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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Podcast download stats

Just for curiosity's sake. Those of you with more interest in podcasting ought to at least lurk on the boardgamepodcasters Yahoo group.

Measuring the number of folks listening to podcasts is an inexact science. The closest you can get is measuring downloads, but you never know how many people share a single download (such as with an audio CD), how many downloads are trashed without ever being heard, or how many individual listeners download the same show more than once. But I'm an engineer, not a scientist, so I've got no problem working with estimated figures to draw meaningful conclusions. (I guess lots of professions do this, too.)

So even with the inexact information I get from download data, I can still figure out that I've got an audience somewhere around 1000. It grew to that number over a six-month period, or maybe a little longer, and has now flattened out. Just about every show ultimately ends up with those sort of numbers. About three-quarters of those downloads occur in the first few days, split about evenly between automated downloads and folks who go get my show after seeing the small announcement in the BGG forum. The rest is the loooong tail that slowly fills in over months. And months. I still get a few downloads every day for some of my oldest shows, now stretching back more than a year.

Although the podcast's overall listener numbers are remarkably consistent, there are three shows that have had 50% more downloads than the rest. When I looked at which ones, the answers surprised me a little. I get the most positive feedback about the All About shows, but their listener numbers hover right around the 1000 mark, like the other episodes. Nope, the most popular downloaded shows are
  • The Essen show I did with Mike Siggins
  • The nostalgia/storytelling show about my days with Steve Jackson Games
  • And the very first show!
I figure there's just a lot of interest in Essen (or Siggins, or both), and the SJ Games show probably brought in other listeners that downloaded just that single show. But the first show, oof! I guess it makes sense, to want to go back to the very beginning. I used to have the shows going all the way back downloadable via iTunes. I'm not sure if that's still possible, or at least easy. But wow, now I really wish I could point listeners who want to start at "the beginning" to a different show that served as a more polished introduction to this podcast. I wonder how many listened to that first one and gave up due to my monotone voice and microphone hiss? :-)

-Mark

They are the Essen show I did with Mike Siggins,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BGTG 58 - May 17, 2006 - SR: Ticket to Ride: Märklin, Buy Low Sell High, Dschunke and Feedback



See? I told you I'd get a show out this week. Just had to ignore my family to get it done. (I'm kidding.) Don't know if I will, but I think I should try to knock out a couple more semi-smaller shows featuring session reports and some feedback. We'll see. This one starts with a smattering of news items and whatnot before I get into the discussion of specific games. Stuff like mentioning some new boardgame podcasts that are out there, new play-by-web options, and so on.

-Mark

Links
Boardgames with Scott (now with audio-only/podcast feed option)
Geeknights
Hacienda on Yucata.de, Samurai on Mabiweb, (and another Vinci map on Ludagora)
Ticket to Ride:Märklin
Buy Low Sell High (and Palmyra)
Dschunke
History According to Bob podcast (looks like the 30YW material relevant to Wallenstein has already scrolled off the archives. Well, subscribe to this podcast to make sure you don't miss more good material! Or wait for Bob to release Set C of his CD's.)


Monday, May 15, 2006

Your loss is my gain

I wish I could be putting out more podcasts. I've got lots of ideas, some guests lined up (some have been waiting for months!), some partial shows recorded, and outlines for future shows. What I don't have is the time or energy to have finished them already.

Actually, that's not true. I do have the time, and sometimes I even have the energy. However, my success in a personal goal for my hobby--dialing back my intensity/involvement and playing more games with my family--has impacted the podcast. I'm spending more time playing with my kids. Sometimes that's boardgames, sometimes it's videogames, sometimes it's catch in the front yard. And I'm not consuming boardgaming content with all of my leisure time--sometimes I'm watching TV with my wife, reading a book, or even exercising. All good choices, right?

Right, they absolutely are. They just come at a cost to my hobby. Some folks can do all of these things and not miss a beat with their avid boardgaming, but I've never been able to pull that off. And so the podcast is delayed.

Not forever, don't worry. In fact, I think I'll get a show out by the weekend at the latest. I still love doing them, and I'm still going to do them.

-Mark

P.S. And now you've got a glimpse of what a future show is going to be about. Not the next one, though--that's supposed to be an overdue session report + feedback show, talking about TtR:Märklin, Buy Low Sell High, and Dschunke. The "David Arnott Leftovers" show is also in the pipeline, catching up with some comments about Medici, Elasund, and Hacienda.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

BGTG 57 - April 30, 2006 - Ordering Overseas



Here's a shorter show that I've wanted to do for a while, talking about how I've ordered games from overseas. Up until just recently that always meant Germany--albeit from a few different webshops--but last week I placed an order through a Dutch website, too. I organize most of these group buys for the Santa Clarita Boardgamers, and there's something to learn from it. The websites are getting more and more English content, but there are times you still need to keep an online translator open in another browser window. I found it intimidating at first, but now it's pretty easy.

However, now we don't order overseas so often. A poor currency exchange rate between the US$ and Euro, combined with greater domestic inventory of timely English-language editions of German games (often at discounted prices and cheap-or-free shipping) means the overseas order is more specialized. While there's no longer much reason to buy new games from the major publishers overseas, there are still some closeouts, OOPs, or untranslated games from smaller publishers that are most economically ordered from Europe.

Something I neglected to point out in the podcast is that the closeout pricelist for these European stores changes throughout the year, especially shortly after Essen. During my one trip there in 2003 I struggled to make room in my suitcase for an 11 Euro copy of Giganten. There were lots of those available at the fair. Then when I got home I watched multiple online vendors put the same game on their discount list, at about the same price. So I could've nabbed my "Essen special" just be shopping the lists from home! This opportunity doesn't always happen, but it's worth keeping your eye out for it.

One other thing about the VAT discount. Most shops give you the discount during the ordering or payment process. It might not be until the very end, though. Also, the Dutch store I've just used gave me back the VAT discount as a PayPal refund after I'd placed the full-price order (something they clearly explained upfront). And there was one time that a AllGames4You forgot to give me the discount at all, but they made good on it after an email exchange.

-Mark

Links
Adam Spielt (German)
Playme.de (German)
AllGames4You (German)
Magnus Spiele (German)
Jocade (French)
Au Coin du Jeu (French)
Bestel een Spel (Dutch)
Le Valet d'Coeur (French Canadian)
One of my game order spreadsheets