F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

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DylanWaco
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by DylanWaco » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:03 pm

It's never been easier to get news outside of the Observer than it is now. I would venture to guess half the people in this thread have at least one "source" that breaks news to them in some fashion before Dave does. The value in the Observer for me has always been news and historical content. The news well is damn near dry. The historical content well is still pretty good, but I would prefer we got more of it.

I tend to do a few months on, a few months off as a subscriber. There is simply no reason for me to be a full time subscriber, and any time Bryan goes into his defensive shell it pretty much guarantees I'm going into subscription hiatus.

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TGD287
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by TGD287 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:03 pm

The Fray Movement wrote:Imagine still being one of the Alvarez/Meltzer truthers who refuse to believe anything unless they report it.
I've seen it for years on the PWInsider side. And I get that mindset, especially if you're used to a long string of news being broken correctly by one person. But really, no one should be trusted 100%. Sure, give more confidence to certain people, but just take it all in, and just wait to see what happens.

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soup23
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by soup23 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:06 pm

I re-up to the Observer once a year, for HOF season. Today marked the day that I reupped since I will get the HOF Newsletter.

Bryan's response up above is typical Bryan spewing that he does. It is one of the reasons that I think the market saturation has big potential once Dave retires which at this point is sooner rather than later. To some degree, Bryan can be right. Based on website data for PTBN and download numbers of the pods we produce on a much smaller scale than F4W of course, there is a lot of silent listeners/readers. The crossover of interaction between here, twitter, from F4W has created several pockets that we interact with on a basis that can make the complaints that a few carry seem larger.

However, most of those complaints are valid and been unaddressed. Tony becoming full time was the first time since the merger that I let my sub lapse. I was critical of the amount of retro newsletters being added when the merger existed and here we are 7 years later and we are still only up to August 1998. Why should someone have to wait until 2024 to legally read what Dave had to say about the Benoit murders? it seemed ludicrous then and even moreso now. Tony was added and as others have mentioned, the changes were fairly minimal.

In addition, when the merger first started, the podcast boom hadn't happened and F4W was the mecca of other pods to listen to. You had the Dave/Bryan stuff, Lance Storm for the former wrestler prospective, F 4 Dailies featuring interesting interviews with indy talent, lucha, Adam and Mike on Japan, The Dr. Keith stuff, and Karl Stern for the historical perspective. This doesn't take into account Coughlin's fight breakdowns which in 2008-2009 were top notch when he remained focused. The only boastful statement of this response will be that as a person deeply embedded with PTBN, i have worked diligently to try to have a podcast repertoire that is competitive to any other wrestling median and to emphasize areas that aren't being utilized elsewhere. VOW seems to have taken this approach as well. As a result, I do think it is highly commendable of Rich and Joe that their are seen as authoritative voices on Japanese wrestling currently.

Bryan can state the metrics of how historical stuff doesn't draw as much as SmackDown and Raw but then where is the passion for the coverage there. Dave was doing UFC at its genesis when it was niche at best, and that didn't deter readership. I remember before my sub lapsed that both Dave and Bryan would routinely skip through SmackDown or give a quick rundown. This always struck me as odd and the equivalent of someone like Peter King skipping out on Monday Night Football. In addition, from the comments here, it seems Bryan is unwilling to cover ROH or any other promotion which at this point is above some niche indy. I don't think anyone is really asking for a review of the latest DreamWave show but you can't respond that WWE is king for clicks and still have those gaps in your coverage of it.

My lasting impression is that this will be a growing issue that will keep simmering and with the reduction of Dave being a historical voice, the impact that F4W has overall in the wrestling media community will dwindle over time. I safely watch 500 hours of wrestling a year. Add to that the 100 hours of site/podcast that I contribute to and that is the equivalent of 15, 40 hour work weeks to my hobby. It is reasonable to expect and see results of tremendous work being put forth by individuals doing this for a living.

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LanceVonErichFan
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by LanceVonErichFan » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:26 pm

soup23 wrote: I was critical of the amount of retro newsletters being added when the merger existed and here we are 7 years later and we are still only up to August 1998. Why should someone have to wait until 2024 to legally read what Dave had to say about the Benoit murders? it seemed ludicrous then and even moreso now.
This is definitely my biggest frustration with the website (well that and the lack of a search function)

At the pace they're being uploaded currently, it won't be until August of 2025 before the last pre-merger WON goes up. I realize that Dave still probably sells quite a few physical back issues of the newsletter that aren't already on the site, but would it it kill them to increase the number of back issues that are uploaded per week? (two per week being reasonable, perhaps?)

