Why We Had to Cancel Triangulation ☹️

Triangulation album art

It’s time to take stock as the year, and decade, wind to a close. As usual at this time of year we have announced several new shows on TWiT, and, sadly, we decided to say good-bye to an old favorite, Triangulation, a show I started in 2005 with John C. Dvorak and Larry Lessig (those episodes seem lost alas), resumed with Tom Merritt in 2011, and a weekly podcast that in 427 episodes over most of the decade, with a variety of hosts, has brought you interviews with some of the most interesting people in tech and a contemporaneous chronicle of how the world has changed around us. All those episodes will continue to be available at TWiT.tv

But I wanted you to understand why Triangulation was cancelled, and in the process understand why some shows make it and others don’t.

Ad-supported networks, like TWiT, rely on consistent listening. In general, it will take four to seven impressions (listens) before an ad works. On a show that’s listened to every week, an advertiser need only buy four to seven ads to get your attention.

With an interview show like Triangulation, most of the audience only listens to the interviews they’re interested in. Let’s say it’s one in five. That means even though 100,000 people might say they “listen” to Triangulation, any given episode is only going to get 20,000 downloads. An advertiser will have to buy 5x the number of ads to reach the same number of impressions on any given listener. Which makes Triangulation five times more expensive than a show that you listen to every week.

Interview shows are completely viable with subscription models. NPR’s Fresh Air is a fantastic show – the gold standard for interview shows – but it wouldn’t survive on ad-supported network. It does great in a subscription or listener-supported environment because millions of people love it enough to donate, even though they might only listen to a handful of shows a year.

That’s why broadcast media, and podcasts, produce mostly shows that generate consistent weekly listens. It’s why shows like Serial do so well, you have to listen every week. It’s why shows like Triangulation do so poorly. It sad, but it’s true.

Bill Atkinson talks Hypercard, the original Macintosh, and more with Leo
Bill Atkinson talks Hypercard, the original Macintosh, and more with Leo

We’ve never experimented with the subscription model on TWiT. It’s hard to get people to pay for shows they’ve been getting for free. And I worry that our technically sophisticated audience would make a pay-wall porous pretty quickly.

But I wanted you to understand why you hear one kind of programming on ad-supported networks, and another on listener-supported channels. We carried Triangulation for as long as we could, but we ultimately can’t produce shows that lose money. It breaks my heart, but that’s just the way it is.

Farewell, old friend. It’s been a great decade producing some of the shows I’m most proud of. I’ll miss you.

So Long and thanks for all the fish…

The New Screen Savers on hiatus

I was so excited when we launched The New Screen Savers” three-and-a-half years ago. Since then it’s been one of my favorite shows in our line-up and a great way for us to showcase products and ideas that don’t fit any of our other shows. But doing justice to that mission makes it the most complicated and expensive show on TWiT. We’ve been trying to do a network television show on a podcaster’s budget.

As you know, TWiT is a bootstrapped operation. We have never taken investments; we can only spend as much as we make. And if a show, however much we love it, can’t pay for itself, we just can’t afford to do it. Unfortunately, “The New Screen Savers” just hasn’t developed a big enough audience to pay for itself. So, as much as it breaks my heart to do this, we’re going to end its run December 29, 2018.

Part of what made The New Screen Savers” special is the many former TechTVers joined me as co-hosts including Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, Megan Morrone, Martin Sargent, Robert Heron, Roger Chang, Sarah Lane, and of course, Kate Botello. TWiT regulars like Jason Howell, Jason Snell, Jason Calacanis, Ron Richards, Iain Thomson, Fr. Robert Ballecer, SJ, and others have stepped in as co-hosts as well. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

We thought it fitting that Patrick and I host the last live episode together on December 22. The Best of 2018 show will post on December 29, 2018. The entire back-catalog of episodes are available to watch anytime at twit.tv/nss.

But wait, there’s more.

Know How
Iyaz Aktar started Know How…” in 2012 to highlight a variety of how-tos and DIYs. Since then, hosts Iyaz, Fr. Robert Ballecer, Megan Morrone and Florence Ion, Jason Howell, Sam Machkovech, and I have shown you everything from building computers, drones, soldering, Raspberry Pi projects, LEDs, smart devices, and gaming. We’re also ending its run this month but we’ll move some of the content into a new show coming in early 2019. The last episode published on December 20, 2018. You can see all “Know Now…” shows anytime at twit.tv/kh.

This Week in Law

After talking with Denise Howell, we all agreed that “This Week in Law” will also end in early 2019. Denise and her panel of legal minds covered the wide spectrum of topics related to law and tech, including Intellectual Property, privacy, copyright, regulation, and the ever-expanding segment of animal selfies. The last episode will be January 11, 2019 at 3p Pacific. As sad as this news is, I’m thrilled to say Denise’s brilliant legal mind and entertaining style will take on a larger role on the network going forward with regular appearances on “This Week in Tech” and “Triangulation.” All of the TWiL shows will remain available at twit.tv/twil.

I know you share my sadness at losing these three shows. We don’t cancel shows lightly, but we also understand it’s part of the process in keeping TWiT fresh and vital. And every ending brings a new beginning. We’re working on a new show we’ll unveil early next year. More about that later.

We all work every day to fulfill our mission to bring you the best tech programming on the Internet. As always, I thank you for your continued support. TWiT wouldn’t exist without you.