

Being the skeptic and having been burned once, I decided we needed to poll our audiences. Over the last two year, many of you were kind enough to participate in a lot of surveys we were doing. First, to gauge what new platforms you wanted us to add. Second, to get more information about what reasons you had for wanting different platforms.

From all of that came the plan of Fresh Tracks+. Matthew left his consulting job this spring and started working with RJ, our operations manager, to implement this new idea. It has been a huge undertaking. And it is being launched with many more features yet to come in the next few months.

Below is some highlight of why we have done this and why we are adding it as another option, rather than a replacement of existing options.

1. I believe you should be able to watch content without worrying who is following you around for the sake of skimming your personal information and using that to serve you the next content items or to serve you ads. Worse yet, they develop profiles about you and they rent/sell that profile information to advertisers. I've always hated that and I hate it more each day.

Unfortunately, YouTube is the biggest video distribution platform and likely always will be. And YouTube is the second biggest violator of your personal information and privacy, following the leader of the pack, Facebook. Those are two necessary evils in reaching large audiences.

Yet, if you are like me and you don't want to pay for content with your privacy and personal information, then this new Fresh Tracks+ option is a way for you to enjoy our content without that worry. Yet, knowing some people would rather pay for their content with their time (ads) and their privacy and personal information, we will continue to keep those other platforms in place and allow people to view our content there, albeit released at later dates than when it premiers on FT+.

2. In the surveys, a large number of you answered the same way I did - that you value your time and you would like an option where you don't have to sit through ads about products/services that you have no interest in. I pay a lot of small monthly or annual subscription fees to get my news and other content I want. I no longer have to deal with ads, intrusions, etc. This is a way for people to avoid ads. Some of our old content we put on FT+ will have company logos, as it is prohibitive to go and remove every company presence in that old stuff. But, the new content is being exported during edits as ad-free.

3. Many of you said you want all our content in one place. I share your frustration when we put a 4-episode hunt on YouTube, only to have YouTube scatter all four episodes and not allow us to link them in sequence. On FT+, everything will be in one place and easy to find.

4. I'm tired of being throttled by FB and YT. They don't "censor" us, per se, but they do demonetize our content, which is the same as censorship when using platforms that rely on ads for moving up the algorithm. Why would YT give a demonetized video any positive score in the algorithm if it is not earning any revenue due to their demonetization of "sensitive content?" Answer - they don't push it through the algorithm, rather it goes into a dark hole. This is their backdoor way of censoring content without being accused of censoring. Fine, their platforms and I agreed to their terms of use. But, doesn't mean I'm going to stand still while they do it. Thus, another reason for FT+.

There are a lot of other reasons why we are doing this. Anyone who thinks that guns, knifes, dead animals, cutting meat, etc is going to have a home on popular media distribution platforms five years from now has a more optimistic view of these ad-based tech companies than I do. You saw it this summer when Amazon removed all our content and all other hunting content from the free PRIME model and place that content on a rent/buy option. They keep a large chunk of that money and small producers who provide content end up on the short end. I suspect it is only a matter of time before Amazon tosses hunting from the rent/buy options.

I could go on and on. We are happy to answer more questions on this. We know it is not for everyone, but for many, it is an attractive option.

What you see today has all seasons of Fresh Tracks, including the new Season 9 (no, it won't be going to Amazon). You will find the four seasons of our old show, On Your Own Adventures. You will find our "Lessons Learned" videos, our new fishing series, "Any Fin Goes," our films, many live events, some upcoming content that will be exclusive to FT+, and the content that will roll out on the ad-based platforms later on will be available on FT+ before it is available on YT or FB.

We are adding APPS for your phones and your smart TVs. We hope people will sign up directly with us, to avoid paying 30% to the app platforms, then go download the apps afterwards. Those apps will be ready in the next few weeks.

Thanks for all your support. Lots more to come on this project.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you want to check it out, here is the link - https://www.freshtracks.tv/
Signing up today!! Thanks Randy!! This will be a great step forward.

just pulled the trigger on a year.
 
Last edited:
Yeti

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