One of the things I appreciate about the Torch website is the fact that Wade has gotten almost his entire library of newsletters up, dating back to when he first started the publication.
Last edited by LanceVonErichFan on Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rich Kraetsch
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:35 pm

I've privately messaged Josh to let him know I don't feel it's zero-sum and that this thread isn't meant to encourage people to stop paying for the Observer. Quite the contrary actually. I'm glad this thread was made and it helps ME know what we can do to provide a better service to our customers but yeah, in case anyone has it in their mind there's a feud or we're encouraging people to ditch that site and come over, it's not that way at all. Joe and I both mentioned in this thread what a resource the Observer still is for us and what we do on this site. (Look at our last month and HOF coverage as well). Just wanted to clear that up incase people make more of this thread than what it should be.

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Rob McCarron
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by Rob McCarron » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:58 pm

I've accessed back issues of the Observer a good handful of times just in the past few days to research things. Huge resource in that regard.
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LesMoore
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by LesMoore » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:05 pm

Rich Kraetsch wrote:I've privately messaged Josh to let him know I don't feel it's zero-sum and that this thread isn't meant to encourage people to stop paying for the Observer. Quite the contrary actually. I'm glad this thread was made and it helps ME know what we can do to provide a better service to our customers but yeah, in case anyone has it in their mind there's a feud or we're encouraging people to ditch that site and come over, it's not that way at all. Joe and I both mentioned in this thread what a resource the Observer still is for us and what we do on this site. (Look at our last month and HOF coverage as well). Just wanted to clear that up incase people make more of this thread than what it should be.
That's not what it says on Sheet Sandwich.

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MarkBright
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by MarkBright » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:27 pm

First post here, I've read things on the forum a few times and love the website but this thread inspired me to sign up.

I think the Observer/F4W is still worth paying for, but I'm less confident in that answer than I would've been 12-18 months ago.

I subscribe solely for the Observer Newsletter and the audio shows. I love the Observer and read it through every week. If I had more time I would definitely keep up on the archive issues as well, but having them there is a great resource but could definitely follow the Torch model of getting them up more frequently. I love the detail in the bios and history pieces that Dave does in the Observer and, as morbid as this sounds, when a name wrestler dies, especially someone from before I started watching that I don't know that much about, I'm sad about it but also pretty quickly I'll think "can't wait for next week's Observer now." I think going forward it's a big challenge for Dave to keep the Observer Newsletter special while avoiding a backlash for keeping stuff back that could've been reported on audio or on the website in a more timely fashion, as that's something I've seen people express frustration with.

The audio shows I think are seriously lacking compared to the past. Figure Four DAILY is on three times a fortnight, twice with Tom Lawlor and once with Lance Storm, and the Storm shows have skipped weeks a few times lately. I listened to a couple of the shows Lawlor did and they're not for me, but I'm a big fan of the Lance Storm shows. But when you consider Bryan also used to do wrestler interviews on most weeks, and had Steve Sims every two weeks, and Todd Martin, where I would listen to all those shows, there's a lot less on there than in the past. When Bryan started doing Observer Live every weekday he made a big deal out of how when they got a wrestler interview on that show they would do an extended Figure Four Daily which would be Members Only - that appears to be an idea that was dropped very quickly and never happens anymore. The Sin Limite shows with Dave and Semp were superb, and a highlight of the site, (despite telling the Ann Gunkel is screwed out of Georgia territory and the Baba changes the Misawa/Jumbo finish on the day stories about half a dozen times a year) but now they don't happen anymore, so that's another great show we're missing. I love the shows that Alan does with Justin and Eamo, and always look forward to them and the chemistry between them makes it a great listen. I listen to the Bryan and Vinny shows but wish they would drop reviewing current RAW since Bryan has already covered this with Dave, and Vinny clearly hates the show and hates having to watch it and having to recap it, which makes depressing listening when their show used to be the lighthearted fun show of the site.

In terms of what the site is missing, earlier in the thread someone quoted Bryan I guess from the Observer website Board talking about he needs to produce content for the masses, but I don't think that means everything has to be WWEcentric. When Steve Sims stopped doing shows with Bryan, I don't see why they couldn't get someone else to do a fortnightly Lucha show, and maybe a Japan or Europe or US indies on the alternate week (Alan4L would be good for this) so that there's something for everyone. "we have download figures and more people watch WWE stuff" is not a reason for you to ignore everything else going on in wrestling and not offer a well rounded product where there's enough for everyone, it's just it'd be good if you had the option of more stuff.

The front page articles on the Observer site are a waste of time to the point where I won't click on them unless I get a message from someone I know telling me how bad something is then I read it out of curiosity. When you compare it to sites like this place or cageside seats, there are things I read like the "searching for Roman Reigns house show pop" series that was on here and that is fantastic and blows away anything on the Observer outside of the newsletter, and I don't understand why they don't see the value in getting a staff of writers with interesting viewpoints and differing opinions on a variety of subjects. This is something I think the Torch does well, in terms of not speaking with one voice, I feel like Dave's opinion on something becomes automatically Bryan's opinion and that becomes the website party line too often.

