Main Site Blog Help

Approaching Two Years

So I notice the most recent lesson was posted almost two years ago. I know that there are approaching 5000 lessons here, so anyone starting out won’t exactly run out of material in the short term. I came here mostly because the podcast (which is still airing re-runs of their lessons) and decided the transcripts and whatever other material was probably worth a sub.

I tend to do my study offline that way I am not limited by lack of access to the internet and have actually dumped my ChinesePod archive (150gb) onto a tablet which is pretty limited in its functionality (intentionally) strictly keeping it for learning materials and I usually keep it in airplane mode and offline so I can focus on learning without distractions. I have everything I need on it now.

But I get the impression that ChinesePod is done creating further content, which admittedly is kind of sad but there are over 4500 lessons that will cover a LOT more than you would ever get out of an HSK based course. Going through all the old lessons I have seen that there were literal waves of educators that have come through here, cut their teeth, and are now doing other Chinese Language Educational stuff after their tenure. Which is pretty impressive!

The current owners of ChinesePod (it’s changed hands a few times I seem to understand) seem to be content enough to just let the site be… as long as they can keep the site up and the content capable of being accessible, that’s enough for them. It’s probably too costly to do a new wave of content right now anyways, even if the content was to return to the roots of audio based lessons. Still a little sad though as it approaches 2 years without new content… but that’s how it goes I guess. Ill keep checking just in case to see if anything new gets posted, but I get the impression my subscription will run it’s course before that happens.


Can you please tell me how to download all the content? I didn’t realize that was possible.

1 Like

On each lesson there is a download tab… where there are links to download the audio of the lesson, the dialog usually, and a review track, along with the notes. then there are tabs for dialogue, vocabulary, grammar (not always), and expansion notes for extra practice (usually) I ‘print to pdf’ these tabs.

In the notes though you have the dialogue and vocabulary already… but the grammar and the expansion stuff is separate, so I just print to pdf those. These links and tabs are the content for that lesson only… and each file is separate, so you have to grab each one, and then grab the next lesson, etc. etc. But it’s there if you want to use it offline. You used to be able to download the video file too but soon after I joined they removed that link, probably because of the bandwidth. There is the audio of the video lesson linked to download on the downloads tab, so unless there’s something in the video that you need to ‘see’ to understand (and is not covered in the notes), only then just the audio be a detriment, but I haven’t seen that. Also I would say less than 20% of the lessons are video based (and then only from 2015 on, barring a few exceptions) as the majority are audio, which are I would say the best way to consume the content anyways. The notes are more than enough. All this is part of your subscription to ChinesePod, I am surprised you aren’t taking advantage of it.

The only issues one has with studying the material offline is that one won’t have access to a few functions, like vocabulary review (another way of saying flashcards), the dictionary, or the exercises (testing/quiz like function) offered. I personally use Anki (I make a flashcard deck per lesson, each of these are sub-decks of each ‘section’ so my Newbie ‘deck’ has 550 sub-decks with audio using AwesomeTTS), & Pleco for dictionary stuff. And I use these apps extensively, so the content I need from here I can download and use offline, I don’t need to be online for it.

1 Like

I agree that it’s disappointing that the site hasn’t added new content in so long. Of course there is a deep backlog, but to my thinking, the price to access the site is the same now as it was two years ago. That is to say, the original price people paid went to support not only maintaining existing content and the site, but also creating new content.

So where has that money been going for the past two years?

I sent an email about a related problem to Chinesepod, and received an answer from someone named Rachel Yu ( On March 21st, she wrote that they have people actively working on creating new content, and that she expected that content to be available in 1-2 months.

We’re one month in and not one peep. If May 24th rolls around with no updates, maybe someone can email her for a follow up. I’ll actually be in China on May 24th, and I imagine I’ll be too busy to remember to do it myself :slight_smile: .


Where the money has been going is probably server costs. I couldn’t guess as to how many currently active paying users there are on ChinesePod at the moment, so I couldn’t guess how much money they would have coming in monthly. But it’s likely not a lot because many people sign up for the yearly subscription, which is pricey but a one time a year thing. The server costs are monthly and based on usage. So they have to be paid. Rachel herself is likely to be paid especially if she’s maintaining the servers, like that video issue a few weeks back where all the videos went offline for a bit. I wondered if that was an invoice for the server hosting the video not being paid at the time. I noted that you used to be able to download the video when I first signed up… that’s not an option now… likely due to the cost of bandwidth.

Any new new content is quite a bit more expensive, matters the set up, equipment, and hosts, editing, and production. Which could range from a home podcasting setup to a full set for video (many here would prefer a return to the audio lessons, which is cheaper, but not without some cost) but then there’s a path for what to teach, how to teach it, the overall scripts even if it’s loosely scripted. The PDF materials in both simplified and traditional… everything adds up. Matters which route they choose but it would be many times the cost of just maintaining the servers.

But new material could potentially bring in old and new users and so there would be a influx of cash for the investment of work on new material… say 50 new lessons across all the levels each level seeing a release once a week, but overall a lesson every day to every other day… that would be around two or months of material… and might be worthwhile if people sign up to get it, but it is a gamble…

I would welcome the new material, but I am skeptical if that’s going to happen before my subscription runs out in July, its expensive. If something does come about I will renew, if not, it’s unlikely. I understand how costly that can be to regularly produce new content, but without new content, the user base dwindles and thus the revenues, and there’s too many fixed costs that go up year over year if you don’t do anything, so I really hope they do.

This not an uncommon dilemma with various sites online unfortunately.

1 Like

That explanation sounds perfectly reasonable. Unfortunately, due to the lack of transparency from ChinesePod, we can’t know for sure. It’s always going to be a bit confusing and concerning to users if a company provides the same service (regular new content) for over 10 years, and then one day they just…stop providing that service with no explanation.

We’ve also had people claiming to represent the company chime in on the forum for the past year or so, always promising that “new content is coming soon” only for nothing to materialize. We’ll see if this time is any different.

1 Like