Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

What lifestyle brand businesses are most like Penny Arcade, in other industries?

ElfWordElfWord Registered User regular
edited February 2014 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm looking for businesses comparable to Penny Arcade -- lifestyle brands with a large audience, built on commentary and community, monetized through ads, merchandise, & events. What ones are out there, outside the gaming industry? Can you think of good examples in sports, tech, food, entertainment industries?

Star Wars fan, Battlestar crewman, Fantastic GM. Frequent lurker, occasional adventurer.
Awesome android RPGs are made by my friends; check them out.
ElfWord on

Posts

  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    PA is a lifestyle thing now?? Not sure I agree with your description.

    To try and answer you: HuffPo? Jezebel? Boing Boing?

    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • ElfWordElfWord Registered User regular
    Absolutely. Not "Penny Arcade lifestyle", but gamer lifestyle. The comic, PAX, the forums, the merch (the pins, ahhhhhh, for god's sake the pinssssss) -- it's a business built on connecting with people who identify as gamers, and want to show it / live it.

    HuffPo, Jezebel, and Boing Boing are more straight-up media companies. They serve some specific audiences, but no one's going to buy Huffington Post t-shirts or fly across the country for a Jezebel conference.

    Appreciate the suggestions, though.

    Star Wars fan, Battlestar crewman, Fantastic GM. Frequent lurker, occasional adventurer.
    Awesome android RPGs are made by my friends; check them out.
  • GizzyGizzy <- girl PhoenixRegistered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Threadless?

    Edit: Oh you said outside the gaming/nerdy stuff? Uhh like cat fancy? Hahaha

    Gizzy on
    3DS Friend Code 3282-2248-0453
    Gizzy's Amazon Xmas Wishlist
  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    I'd say Ravelry might be a good example of what you're talking about. It's a community for crotcheters and knitters (aka "fiber artists").

    They have merchandise and forums, as well as a mechanism for members to sell their patterns.

    Fuck Firearm Fetishism
    86 45
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Ravelry is a good example of this because their group format allows meetup type groups to coordinate lots of in-person events, too. The owners of the site are less like the personas Gabe and Tycho have cultivated but their Boston terrier is the mascot of the site and they even have enamel pins of him, iirc...

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    I don't know what "lifestyle" you'd associate with it, but The Chive is kind of a big deal from what I hear

    maybe frat-bro-after-college is a lifestyle?

    it fits the other criteria though. licensed shirts, stickers, beer; organized meet-ups; free but supported by ads

    this was a pretty good article on how the business end of things works there

    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    maybe stuff like crossfit or tough mudder?

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
    a5ehren
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    ElfWord wrote: »
    I'm looking for businesses comparable to Penny Arcade -- lifestyle brands with a large audience, built on commentary and community, monetized through ads, merchandise, & events. What ones are out there, outside the gaming industry? Can you think of good examples in sports, tech, food, entertainment industries?

    Interesting question. I'll take a swing and say that some aspects of ESPN have a similar business model.

    The non-sporting-events TV network programming itself being "the comic" and "the newspost", obviously supplemented through ads, merch, etc.


    Really any editorial outlet that has a following of the outlet itself as opposed to the thing it's describing. There are people who become fans of ESPN rather than sports... much like how there are Penny Arcade readers who probably like PA more than they do the game industry.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    also if you're defining 'lifestyle business' that broadly, isn't like every pro or college sports league an example?

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Pirate4x4, Teton Gravity Research and NASIOC come to mind. Really any enthusiast community.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    the thing that makes it hard to make comparisons is that the primary aspect of Penny Arcade is that it's really about two guys who hold court over everything.

    that's a uniquely internet-y thing, whereas traditional lifestyle/culture movements tend to take the form of traditional media... TV networks.. magazines... things like Forbes, Esquire, GQ come to mind... these are cultural pillars for some people, but it's not just two guys pulling the string, it's an editor who oversees a group of contributors

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Jasconius wrote: »
    the thing that makes it hard to make comparisons is that the primary aspect of Penny Arcade is that it's really about two guys who hold court over everything.

    that's a uniquely internet-y thing, whereas traditional lifestyle/culture movements tend to take the form of traditional media... TV networks.. magazines... things like Forbes, Esquire, GQ come to mind... these are cultural pillars for some people, but it's not just two guys pulling the string, it's an editor who oversees a group of contributors

    And of course it's worth noting that Penny Arcade experimented with the idea of moving towards more of a traditional model, with content from a lot of differ contributors (more PATV series, Ben Kuchera writing the Penny Arcade Report)...and then pretty decisively rejected it by scrapping all of that at the end of 2013.

    Not that there's anything wrong with them doing that, I think it just underscores how different PA is from any "brands" which might seem somewhat comparable.

    Gaslight on
    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • ElfWordElfWord Registered User regular
    Appreciate the suggestions everyone.

    I'm definitely thinking of size as an important factor ( @Eat it You Nasty Pig.@Jasconius‌ ). ESPN and sports leagues have a ton of staff that put them at a very different level. I'd like to find examples where people have built a brand with relatively little content compared to other business. PA was built on three comics a week, and even though they now have the show, the podcasts, other comics, and more, it's still way less than a business like Game Informer or Kotaku.

