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Summary of site status for 2018

Christian Clemmensen
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(pertinacity.filmtracks.com)
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Summary of site status for 2018   Sunday, January 20, 2019 (10:06 a.m.) 

2018 Summary of the Reviews:
--------------------------------------------------------

Overall review production for 2018 was on target, surveying all of the major blockbuster scores as dictated by box office returns. It was the fourth consecutive year, however, in which there was a break in coverage of at least a couple of months during the fall season. While September and October are typically slow months for major new films and noteworthy soundtracks, real-life circumstances continue to interfere at Filmtracks during this time each year, yielding a typical burst of new coverage to close out the year.

Despite the annual slowdown at Filmtracks in autumn, the site exceeded its overall review goals for 2018. New reviews of 2018 and late 2017 scores totaled 35, matching the goal for all-new reviews for the year. No all-new reviews of older scores debuted during that time, a continued source of disappointment. As with prior years, all re-writes during 2018 involved adding newly released albums to existing reviews, and 33 of these were done in the year, exceeding the goal of 30. Some of the re-writes included covering albums from earlier in the decade that were previously missed. Together, 68 reviews were written or re-written in the year, up from 56 in 2017 and exceeding the goal of 65.

While it has always been the goal of Filmtracks to publish 100 "touched" reviews (new reviews plus updated reviews) in any calendar year, the site's historical averages from the past five years are proving this benchmark to be unrealistic. Each year, some real-life event causes a prolonged pause in the reviewing, and in 2018 such interference came from a switch of day job in January and a move of the family to a new home in July and August. For 2019, the site will maintain the same goals as those from 2017 and 2018; no optional reviews of older scores will be attempted. It is less likely there will be an extended review outage in 2019.


By the numbers:

2018 Goals:
--------------------------------------
New Reviews of New Albums: 35
New Reviews of Old Albums: 0
Re-Writes: 30

2018 Final Stats:
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New Reviews of New Albums: 35
New Reviews of Old Albums: 0
Re-Writes: 33

2019 Goals:
--------------------------------------
New Reviews of New Albums: 35
New Reviews of Old Albums: 0
Re-Writes: 30


2018 Summary of the Overall Site:
--------------------------------------------------------

Since the major redesign and software overhaul the site of 2015, Filmtracks has enjoyed the stability resulting from those upgrades, though a list of potential alterations is beginning to emerge for the next generation of the site. Improving the server efficiency of the Scoreboard Forum's software requires the most attention, with planning for another archiving of a period of the time on the board looming. Rearrangement of the Filmtracks Awards section is also a priority. Otherwise, expect no structural updates to the site, as participation levels of the readership remain consistent in the current designs.

Revenue declines became a pressing issue late in 2018, however, and the site failed to cover its basic operational costs for several months in a row. The relationship between new coverage and revenue is not intuitive, as the most popular legacy reviews at Filmtracks continue to earn the site the majority of its earnings. Traditional advertisement methods, including commissions on product sales, are simply no longer working, and revenue tanked as the site refused to employ pop-overs, motion ads, and other techniques most content sites utilize. Strategizing the addition of these intrusive placements remains under consideration.

The readers of Filmtracks responded to a call for donations in December, however, and they salvaged the site's balance sheet in the final calendar quarter. I am extremely grateful to everyone for this remarkable generosity, especially as it carried over into January of 2019. Until the site's revenue streams can be tweaked, whether through the current layouts or all-new ones, reader donations will continue to play an important role in ensuring that the site can meet its basic server, accounting, and other costs. These expenditures have been reduced as much as possible, despite traffic levels that have remained consistent for years.

Another remaining challenge to the site is the bulk of optional expenditures relating to album purchases for coverage. While most soundtrack specialty labels supply the site with the newly expanded products featured in updated reviews, one major label decided to cease supplying products to the site for review consideration two years ago. Since Filmtracks strives to cover all new albums for scores already reviewed at the site, the purchasing of this label's expensive products for coverage has badly strained an already limited purchasing budget. Expect extended lapses in coverage for some re-releases, and, unfortunately, a few of them may be neglected for years.

It's difficult to project how 2019 will transpire for the site, as a number of real-life issues, including the construction of a permanent office for the site, remain in a semi-permanent state of limbo. That limbo may stretch on for the entire year, so perhaps Filmtracks will enjoy a period of relatively calm consistency. As always, I thank the longtime readers for their continued support and encouragement. Your humor and good spirits on the Scoreboard, your inspiring e-mails, and your financial donations all keep me focused on the positive impact that Filmtracks has on our genre and community.

Best wishes to all in 2019,

Christian



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The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.