We were getting some comments that it was hard to keep track of what the most recent one is and what the most recent thing is that you've watched, which is why we switched to releasing everything for the week on Monday.@Cornell2012
Really enjoyed the day by day series that the platform had been doing. A little disappointed that Fresh Tracks + is getting several episodes dumped on there at one time then nothing for a week. It way more enjoyable to get one then in another stretched out like the day by days.
It shows the most recent video. I just go straight to that. It’s not that hard or confusing. It shows if I’ve already watched it or not.We were getting some comments that it was hard to keep track of what the most recent one is and what the most recent thing is that you've watched, which is why we switched to releasing everything for the week on Monday.
You'll get a little surprise tomorrow though!
Good infoToday 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.
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/
Gave up on Elon Musk Starlink for home. (Still on the waiting list, but it's like being Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day) I had fiber run to my office in town. Subscribed to FT+ the same day.
Still have a lot of exploring to do on the site before I offer my two bits. Nice job, @Cornell2012 and team!
I suspect this would give others control of your IP, but is "download for later viewing" a possibility?