In the end I still think the subscription is worth it but with definite room for improvement, although if my financial circumstances changed and I needed to make cutbacks, of the five things I spend monthly money on in the similar price range (WWE Network, Netflix, Torch, Observer, Sky Movies), Observer would be the first one I'd drop.

Sorry for the rambling first post!

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timmah
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by timmah » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:43 pm

I cancelled my subscription a few months ago having subscribed since Bryan started the site. Pretty much for all the reasons already stated. My frustrations came to a head during G1 time. I felt the coverage was overall poor, apart from Alan's excellent show, but that was probably less than once a week (not Alan's fault, he has a job, a life and it isn't his website). This site was meanwhile doing an awesome job, John Pollock was too, and I realised I had more wrestling podcasts than I could keep up with that I was getting for FREE anyway, why pay $10.99 a month for Bryan to ask all of Dave, Tom Lawler or Lance Storm, Vinnie and Craig on a weekly basis, "So what did you think of Raw?"
Apart from the DKP show, I feel the F4W site has gone exactly the same way PowerSlam magazine did. In the early to mid 90s it was an excellent, informative read for the time which got me into all kinds of wrestling by reporting on it and linking to tape traders: SMW, ECW, New Japan, All Japan, FMW and Joshi were all wrestling I got into besides WWF and WCW because of PowerSlam. In short, they were educating me; they were SETTING THE AGENDA. In later years they simply became a predictable critique of WWE and to a lesser extent TNA, because that's what Fin Martin (maybe rightly, although PS no longer exists so maybe not) judged would sell magazines.
Likewise, when I first listened to WOL around late 2000/early 2001 on eyada, Dave and Bryan were talking about Pride and UFC, along with various indies on top of WWE. They were setting the agenda. These days really all they care to cover in any detail is WWE and UFC, two companies that no-one needs any introduction to, both of whom are pretty darn stale most of the time. It may well pay the bills but it's not interesting to me. Like PowerSlam (and as Bryan has admitted) they are catering to the masses rather than educating. Again I'll say Alan's show is the exception on the site, it genuinely does (or did) get me checking out stuff, but I also have the same issues many have of Bryan and his attitude to his customers (as well as his lack of actually watching wrestling) and don't really want to pay him for one show he has nothing to do with.
I also pretty much gave up on reading the WON over the last year or so. In 2015 a weekly newsletter just feels archaic to me. Given that Dave no doubt works all the hours God sends on it, why wait a week and have half of it already behind the times? I'd be way more interested if the site had daily articles or reviews from him-people love a snowflake but once I've checked out a prompt, well thought out review on this site why wait a week or so for Dave's latest ratings? He could easily do those for members immediately, save the newsletter for more in-depth analysis, obits etc. Two years in a row I have done star rating number crunching for the G1 and both times I used VOW ratings. I would have included Dave's too if they were prompt but by the time they were published I could barely remember some of the matches.
Between VOW, Bauer and Pollock, Squared Circle Gazette and Sheet Sandwich, along with all the podcast one efforts I have a great variety of media that I don't pay a penny for, but it's not the money anyway, it's whether it appeals to you. I don't know how much money Bryan must have spent on improving audio quality over the years but with losing Todd Martin, Coughlin, Tough Talk and regular F4W guests the customers have sure paid for it in content. And does Bix talk about ANYTHING that isn't court/legal based?
Last edited by timmah on Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JonnyBart
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by JonnyBart » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:58 pm

My main take away from this thread is that Alan should join up with VOW, start a pay site, and you all can start bringing home the cash. I won't even charge for the idea.

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rovert
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by rovert » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:55 pm

The Powerslam Magazine comparison is a very good one, timmah.

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MOJO
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by MOJO » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:37 pm

I'd let my sub lapse for a year before I came back last month. Sub from last month ran out today and I'm not renewing.

Also, it's kind of funny that the fact that Bryan doesn't actually know anything is just now becoming a topic of conversation.

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arogers86
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by arogers86 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:48 pm

I have no idea if it's still worth paying for, and I have a month to figure out what I'm going to do. Mostly podcasts for me are a lot of background noise at work, so there's some value in that for me, at least. I can live without the Observer because any big news will be reported by any number of wrestling sites out there shortly after it's posted.

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timmah
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by timmah » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:08 pm

rovert wrote:The Powerslam Magazine comparison is a very good one, timmah.
Thanks Rovert. Fantastic avatar.

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MOJO
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Re: F4W/Observer-Is it still worth paying for?

Post by MOJO » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:42 pm

I really haven't listened to the podcasts on the website on a regular basis since 2009. I really don't need to hear two or three reviews of TV shows that I watched with my own eyes. Bryan actually HOT TAKE'd on me passive aggressively all the way back in about late 08 or early 09 on one of the shows because I said in a thread that the Bryan and Vinny show where they reviewed Raw was pointless because all they did was go through the motions and didn't care.

In a world where we've got the podcasts on this site and the PWO-PTBN podcasts, I can't see the value of the shows on that site at all.

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