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.
TCG Buys Majority Stake in Food52 for $83 Million 🍲
“The convergence of content and commerce is a growing trend, particularly in the direct-to-commerce (DTC) retail industry. What better way to build an audience organically for your product than to hook them first with media content they can get passionate about.”
New York Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief on sale to Vox 📰
Unintended consequences of the shift from third-party to first-party cookies 💰
“[…] this won’t stop Google and Facebook tracking you across other websites if you’re logged into their identity systems (which many of us are, practically all the time).”
Minecraft Earth "couldn't have been made two years ago" 🎮
Fortnite US July revenues down 52% year-over-year 🎮
“While 52% is a big drop, online games tend to have [seasonal] peaks and troughs in revenue.”
Comics in the Age of Streaming 🦸
Dotdash acquires Liquor.com 🥃
“Liquor is almost an ideal product range to build a media + e-commerce business around, since many of us rely on expert recommendations on what to buy (for wine, whisky, and so on).”
Content recommendation companies Outbrain and Taboola merge 💰
Best Reader Feedback 🗣️
I’m currently running a three-part series on audio vs text, about the rise of podcasts and audiobooks. This week’s feature article was a deep dive into audiobooks, including a look at the latest statistics and trends.
I came across a thread on LinkedIn this week about the series, started by Elizabeth McLean. One of her connections, Kirsten J. Smith, made this interesting comment:
“I'm a podcast junkie, especially filling the space when doing routine tasks like housework and walks. Most of the content is current affairs, history and long form true crime investigations. Reading this piece made me think back to the last true crime book I read and it was probably more than a decade ago. (The Innocent Man by John Grisham, the only Grisham book I've ever read). MacManus is definitely right when he says some genres are better suited to the audio experience.”
In a follow-up, I asked Kirsten if she listens to any crime fiction by audiobook? She said not really, that she tends to go for “non fiction with lots of history.” With that said, if any Cybercultural readers do listen to fiction podcasts then I’d love to know.
Weekend reads 🍹
A selection of culture-tech stories that are worth perusing on your smartphone this weekend, while you lean back and binge Netflix:
Before the internet broke my attention span I read books compulsively. Now, it takes willpower; by Josephine Tovey (Personally I find surrounding noise and tired eyes to be more of a distraction, but I know what Josephine means…) 📚
When The Culture Wars Was About Your Aesthetic Taste; by Cosmo Landesman, via ArtsJournal (Ah, the good old days when aesthetics trumped ideology.) ⚔️
How BBC News creates new content verticals; by Lucinda Southern (Key quote: “Climate used to be a bit of a turn-off for audiences, but now we can frame it in a way where we can mitigate against the worst effects.”) 🗞️
‘If we want to build value in this industry, we have to tell the real stories of how music is made.’; by Rhian Jones (part of MBW’s Inspiring Women series, profiling female executives who have risen through the ranks of the business.) 🎹
Why the middle ground is killing magazines; by Carla Buzasi (Key quote: “Twitter wasn’t the replacement for magazines. Despite headlines at the time, bloggers weren’t either. Instagram is, but not for the reasons lots of people think.”) 📱
One More Thing 🙋
Josh Spector is someone I’ve gotten to know on Twitter this year. He offers consistently great tips on how to use social media and newsletters to grow audiences. So, like the good blogger that I always hope to be, I’m returning the link favour here 👇
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.