September 11, 2007 cameron

Markham And Reilly – The Premium Edition… Survey

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As our regular listeners know, for some time now David and I have been thinking about doing a new podcast series in addition to the current Napoleon 101 series. One of the challenges we have with producing a new series, however, is time. Although David has recently retired from full-time teaching, we are both busy, David with his writing and research and Cameron with running The Podcast Network.

It looks like the current series might run for another 12 or 13 episodes (40 seems like a nice round number) which, at one episode a month, could take us another year. We continually get requests from people to record more frequently or to start the new series sooner. And there might be a way that we could justify it. We’re calling it “The Premium Edition”.

This “Premium Edition” will not in any way affect the regular series. Think of it as additional “premium” content. We thought we should check with you, our loyal and most wonderful listeners, about what you would like to see/hear from us before we launch ourselves into it. If you wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to complete this VERY BRIEF (only 5 questions, we promise!) survey, we would really appreciate it. It will help us decide what path we should take.

Click Here to take survey

Comments (39)

  1. Wes

    HI All

    I am really looking forward to a Julius Ceaser podcast. I am sure it will be almost as long or longer then the Napoleon Podcasts. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, I think it would be better to pay a one time subscription of $25 or $30 dollars for the whole series. If you are going to put the Napoleon podcast on DVD your max was $30. On the survay some of the shows you also mentioned are a vidoe podcast of the remaining shows. I have an ipod nano that does not support video, so I don’t know who that would work to download. Another option was one on the french revolution. You covered the revolution pretty good, I thought, during this podcast. I think you should do a Julius Ceaser podcast.

  2. Mike

    I think Wes has a good point about a one off $25 – $30 .
    It also has a ‘Christmas present amount’ feel to it if that makes sense. maybe we could have a choice between
    monthly subs or a one -off.

    A tough choice for me by the way between more on Nap or JC.

    If you do video, pls if possible do it so I can still
    just listen to the audio side only. To me the benefit of podcasting is that you can enjoy it while being mobile.

  3. Randy

    Has Charlemagne ever been considered to be the next possible subject? He was certainly a major figure in middle-age Europe (“founding father of both France and Germany”??), and it might work well to work backwards in time from the Napoleonic age.

  4. Ron Hartman

    Is there a small problem in the survey when if you say NO to the DVD it still insists on you suggesting a price?



  5. Joshua Parker

    Colour me skeptical but I’m not sure you’ll be able to find much of an audience for a user pays history podcast.

    The only podcasts that can usually get listeners to pay to my knowledge are fitness podcasts and seduction podcasts both which really have the goal of getting you more sex, something a lot of people aspire to and history doesn’t help a lot with; though perhaps Barbara might debate me on that point 🙂

    As for JC I’ve never really found him all that interesting so I wouldn’t be so bothered about hearing about him. The Napoleonic age has so many interesting figures and quality recording of events you could probably go on about it for a long time.

    I suppose if you were really ambitious you could cover WW2, it has been done to death but rarely in a complete form and certainly not in a podcast.

    Not that this is a topic either of you are particularly well educated to my knowledge but I find coverage of modern warfare post Vietnam and its anticipated evolutions in the future a fascinating subject. Sure there’s no standout figure like Napoleon but I think its really such fertile uncovered ground too, you can be really hypothetical about it and no one can call you up on it 🙂 You can even be pretty controversial seeing as the conflicts are more recent. That might attract press coverage? Who knows you might even be able to make money from war buffs. But maybe thats a project for Cameron to work with someone else on.

    I just think with the continuing war in Iraq people are probably more interested than ever in what the US military can do, why its superior technology has not saved the lives of thousands of soldiers and what future technology may be able to.

  6. Cameron

    Wes & Mike – thanks for the feedback about the one-off subscription. We’ll take that on board.

    Randy – Charlemagne is certainly an interesting subject. Not someone we’ve ever talked about though.

    Ron – you’re right, that doesn’t make sense. I’ve fixed it (I hope!).

    Joshua – you might be right, and that’s why we are asking people. So far the response has been pretty positive though. WWII would be terrific. I would love to do a show on it. I know David is quite knowledgeable about it as well, but I think we’re both attracted to talking about the ancient stuff next.