    I think @Jasconius said it really well, one of the distinguishing factors is that PA is an "editorial outlet that has a following of the outlet itself as opposed to the thing it's describing". Something else that clicked for me was remembering someone describing how PA was an embodiment of the lifestyle they were representing.

    @schuss Do you know / can you tell me any more about how the business of those communities work, or what aspects of them stand out / hook you in? Particularly Teton Gravity Research; it seems like a closer match, being a content producer, vs just being a community host.

    @knitdan @tapeslinger Ravelry definitely has the community, but do they publish any content?

    @AresProphet Thanks for the article!

    Penny Arcade's so unique it's hard to even identify all the features that make it what it is, but the more suggestions people make the more clear some of them become. Appreciate any other ideas for brands "most similar" to Penny Arcade, outside the gaming industry.

    Star Wars fan, Battlestar crewman, Fantastic GM. Frequent lurker, occasional adventurer.
    Awesome android RPGs are made by my friends; check them out.
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    Another good example would be the television show Top Gear

    LaPuzza
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Pirate4x4 started much like penny arcade - just some dudes who liked wheeling putting together a place that people ended up congregating. Now there's a cottage industry of shirts/merch etc. and meetups.

    TGR make ski movies, and were the recipients of a community migration from powder magazine after they destroyed a bunch of forum archives. It's now basically the place to go for freeskiing/extreme skiing, as most pros at least lurk there. Newschoolers occupies a similar space for jibbers (flippy-spinny park people)

    Why are you looking for this stuff, research?

  • ElfWordElfWord Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    @schuss‌ I love entrepreneurship and I'd like to make it more accessible to others. I'm in Boston where there are a ton of startup folks pursuing high-growth tech businesses, which is something that a lot of my friends just can't connect with. When you see PA's "the series", I think it's much easier to look at that and say, "I'd love to have a business like that". I'd like to find more examples of businesses like PA, so I can better model how it works / how to do it.

    Just to pre-emptively clarify, not looking for examples of people making just enough to support themselves. There are plenty of known models for creatives / thinkers / makers to do that. What's missing, as I see it, are non-agency models for them to build something that's bigger than themselves, without changing from being a creator into being a manufacturer.

    ElfWord on
    Star Wars fan, Battlestar crewman, Fantastic GM. Frequent lurker, occasional adventurer.
    Awesome android RPGs are made by my friends; check them out.
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Yeah, if you start in tech niches, there's a lot of samples around content producers (anandtech, toms hardware) that engender communities supporting them, which snowball from there to create additional influence for the "brand" or site. You generally find a few core sites or communities for every enthusiast genre.

    Off-roading - pirate4x4, jeepamerica (I think, it's been a while), Expedition Portal
    Skiing - TGR, Newschoolers, EpicSki
    Climbing - SuperTopo, Mountain Project
    Bicycling - MTBR, Ridemonkey, Pinkbike

    There aren't a ton where the creators express their voices to push into new territory though, as typically they're just stewards and have enough to deal with just running the site. TGR is somewhat close, as it's spawned a few ski companies (PMGear, ON3P), but the site owners are mostly along for the ride. I'd say the Maker community may be a good fit for that sort of thing, with the maker faires etc.

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Ravelry is a platform for a lot of content but more of it is user generated - - fiber arts blogging from the owners, but also offers a platform for pattern publishing and photo galleries of complete and in-progress projects, for example. I would say it is similar in that products are reviewed and so on.... I agree with jasconius that you are unlikely to see a totally similar platform outside of pa considering how organically the company has grown.

  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    Offbeat Bride (and its spin offs, Offbeat Home, Offbeat Family, Offbeat Empire): It originally grew out of a book with the same name, but now has several blogs, an online community, and wedding expo events all over the U.S. and it still has the founder's personality stamped all over it. Unlike PA, their community tends to turn over more frequently since people eventually have their weddings and move on in life. However, their Offbeat Empire spinoff is geared towards wedding industry professionals, and the founder has written a few interesting blog posts on balancing the interests of her community and her advertisers.

    ElfWord
  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    I'd say Giantbomb.com, a videogame website that is personality based, does a ton of fan interaction, makes money of subscriptions for premium content. They have been bought by CBS though.

    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
  • juggerbotjuggerbot Registered User regular
    The Frogpants Network sounds like something you're looking for. It was pretty much started by Scott Johnson, beginning with his web comic, My Extra Life. From there he started a podcast, Extra Life Radio, and later started other podcasts each focused on specific topics. At this point there are probably a half dozen podcasts he's involved in, and he also hosts an annual convention in Salt Lake City called Nerdtacular.

  • fightinfilipinofightinfilipino Angry as Hell CharlottesvilleRegistered User regular
    GoPro. absolutely.

    i'm unsure on the actual size of the userbase, but their business is based in large part on selling the "action" lifestyle, filming said lifestyle, and then promoting the videos through youtube, their own channel, other social media sites, social networking, etc. etc.

    ffNewSig.png
    steam | Dokkan: 868846562
Sign In or Register to comment.