TrainMasters TV versus Model Railroader Video Plus
Here at TrainMasters TV (TMTV), we don’t spend a lot of time looking at what the competition is doing – namely at Model Railroader Video Plus (MRVP). We prefer to focus on making our video content as good as it can be and to produce videos on topics we have a passion about and feel modelers really want. As for the competition, we don’t try to counter anything they might be doing.
We do get a few comments and questions about how TMTV compares to MRVP from time-to-time. We also see comments online by some who don’t seem to be very good at math – comments that claim TMTV costs several times more per month than MRVP.
To help everyone compare apples-to-apples, we’ve put together a side-by-side price comparison of TMTV to MRVP, and you can read through the price comparison here.
I won’t repeat the findings here, but suffice it to say, TMTV is very price competitive to MRVP. TMTV often costs less per month.
For this blog post, I’d like to compare the softer-side of TMTV versus MRVP – how our video production philosophies differ. Naturally, this kind of comparison will be rather subjective, and I will be the first to admit there's some bias. But here goes.
First, I note that MRVP doesn’t display run times on their videos, while we do. Second, I notice MRVP doesn’t do aggregate rating on the videos (you need to scroll through all the comments to find any ratings), while we do a single aggregate rating right on the video. We both do allow comments.
MRVP’s philosophy seems to be to cover more topics with shorter videos and the lack of run time on their videos helps mask the shortness of their videos. Many videos on MRVP’s site have a run time of less than 7 minutes and more than a few videos run only 2-3 minutes. The TMTV site has a name for the really short videos: we call them previews. (Interestingly, MRVP doesn't do previews, while TMTV does. With such short videos being common, you can see why they don't do previews.)
It's no secret that MRVP (and Kalmbach in general) caters more to the beginner / intermediate modelers, while TMTV aims more at the intermediate / advanced modelers. It’s good to see someone covering the quick general topics on video for beginners, and Kalmbach’s niche has been to cover the introductory topics really well in the last couple decades. However, that’s not ever been MRH’s focus, nor has it been TMTV’s approach either, as a part of the MRH Media family.
For TMTV, we prefer to cover a topic thoroughly, giving it meaty information to go with the nice video footage. We rarely do “runby” videos where you just watch the trains run and get little-to-no commentary about what you’re seeing. When we do a layout, we want you to get inside the builder/owner’s head and to understand what makes them tick. We feel that depth gives you the best handle on how to incorporate those ideas into your own modeling.
MRVP also includes video footage of them being a bit silly (out-takes being a prime example) or traveling somewhere (walking down hallways seems to be a favorite). At TMTV, we prefer to keep it more professional and to cut to the chase rather than force you to watch footage of us walking through the office or footage of us parading our less-than-best moments past you.
That said, we do try to be real and have fun while we’re sticking to business. Witness Lionel’s clever quips, Miles' quick-witted comebacks, and Trevor’s off-hand but clever remarks.
Finally, there’s the house-organ feel that MRVP exhibits, as compared to TMTV’s focus of showing you more of the hobby-at-large. Either one is not bad, but they are quite different.
MRVP aims to make the MR Staff the experts, and they devote maybe 20% of their video footage to what we would call “house ads”. They’re promoting their products and they’re positioning their own staff as the go-to hobby experts that you need to be following.
As for TMTV, we prefer to focus on bringing in expert guests from the hobby at large, people who are known to be skilled in the hobby but who are not MRH Staff. We also run almost no house ads because we prefer to maximize the helpful content you’re getting rather than make you pay to watch house advertising.
Again, the different approaches are neither good nor bad, but they are very different.
If you prefer quick, short how-to videos on intermediate-to-beginner topics that may include some cutesy moments, trains running with no commentary, and a few eye-rolling out-takes, then MRVP is just the ticket. But if you prefer longer, more in-depth videos from around-the-hobby experts that stick to business yet still know how to be real and fun, then TMTV will be just what you’re looking for.
And there’s nothing that says you can’t elect to do both – and get the best of both worlds.