  7. jan

    i think there’s still a problem with the survey cam. worth another look to see if you have the logic running as you expected.

    another vote here for a one-off payment model.

    subscriptions are a real problem at so many levels.

    what do you do for listeners the month you don’t put out a show for whatever reason? will the subscription cancelation work as expected at the end of the season etc etc.

    my suggested model is, ask for a one-off up front payment and subscribers get access as the shows are released. after a period, say 3 months sell them on at a $1 per show in meaningfully large batches (5 for $5, say) with the bundle becoming available when the most recent show reaches the deadline (those who wish to can convert from a ‘bundle buyer’ to a full ‘instant access’ subscription for some pro-rata rate). a year later release them for free.

    gives you a solid up front lump of funds (refundable if the initial subscriptions don’t make the show worth doing) and an ongoing income stream for a good period of time with bundle sales and hopefully recruiting more subscribers as people experience the obvious quality of the bundles. Lastly the social good gets satisfied with the free versions once they become ‘archive’ material.

    appears more complex but at no time are you using the ongoing subscription model of porn sites which causes no end of trouble and bad feeling when things don’t flow smoothly (and life has a habit of not flowing as we hope), honestly it would be as complex as it sounds here once laid out in a well design site and purchase form.

    anyway just throwing it out there.
    do recheck the survey logic, still seems ‘broken’.

  8. Cameron

    Jan – yeah thanks, I forgot those questions were appearing on the same page! So the logic didn’t help. Have rectified the situation this time… I think! I like the up-front model as well. Means we can skip town and go live in Argentina or something. 🙂

    And it sounds like you know a fair bit about how porn site subscriptions work…

  9. jan

    the ‘porn subscription model’ is a description i’ve heard as a deprecated monetisation model floating around the web. there’s a discussion somewhere on one of the many leo laport podcasts discussing his problems with subscriptions causing angst amongst his listeners and why he abandoned it. sorry i can’t remember which show and when, but the concept stuck in my mind and i’ve heard it elsewhere as a disincentive to people signing up to things and feeling trapped.

    do you see the payment channel being via paypal (or similar)?

  10. Cameron

    Paypal or direct deposit into the TPN bank account would be easiest for me. Any other ideas?

  11. David Rushton

    Congratulations on the podcast. Both my wife and I listen to it and chat about it. You’ve both become part of the family (We’re a Brazilian/New Zealand family. We knew next to nothing about NB before getting into the podcast, despite both being very interested in history.

    I have a query about La Marsellaise: I love the anthem, but read on Wikipedia that although it had been adopted by the Convention, it was not used as the anthem during NB’s time in power, only later. We have two questions about this: 1. What was Napoleon’s relationship with La Marsellaise (and why didn’t he use it, if that is indeed the case)?; and 2. If it wasn’t used, was any other piece used in this capacity? And would that be more appropriate for the intro to the show (albeit less well known and probably less stirring)?

    PS: The survey doesn’t seem to be working properly – it skipped from question 2 straight through to question 5.

  12. Andrew Killam

    On pricing:

    Personally, I don’t like the idea of paying for future episodes or paying per month, but I would be happy to pay $1, through iTunes, per episode, upon its release. If by some Herculean feat you managed to release three a week at your current level of quality I wouldn’t complain about paying the $12 per month that that would result in either (in truth I’d be very pleased). Please, whatever you do, let us pay through iTunes rather than PayPal or some other less-trustworthy system.

    On Content:

    I always saw Napoleon as a failed dictator, and am glad that your podcasts made him into a multidimensional and interesting historical figure. I have an equal lack of interest in Julius Caesar but look forward with confidence to what you are able to do with his history.

    I am not terribly interested in hearing more on Napoleon or from other Napoleonic experts, but would be happy to pay the aforementioned $1/episode for a Julius Caesar series, a French Revolution series, or one covering virtually any other historical figure or time period you two gents care to discuss in your engaging style.

    thank you for the work you have thus far released,
    Andrew Killam

  13. Andrew Killam

    A few more thoughts:

    If earning a living was your (reasonable) concern, then I imagine that $1/podcast with 6000 to 10000 monthly purchases would suffice. However, if you want to reach an audience outside of that smaller group (and I believe that you do), then perhaps you could have an up-front agreement that a paid-for podcast will become free after six months or a year.

    I hope there are few Molly’s out there, but perhaps iTunes DRM will give you a good balance between
    revenue and user-friendliness.

    Also, have you considered less epic series? Perhaps 3-12 episodes on a subject, wrapping up in six months instead of 2+ years? I’m sure you could name a dozen minor historical characters that would still make for interesting discussions.


  14. Cameron

    David, re the survey, if you click “no” in question 2, you jump to the end of the survey. 🙂

    Re the anthem – my usual answer about why I use La Marseillaise is because I think it symbolizes the French Revolution and Napoleon was the savior of the Revolution. There were some tunes around during his time but nothing quite as evocative or famous.

  15. Cameron

    Andrew, I’m not aware of a way for podcasters to charge via iTunes at this stage but I’ll ask my contacts at Apple. Paypal is probably going to be the best vehicle though. I’m not sure why you consider it less trustworthy. I’ve been using Paypal for many years and have never had an issue with it.

  16. Come on Cam, you’ve always said your a huge support of Bit Torrent, haven’t you. What is the difference with you providing “Premium” content and the music industry? I mean for starters you would be encouraging everyone to just share the program with their friends (you know, its just like a book, why shouldn’t they share it)!

