Welcome to the Weekly Wrap-up, a review of the week’s culture-tech coverage here on Cybercultural.
A Peek Behind The Paywall 🔓
First up, a list of news stories I wrote about this past week for paying subscribers. I’ve included some choice quotes from my takes.
Facebook unveils new Portal video chat, TV streaming devices 📹
“I’m also dubious about how many people will want to watch shows like Mindhunter or Succession live with their friends. Most prestige streaming TV is a lean-back experience […]”
Wattpad gets into print 📚
Pop's need for speed: 'You have to drop new stuff constantly' 🎹
“This is all part of the ‘feed’ era of cultural content, where new content must be injected into the feed on a regular basis in order to keep your profile up.”
Jack Conte, Patreon, and the plight of the creative class 💰
Spotify revamps app for artists; adds real-time listener stats 🎹
ESPN inks Facebook deal to bring exclusive content to Watch 📹
“Perhaps shifting this from the ESPN app to Facebook Watch will help with the interactivity part, since there’s no question Facebook is an expert in creating two-way engagement. But ESPN’s content will need a big improvement too.”
NYT calls for more fact-checking in books 📚
Google launches mobile gaming subscription service, Play Pass 🎮
“Google’s value proposition is that for $4.99 a month (matching Apple’s price), users can avoid per-game upfront costs, intrusive ads and in-app purchases in the 350 games available. Given these are factors that easily turn off casual gamers, this seems like a pretty good deal.”
Best Reader Feedback 🗣️
This week's free Cybercultural analysis looked at why audio formats (e.g. podcasts & audiobooks) are more popular in our culture today than text formats (e.g. blogs & print books).
One thing I didn’t note is that Amazon-owned Audible holds a dominant position in the audiobook market. And as Steven on Twitter pointed out, this means their prices are too darn high:
Weekend reads 🍹
A selection of culture-tech stories that are worth perusing on your smartphone this weekend, while you lean back and binge Netflix:
Why I Think Netflix Will End Up with 70 Million US Subscribers; EntertainmentStrategyGuy runs an excellent blog about the business of entertainment (he’s on Substack too), and I recommend you sign up. 📺
Journey Of A Track: Navigating The Playlist Ecosystem; Nuttiiya Seekhao of Chartmetric takes a close look at the mechanics of music streaming playlists. 🎹
What exactly is a newspaper edition in today’s digital age?; Twipe’s Mary-Katharine Phillips has a great analysis of “digital editions.” 🗞️
Cloud Gaming Is Positioned to Change the Games Business; Newzoo says that cloud gaming will be as disruptive as mobile gaming was. 🎮
One More Thing 🙋
One of the big news stories of the week was digital media whippersnapper Vox acquiring the middle-aged New York Magazine. As a Succession fan, I was tickled by this tweet in response:
That’s a wrap for this week on Cybercultural. If you want culture-tech news and analysis in your inbox four times a week, please consider subscribing (if you haven’t already). It’s just $7 per month or $70 per year. In addition to the extra content, you’ll become a valued member of a growing community of culture-tech fans.