You might not know the man, but you sure know his work.
Please welcome Chris Benson, the mastermind behind the Pittsburgh-based Benstonium viral video factory, to our full-time staff as multimedia director and ... well, whatever it is he wants to be with us. Because that's what you do with talents like this.
For anyone who doesn't know of Benstonium, I could either show you this ...
... or just send you to the dude's page, which is so much more messed up than anything up there from the video he did to introduce our sites' partnership in 2015. He's the real deal, with 400-plus viral videos and 50 million-plus views.
Chris is born in Jeannette, raised in Carnegie, taught at Pitt, and he's worked for media companies across Pittsburgh as well some of the nation's largest outlets. But now he's stuck with us and, actually, he's been with us for a couple weeks now. (This was the second staff addition to which I hinted in this space a week ago.) We'd just been waiting for the right time to announce it, and Site Stuff wound up feeling perfect.
What will Chris do for us?
Well, again, that's kind of up to him. But at the foundation, he'll oversee DK Sports Radio, Morning Java, all our video and audio content and, more in the Benstonium vein, he'll contribute to our Random Fun Thing each Wednesday, as well as some promotional initiatives. He's capable of a whole lot.
This site's always been about trying to do stuff a little differently, which is why we were thrilled to hook up with Benstonium in the first place. Having him under our roof now is just amazing. Even if we have zero idea what to expect.
OUR BUSY OFFICE
One of many nice things about having Chris around is that we've all been in our Highmark Stadium offices a bit more of late, though it's more of an in-and-out thing based on Java or Radio need. No one on our staff other than Chris works in the office regularly, so it's not like we punch clocks or something. But it's a pretty neat place, as you might have seen and, speaking only for myself, I've really enjoyed it over there all week:
[caption id="attachment_441596" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Office. - DEJAN KOVACEVIC / DKPS[/caption]
Can't imagine why, huh?
We're bringing a little regularity to our Random Fun Thing feature, maybe you've noticed. Every Tuesday, it's a new Cartoon Canon from Rob Ullman. Every Friday, it's a new Favorites and Likes social media collection from Taylor Haase. And now, every Wednesday, it's Benstonium.
We'll leave the other two days free in case Audrey Snyder shows up in a corn field in Iowa and stuff like that.
Here's a weird number: Our Pitt and Penn State coverage -- combined -- comprises 7.3 percent of our total traffic on the site. And that's this month, when both football teams are in season and one of them is top-five in the nation.
I've really got nothing to add here, other than that Audrey and Lance Lysowski are doing exceptional work on these beats, and we've given both schools bigger play than ever out on the home page.
Kind of a bummer.
THOSE NEW 99-CENTERS
In the 24 days since we started offering those 99-cent subscriptions for the first month, we've sold 214, including 12 in the past week.
To all of you newbies, welcome! We'll try our best to keep you!
As your month nears its end, you can simply let your subscription move into a $3.99/month mode or move into a less expensive longer-term plan. You can do that now, actually. No need to wait. Tap My Account in the menu, then tap Upgrade Subscription.
THOSE ORIGINAL LUNATICS
Tracking our renewal rate among the Original Lunatics -- meaning the 1,388 readers who bought a three-year subscription at any point in 2014 -- is important enough for us that it's now a staple of Site Stuff:
• We’ve already had 680 of those 1,388 renew, or 49 percent.
• Of the 680 who renewed, 96 upgraded to Lifetime.
• We’re at a 71 percent renewal rate for the 829 who have already reached their expiration date, meaning 589 renewed. This number is way higher than the 50 percent we had forecast, and we’ll be — very pleasantly — surprised if it stays that high.
If you're one of those Originals and need instructions on renewing, tap right here.
ALWAYS BE UPDATING
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BACK TO BUSINESS
• Subscriptions are at 39,582. That's a net loss of 203 this week. Revenue was still quite good because of a strong renewal week, but the loss in this area obviously isn't ideal. We'll work that much harder to bounce back and finally break through 40K. Been kind of spinning our wheels on this once since late July.
• We're at 341 in the Lifetime Lunatic category, with six sold this week. If you're interested in upgrading to any level at any time for any reason, click or tap My Account in the menu, then click or tap Upgrade Subscription. You don't need to wait until your current subscription expires.
• We're at 35,373 total active apps in devices. Of that, 26,398 are Apple, 8,971 are Android.
• On our official company social media accounts, we're at 27,847 on Twitter, 26,643 on Facebook, 8,357 on Instagram. Taylor's asking for help: She wants us to get to 10,000 on Instagram because, once we reach that, she can use that platform to greater benefit for our site.
• We had 175,996 downloads of our DK Sports Radio podcasts for the past month, an average of 5,865 per day. Additionally, we had 142,293 listens -- with 31,475 unique users -- on our new livestream broadcast.
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