Weekly Wrap-Up, 21-27 Sep 2019

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:


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.