The last page of posts inspired me to write down some criticism, tried to be as fair and polite as possible, but long post incoming.
What I perceive as the main problems EZA had during its first year:
1 - Technical stuff.
2 - Too many streams compared to produced shows.
3 - Not enough video editors to keep up with content creators.
4 - Too insular.
5 - Lacking general scheduling or consistency for some shows, needing more clarity about delays and works in progress.
6 - Big sponsorship woes.
If we look at it now:
1 - Honestly it's been since E3 that the technical side is perfect as far as I'm concerned. I'd say they finally conquered the tech problems. OK
2 - The streams are still abundant but they've clearly taken a set back: we have much more reviews now and streams are usually put on hold when something more important has to be done. I'd say they currently have a nice balance of produced stuff versus live. OK
3 - Jones reiterated many times that they simply lacked the editing manpower and brought up more than once how the other Allies needed to learn how to produce their own shows. Sadly almost nothing came out of it. Ben edited Tales from the East, but that's it I think. Huge missed opportunity, both for the group and for the singular members who would have added a nice skill to their resume. So Jones is still swamped with editorial and voice over duties and they still don't have the budget to hire external help. KO
4 - We're still there: the Patreon has grown but the problem is that it's mostly the same people upping their pledges, while the number of new people grows very slowly and doesn't relate to the growth in earnings (they've actually lost about 300 patrons since E3). That's why they've just gone back 5-6k in their Patreon in a bunch of months, upped pledges hold only for a set time before going back to a more sustainable level. Collabs would help spread the word about them, but after talking about it for a year and a half, they still have to do anything of real substance with other outlets. KO
5 - Cup of Jones, Community Comments, Game Sleuth, and Retros being the worst offenders.
- Jones's show changed scheduling and personaliity so many times that people were bound to lose interest, which is bad for what's supposed to be the 1$ incentive. Weekly, monthly, whenever it's done, bi-weekly, whenever it's done again: doesn't inspire confidence, why should I back at that level. Also it's sometimes a Q&A + editorial, other times just editorial, or a visual tour without any previous warning: I don't mind that but it's not a good look for new patrons, who don't know what to expect. Jones said this year Cup of Jones would have fetured him having a talk with each ally, nothing came out of it, now it's going to be a stream and weekly again... too much confusion, pick an idea you're comfortable with and keep it up. PENDING
- Community Comments are soooo behind I wonder why people still pledge at that level. I don't mind them and I always watch them, but they should really begin wondering if it's worth it to keep them up or not. At least discussing if changing the format into a more sustainable one is possible. KO
- Game Sleuth and Retros are a mess (not quality-wise of course). They were one of the main drives at the beginning, and they still are prominent goals, yet they seriously underdelivered on those. They were supposed to get the fans involved, to give us more insight into their production but none of that happened. Two retros and four Game Sleuths in a year and a half aren't a good look, especially now that there are countless YouTube channels doing retros or long form analysis and that DYKG is a juggernaut, too much time has passed and many old GT fans of both shows were probably lost in the process. KO
- One thing I find bothersome as a whole about EZA is the "shadowdrop culture", I'd much prefer to have constant status updates and sneak peaks about Game Sleuth, Retros, Box Peek than to be "surprised" when suddenly they're ready. In fact all three shows were supposed to be more "open" during their development but quickly moved to "I prefer to surprise you with the final product", and that is due to Jones, Damiani and Kyle wanting that "shadowdrop". That can be cool, but doesn't promote your product: imagine launching a big AAA game with no marketing! Their high production values shows should have a general schedule (nothing too strict, but at least something like 1 retro each six months, 4 GS per year, etc.) and be promoted more through updates, so that people know they're working on it and up their anticipation. KO
- Delays happen, it's to be expected, they just need to be clearly communicated and not left up into the air, the audience should never be left wondering where is show X or Y. EZA has got much better at this, aside from few instances. OK
6 - Another thing Jones has mentioned quite a few times but hasn't gone anywhere yet, not as big an issue as the others though. He said there have been talks about bigger sponsorships (possibly encompassing all shows?) but nothing materialized. The one sponsorship they tried with Hoeg Law for Trailer Score sort of backfired, because by having the show funded from what basically was an external source, yet doing it through Patreon, the patrons didn't feel the urge to uphold their pledges anymore, even though we were almost there, because the numbers were "artifcially" boosted to 46k. Frame Trap finally adding sponsors is great, but they should've gone the Podcast route and increase the spots slowly as the demand increased, instead of dropping 9 sponsor slots in one go, which aren't going to be filled for a loooong time. KO