Cybercultural update (survey results, schedule change & more)

Hi folks,

I have a few updates to share, including the reader survey results and advising of a change to the publishing schedule.

Firstly, I’ve decided to postpone the introduction of paid subscriptions. I had planned to launch that on 1 July, but I think the content and its format still needs more work. My goal is to make the newsletter financially sustainable, which means it must be something a certain percentage of readers are willing to pay a reasonable amount for. I’m not quite there yet, so I’ll continue making the newsletter free for another couple of months.

On that note, I will be reverting to a once-a-week schedule for now. The reader survey I conducted suggested that most of my current readers would prefer 1-2 emails per week. So weekly delivery seems appropriate at this point. I’ll continue to experiment with the format of the email, and I’ll also be doing a lot of work in the background to enhance the data sets I’m working with. My ultimate goal is to give as much value as possible to paid subscribers, when I flick that switch.

Some highlights from the reader survey

Thank you to everyone who participated in the reader survey I ran over the past several days. The feedback was very helpful to me. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 28% of you said the content is “highly relevant to me” (5 stars); a further 36% gave it 4 stars. The weighted average was 3.9, so that tells me most of you enjoy the content. That’s encouraging, although my aim is to give paid subscribers 5-star content - so I have a bit of work to do!

  • You mostly want me to cover tech trends and digital strategy, followed by marketing/audience and interviews. Not as many readers expressed interest in sales/distribution or product reviews.

  • You said you want more data journalism and graphs from me. This is something I’ll be working on over the next couple of months, with the intention of offering it to paid subscribers. There was also interest in an event calendar, podcasting and industry databases.

  • Many of my initial readership are experienced in the cultural industries; 45% of respondents have worked in (or with) the cultural industries for more than ten years.

  • What you’d pay… I won’t go into specifics here, but in summary only about a quarter of you would be willing to pay at a level I need to make this a financially viable business. That feedback told me I have work to do, to add more value to the newsletter and to entice more of you to pay for it. That’s on me, so I’ll be working hard on this over the next couple of months.

Thanks everyone for your initial support for Cybercultural. The goal that I originally laid out in May hasn’t changed:

Cybercultural is a newsletter focused on the intersection of technology and the cultural industries, written by longtime digital journalist Richard MacManus.

My goal is to make Cybercultural a must-read daily newsletter for people who work in the cultural and creative industries, or at a tech company that intersects with those industries in any way.

But clearly I have work to do to get to the point where paid subscriptions is viable.

While I do that work, I hope you continue to enjoy the weekly newsletter. The next edition will hit your inbox next week.

Please keep the feedback coming as well. You can email me anytime by clicking the ‘reply’ button in your inbox, or pinging me on Twitter @ricmac.