Reader Report Card
Issue: Volume: 26 Issue: 9 (September 2003)

Reader Report Card

Exactly one year ago, the team at Computer Graphics World decided to chart a new course for the magazine. Our mission would be to address the needs of digital content professionals in the entertainment markets—including film, TV, digital video, gaming, the Web, and graphic arts—rather than those in the computer-aided design and manufacturing industries.

Since then, we gathered a good deal of anecdotal support for that decision. But we figured it was time to see what kind of grades we would get from a wider cross section of readers. So last month, we sent a survey to some 20,000 subscribers and tallied the first 1000 responses. What this reader report card shows is that we are on track in most areas but that we need to tweak our coverage in others. Here is a summary of the results as well as a preview of some changes planned for the months ahead.

The first question asked how the change is being received. We found that nearly 80 percent like the new material but want more of it. Of the rest, nearly 20 percent like the new look but miss the CAD/CAM stories, and 2 percent don't like the new direction. Given this feedback, we will continue to focus on entertainment projects and add new sections to the magazine, not only to better serve readers, but also to reflect the greater use and sharing of tools, techniques, and assets across all entertainment fields.

Another question asked what types of stories readers like to see. A majority (55 percent) say they like the current mix of product and application stories. But some 40 percent want more of the application-style articles—namely, those showing how people use various digital tools to create and produce graphics, effects, animation, and video. Meanwhile, 5 percent want more product stories.

The percentage of those who prefer more user stories seemed surprising, considering that the same group chose our Technology stories as their favorite section of the magazine and the Spotlight on Products as their second favorite section. But it did correlate overall, considering that the next six most popular sections—Art Studio, User Focus, Film Features, 3D on the Web Features, Broadcast/Digital Video Features, and Viewpoint on Film—were all application-oriented.

Moreover, the preference for more application stories seemed to match the profile of the audience, 60 percent of whom are in the creative side of the business, with titles such as artist, animator, visual effects supervisor, director, producer, and so on. Meanwhile, another 20 percent are primarily engaged in technical tasks, while the rest serve in management functions.

Lastly, when we asked which type of products should receive more coverage, the top vote-getters are modeling, rendering, and animation programs. In second place are compositing, layering, and effects systems. And in third are digital video editing systems. These results verified a trend that became clear in previous surveys, namely that the worlds of computer graphics and digital video technologies are converging. To that end, starting next month, we will be adding a new department devoted to examining digital video projects and products from the content creator's point of view.

If it seems that we're taking these survey results seriously, that's certainly true. Our success is ultimately measured by how well we serve your needs. Thanks to all who participated in the survey. We welcome your input at any time. —The Editors