So, thanks to some good leads from the lovely people at Fflic (almost all of whom are called Ffion), I’ve got a chat tomorrow with a video production guy to talk about filming the test run that Ali and Phil will be doing with their Spanish – and to find out if we can actually afford to bring in the professionals!
I can’t remember if I’ve talked about this before or not, but what we’re hoping to do with the video is give casual visitors a strong enough reason to register for the site for us to be able to afford some advertising – we have a rough idea what percentage will end up paying something, and we’re going to test giving a lot less material away for free with the Spanish course. If we can get to the stage of being able to afford advertising, then we should be able to invest a lot more, a lot more quickly, in producing materials for other lesser-used languages.
I’m still a bit conflicted about not giving the whole first course away for free (because I think a world where anyone can learn any language to the point of being able to survive in that language, without having to pay, would be a better world) – but we’re just not seeing any real growth from giving the Spanish away for free. It’s too noisy out there, too many other courses.
But if we can establish a sustainable way to advertise and sell the Spanish course, then we’ll be able to look into ways to make sure that we give it away for free to anyone who can’t afford it. I’m thinking at the moment that we can strike deals with universities and schools (along the lines of them giving us a link, and us making the courses available for free to all their students) and maybe having some kind of scholarship application form. I’d be very grateful for any other good ideas about how to make sure that a paid-for course can give free access to people who can’t otherwise afford it.
In other news, we’re not all that far away from looking for some guinea pigs to help us test out some new Welsh material – we’re thinking in terms of two intense days, with 20 sessions (perhaps spread over 3 actual days, about 48 hours, as Jen did with Course 3) – I’ve got a couple of sessions left to record, and then we need to get Catrin’s voice done, and then import the voice files (which is my least favourite part of the entire SSi experience!).
I hate doing the importing so much that it always slows me down a bit when I get to that point – but I’m looking forward so much to doing our first test weekends with the new Welsh material that I might even not slow down when I’ve got the voices ready to input. Well, perhaps…;-)
I realised today that I don’t think I’ve mentioned the work being done on the apps – of course, we’ve had Andrew’s superb iOS app out and available for ages, and have been delaying him from getting going on a Spanish one because we haven’t got a final definite system in place for how we’re going to market/sell the Spanish course. Once we’ve got the video done, though, we should be ready to carry on moving in the iOS app world again…:-)
And in the meantime James is galloping ahead with the Android app, with the help of a bundle of enthusiastic testers, and it sounds as though we’re very close to being able to release that into the wild…:-) And then once we’ve got the issues about structure/fees sorted out, we’ll be able to move on to Spanish and other languages with the Android app too.
Both Andrew and James have been incredibly kind to build so much for us as a gift – I’m really hoping that we’ll see some decent income from the apps for larger languages so that we’ll be able to share a proper thank you for all their work…:-)