Friday, February 1, 2008

Genealogy video workshop survey

I just participated in a Family Tree Magazine survey about Genealogy Video Workshops. The questions asked (and my responses) were:

1. Have you ever taken a genealogy class via online video? If yes, what type of class and how was it offered? I put "Yes" and entered "a) The FTM 2008 and AncestryPress videos offered by - watch the presentation, hear the voices, communicate by email. b) Many videos at Roots Television of classes - but not participating in the class."

2. What topics would be of interest to you in a genealogy class via online video? (Please rate all that apply). Choices were Very Interesting, Somewhat Interesting and Not Interesting.

* Internet research - "Very"
* Identifying and preserving family photographs - "Somewhat"
* Cemetery research - "Very"
* Foreign/ethnic research, such as German, British or American Indian genealogy - "Very"
* Civil War or Revolutionary War research - "Very"
* Finding and using basic records such as censuses, vital records, wills -'Very"
* Genealogy in specific US states or regions - "Very"
* Oral history - "Somewhat"
* Genetic genealogy - "Somewhat"
* Getting organized - "Somewhat"
* Other (please specify) - I listed "Newspapers, Immigration and Naturalization."

3. What skill level best describes you? Choices were Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Professional. I put "Advanced"

4. What would be most helpful to see in an online genealogy video? (Please rate all that apply). Choices were Very Helpful, Somewhat Helpful, Not Helpful.

* Advice from an expert in the class topic - "Very"
* Step-by-step demonstrations of computer or Internet techniques - "Very"
* How to use a particular Web site or software program - "Very"
* Virtual tours of libraries, archives and research repositories - Somewhat"
* Explanations of research methods/techniques - Very"
* Range of the above - "somewhat"
* Other (please specify)

5. What would interest you most: paying for video workshops on a per-class basis or buying a package that gives you access to multiple videos for a year? I put "Pay per class."

6. What would influence your decision to purchase a specific online video? Choices were Very Important, somewhat Important and Not Important.

* The featured expert - "Somewhat"
* The topic or focus of the video - "Very"
* The format (demonstrations vs. lecture-style) - "Very"
* The price - "Somewhat"

7. How much would you expect to pay for one 45-minute class? Choices were $5-10, $11-15, $16-20, $21-25. I put "$5 to 10" (naturally)

8. How much would you expect to pay for a package of five videos? Choices were $20, $30, $40 and $50. I chose $30 (cheap guy, eh? Hey, I'm retired).

Isn't that interesting? I'm wondering if Family Tree Magazine is planning on offering Online Video classes with special deals for those with a subscription? Or offering a subscription to the magazine if someone signs up for a number of video workshops?

There is probably a market for relatively cheap online video workshops if they are "on-demand" - essentially a lecture/demonstration format with no instant interaction (perhaps an email contact). Being able to select 10 or 20 videos from a national conference and see what you missed, for a price, is really attractive to me. Of course, that could lead to a virtual conference, I guess, where groups in different locations could sit together and watch a presentation from afar (which is already being done by some presenters for some societies, I understand); or where a number of presentations are made on video and individuals can watch them at their leisure at home.

There may not be as much of a market for an interactive "connect at this specific time" format due to personal scheduling issues. Perhaps a blend would work, like what Ancestry did with their FTM2008 and AncestryPress tutorials - offer the tutorial live with interaction, then archive it and make it available for others to view/hear without interaction. Of course, Ancestry was selling a specific product each time and was using the video as a sales promotion.

Just my opinions, for which I hope I don't become logophagous (look it up).

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