We sometimes get asked why we don’t give more or all of our information away for free. This seems to be a common perception within the alt media and we thought it was time to address this issue as it is something that has been bothering us for quite some time. With the alt media being a relatively new industry, there are a lot of misconceptions about it, perhaps more so than with other industries. We’d like to set the record straight and perhaps provide a bit more of a behind-the-scenes perspective, which we do not often see from alt media outlets.
Before we first started our subscription service in late 2016, we were contemplating various ways in which we could make our content freely available while still getting decent revenue to keep our business going and growing. The first most obvious thing that came to mind was using YouTube as a main platform for our podcasts. This would mean that our content would be freely available to our subscribers, while we were getting advertising revenue using Google ads. We went ahead and created our channel, uploaded a couple of videos and monetised them. However, within a matter of hours, our videos had been de-monetised. We contacted the YouTube customer service to enquire why we had been de-monetised when other videos by notable alt media figures with large audiences were allowed to advertise, whose content was also way more explicit than ours. We were told by YouTube that they would not comment on other channels and that our content had been deemed ‘not advertiser friendly’. Bear in mind that this was in 2016, before any of the YouTube censorship of alt media channels had even begun in ernest.
We had no choice but to axe our plans for a YouTube channel and found another similar video platform, Dailymotion. We created our channel, uploaded our videos, and… we were de-monetised. By this point we knew that we would have to change our strategy as we would not be able to rely on any third-party platform for revenue. We already had our website The Sirius Report, on which we had been publishing free articles (from which we were getting about $5 a month in advertising revenue at the time). We decided that if we were going to be serious about setting up a subscription service, it would have to be on our own platform. So we figured out how to change our website into a subscription platform, added all the necessary features and introduced our podcast series.
It is worth noting that since its inception, the monthly fee for our subscription service has remained the same at $4.75 per month. Over the years, we have received quite a few comments from subscribers who said that they were very surprised that we weren’t charging more for our content. In hindsight, given the amount and the complexity of content we produce we should have probably charged quite a bit more, but we chose not to, so that we could keep our services affordable for as many people as possible. To this date, we are still one of the most affordable alt media subscription services out there.
Since we started, we have provided a wealth of information daily via our podcast service and more recently via the Gadfly Multi-Channel Network with our colleagues Jim Willie, Ken Shortgen and CJ. Our subscribers have been getting the best information we can possibly offer them to help them navigate the current geopolitical and economic situation and the feedback has been extremely positive.
However, we have a business to run and our time is currently limited. This is not a hobby or a side hustle, The Sirius Report is our full time job and we do not earn any income other than subscription revenue and a very small amount of advertising revenue from our website. We, like anyone else, have bills to pay etc. and by keeping our overheads very low, we earn enough to do that. There can sometimes be a misconception about business owners that they must be earning lots of money and living an extravagant lifestyle. Yes, in some cases that can happen but in most cases that is simply not true.
There is also a misconception – and this is particularly the case with alt media – where people believe that this kind of information should be freely available. We would love to do that and as we pointed out in the beginning of this article, we tried to do that but we simply do not have a large enough audience. Advertising revenue from websites is even lower than that from YouTube and so we would need huge numbers to even come close to the revenue we get from our subscription services. Unless you volunteer for a charity, you wouldn’t want to work for free and neither would we and we are not a charity. We are a very small business, consisting of just the two of us, with the mission of injecting truth and reality into the world regarding geopolitical and financial events.
We have never and will never compromise our integrity for the sake of making money. With all the rumblings in the alt media in recent years, we could have very easily sold out and said all the things that were popular to gain a large audience, but we chose not to. In recent years, we have lost subscribers who did not like what we were saying, but so be it. We choose to stay true to ourselves and to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and say that we did the right thing, even if it negatively impacts us financially.
We are not here to rip anyone off, we are not here to pull the wool over your eyes and tell you everything will be fine because that ultimately does not benefit anyone. We have lived our lives according to our principles and by extension, we run our business that way too. The only reason we are able to do what we do is through the people who support us and we are incredibly thankful to those who have stuck by us and who choose to put their faith in us to provide truthful, sincere information in these uncertain times.