    And of course there won’t be any DRM, as you don’t believe in that business model.


  17. Cameron

    No, there won’t be any DRM and I am a huge supporter of Bit Torrent. I know you love being a smart ass Molly but I’ve been creating free content for three years. I’m not the record industry or the TV industry that has been milking billions of dollars from audiences for 50 years through protected business models. I’m the little guy who sold his house so he could invest $500k of his own money and three years of his life into making free, intelligent content for the people. If people choose not to support us, then that’s fine. The market will decide the value.

  18. Mark McKillop

    Cam and David

    First of all congratulations on the NB series, it is fantastic. I would love to see a video version. Could that not be professionally done with commercial or public TV funding?

    I am also looking forward to a Julius Caesar series. As for other topics I would suggest other eras in Roman History – wars with Carthage, the decline of the republic, the Julio-Claudian emperors, the ‘good’ emperors from Vespasian to Marcus Aurelius, and the decline and fall. Some of these would be good for some 6 to 12 episode series. Other ideas would be Byzantium and the rise of Islam, the Normans, the Crusades…the list is almost endless.

    I’m not a big fan of subscriptions but I would pay for these from you guys, but only because I know how good your content is. My fear would be you would cut yourself off from casual listeners who were curious but not committed.

    I think $1 per episode is appropriate and the episodes should become free 3 months after first release, for casual listeners to sample, up to a limit of say 25% of the series total. SO you could listen to the first 3 of 12 but have to pay for the rest.

  19. Cameron

    Mark, I think making the first episode free is a good idea, we’ll probably do that. Thanks for the support. We know that paying for content on the web hasn’t really been a successful model in the past but we’re hoping we can make a go of it.

  20. Michael

    Hi Cameron and David,

    Life’s been very busy, after keeping up with episodes 1-21, I’ve just been catching up on all the Russian Campaign podcasts and still loving them…haven’t had much time to post though. Took your survey and would like to say I’d be willing to pay a small monthly fee myself for a subscription, although I really liked the idea someone had about perhaps putting all 40 Napoleon Podcast episodes into a single CD form type of thing. You’d be able to justify charging a pretty fair amount for something like that with all the hours of education and entertainment you have recorded over the past couple of years. Video segments with a tour of David’s personal museum would be great as well.

    As far as future subjects go – my favorite will always be the Napoleonic period, but I’d also love to hear something on the French Revolution, or even the late 18th century “Atlantic Revolutions”, combining the Enlightenment with the American War of Independence and the French Revolution/Revolutionary Wars. Before doing anything like this however, I feel the best route for the next couple of podcasts would definitely be Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great in keeping with the “great men of history” theme.
    Other figures I’m fascinated by are Caesar Augustus, Constantine, Justinian, Charlemagne, Charles V, Louis XIV, and Frederick the Great. Big fan as well of studying the 19th Century unification movements of Italy and Germany.

    Thanks for involving everyone in the input for this!

    Vive l’Empereur!

    PS – David, I recently found out about an exhibition that will be at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts called “Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style 1800-1815”. It opens October 21 and runs through January 27. Have you heard anything about this exhibit or have any personal experience with it elsewhere? Thanks very much.
    Red Sox vs. Yankees this weekend here in Boston! Go SOX 🙂

  21. Wes

    Another suggestion for a podcast would be the American Revolution. I think that an indepth look at the founding fathers and the revolution would be pretty exciting, especially if David and Cameron can delve into the presonalities of these people. I am interested to find out what the French Revolution took away from the American Revolution and how the American Revolution led up to the French Revolution or how they are related. From the American you could probably lead right into the French revolution (although we may all be in our 80’s by the time we finally reach Napoleon again) LOL!!! Anyway, If you start doing video podcasts you will probably force me to buy an ipod that supports video. Cam do you think you could get some of your contacts at apple to float us a couple of the new ipod touchs for some type of trial or a show of support of the podcast. LOL
    On the matter of paying, I don’t have a credit card (am i the only one?) and do not see in my near future of getting one so how would you recommend that I go about paying for a podcast. I also like the idea for either subscribing to the podcast with one fee or somehow (not making it a big hassel) paying for each episode. I believe it would be easier to just pay one subscription instead of having to fool arould with each episode. I was listening to something you did on Castro and you mentioned wanting to do a history on him. You could probably do a mini series on some of the less grand historic figures in a 5- 10 episode series. If people like these small series it would entise them to subscribe to the larger series that you undertake. Just some suggestion.

    PS Check on those ipods ;}

  22. Cameron

    Wes, we’ll probably use Paypal to manage the subscriptions for the new show and a Paypal account is a MUST HAVE in the 21st century. You don’t need a credit card for it, just a regular bank account. Although how you manage to survive without a credit card amazes me!

  23. Julius Caesar, Hannibal Barca, Charlemagne and Scipio Africanus. I could go on all day. Get moving, chop chop.

    Seriously though, it’d be great no matter what you do.

  24. David,

    Napoleon was not a big fan of La Marsellaise. He preferred to use Veillons Au Salute De L’Empire, though when he came back for the 100 Days I think he went back to La Marsellaise.

    As to payment methods, seems to me that Paypal is the best. I’ve never had any problems with it at all. I suppose one could send cash via registered letter. I’m afraid I don’t know much about the other methods mentioned. Anyway, that will be up to Cameron to figure out.

    Lots of good suggestions on future topics. I like the idea of doing some topics in a shorter time frame. In truth, I doubt that any of the future topics will take as long as Napoleon has (and is) taking. I think, for example, that Caesar will likely be 12 episodes or so.

    As to reaching a select group vs a broader outreach, well, of course, that is the choice one makes when one decides to charge even a small amount for one’s work. Its not an easy decision, but I hope that most people will understand that when one puts in as much time and effort on a project like Cameron and I do, and when one brings that level of expertise to bear, it is reasonable to anticipate some level of compensation eventually.

    Thanks to everyone for their ideas and their support!


  25. andrew

    Julius Caesar is a great idea – I would definitely pay, as his story must be the single most important “turning point” in the history of the West – he’s also a fascinating and contradictory character, the “supporting cast” is pretty amazing, from Vercingetorix to Pompey to Cleopatra – it has drama, extraordinary warfare, sex, politics, tragedy etc. I say, go for it!


  26. Kevin B

    Please, please, please! Consider Ghengis Khan. There is enough blood and glory to last a hundred episodes!! And I want to find the treasure where he is buried!!

    • Jayne

      A podcaster called Dan Carlin has already done a few episodes on Ghengis Khan called “Wrath of the Khans” It is brilliant and if you are thinking about doing this I suggest you listen to his podcasts first. His are the only podcasts that are as good as yours …. or even better, sorry Cameron!:)

  27. BJC

    Some comments on a subscription model. I definitely like the idea of an annual fee over monthly charges. Simplifies the purchase decision, probably easier to administer too.

    On DRM/Copying, I’d suggest creating a web site for subscribers with discussion boards and participation by the principals. Podcasts can be copied but the experience of community cannot.

    In fact it might be useful to think of the venture as an unsanctioned university course rather then just a series of podcasts. Beyond discussion boards you could have quizzes, “Suggest a thesis” contests, reading groups, all sorts of nonsense. You could bring people beyond listening, and bring them to learning.

    My two cents,

  28. What’s all this talk about Julius Caesar? Napoleon is only half the story! Go back and do the Revolution!

  29. George

    Hi Cameron and David

    As my brother in law is a history teacher with a serious Napoleonics slant, I started downloading the podcast many months ago with a view to listening to it one day.

    Well the day came this week when I had a six hour drive up the Queensland coast for work. I had already listened to the TGGP and wanted something to listen to.

    Firstly, congratualtions on such an informative podcast. My personal favourite period in military history was the Australians in the pacific during WW2 however your knowledge and enthusiasm for the topic has made me want to learn more about an ERA i had previously never even considered reading about.

    Gone are my views that Napoleon was a little cranky man, as after listening to the first five or so podcasts, I know realise that he certainly had the gift for military greatness.



  30. Tango

    Hey guys, I finally purchased an ipod and who would have thought that intead of listening to music on the bus to work i listen to the napolean podcast. So far so good, I am on episode 16 in less then 4 weeks!! I was very pleased to hear of a possible Julius Ceaser Podcast!! Wooo-hooo! Keep up the good work, at the pace i’m going it looks like i will catch up to the current broadcasts before you finish….LOL.
    Anywho, thanks for taking the time to offer us a great show.

  31. Eric Thorn

    Sorry, I can’t really afford to pay for podcasts right now, despite my great enjoyment of them. Have you considered a model similar to that of Dan Carlin’s podcasts ( He has the ‘hardcore history’ show that requests donations and he archives the earliest episodes and makes them available for a small fee. Then again, that would not work as well for a chronological series; his are stand-alone. Nevertheless, maybe you should consider ads as well as trying out a mechanism for a donation.

  32. Eric Thorn

    Also, have you considered Hannibal? It might be a shorter series (unless you attack the whole Punic War issue) but it’s a hell of a story… brilliant tactics, superfluous elephants on the alps, etc.

  33. Jayne

    If you want my two cents one of the reasons why your podcast is so popular is because you both are very passionate about Napoleonic history and your interest and enjoyment of Napoleon is clear whenever I listen to you guys. Your passion is infectious! So if you want my advice chose something you both love and are passionate about and it’ll be sure to be a hit

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