Daily Variety: We're Putting In A Paywall So We Don't Have To Write About Gossip

from the pay-us-so-we-can-hire-a-proofreader dept

Andy Marx writes in to share a letter Daily Variety magazine sent to its subscribers, letting them know that it will soon be putting up a paywall, or as it prefers to call it, a “velvet rope”.

The reason for the switch is simple: There has been a boom in showbiz coverage, but much of it is hearsay and spin, making it hard for readers to separate rumors from truth. A lot of the “reporting” has become more sensational as many of our online peers have been lured by the notion of bringing in more consumer eyeballs (and, they hope, more ad money). At Variety, we are apologetically focused on people in the industry. Think of the paywall as a velvet rope, allowing you access to stories that have been confirmed by impartial sources and stories that will better inform you about the world you’re working in. Denied access behind the rope are items based on gossip, half-truths and anonymous rants.

So it would appear that publications face a choice: put up paywalls, or write about “gossip, half-truths and anonymous rants”. It’s really not clear what one has to do with the other; after all, Variety can write about whatever it wants, how it tries to charge for it is a completely separate matter. What’s really amusing though, is that Variety is basically trying to dress up its paywall as some guarantee of quality for readers. In essence, it’s saying “since we are charging for this, you know it must be good.” But when its full letter to subscribers contains seven typos, it looks like Variety is more interested in having the appearance of quality and authority than actually having quality content.

Filed Under:
Companies: daily variety

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Daily Variety: We're Putting In A Paywall So We Don't Have To Write About Gossip”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Big_Mike (profile) says:

That reminds me of a Sub-Contractor my dad used to use with a name like “Quality Construct” or something to the like. The guy did poor work on one of the jobs and my dad told him “Dude, Take the out of your name and put it in your work”

Some people will pay for that and if they follow through it might be worth it to pay. What would be nice is if they debunked rumors and half truths too, that would be worth it I think.

Comboman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

To be a little more charitable, what they’re saying is “To make money from advertising, we would need to appeal to the lowest common denominator to get the maximum number of page views. Instead, we have quality niche content which some people will be willing to pay for.” I don’t know if it will work for them, but it might. Variety is to the entertainment industry what the Wall Street Journal is to the financial industry. Sure, the average reader won’t pay for it, but they’re not really the target market, and the people in that market have lots of extra money to spend on subscription fees.

Anonymous Coward says:

they have created difference in the marketplace. they dont want to compete with tmz or perez hilton on tittay journalism. like the wsj they are a superior product intended for a better class of reader. cwf+rtb. they have fans and the rtb is to get what you cannot get on rumor sites. the masnick hates paywalls so much he cant see his own logic at work.

RD says:


“they have fans and the rtb is to get what you cannot get on rumor sites. the masnick hates paywalls so much he cant see his own logic at work.”

Then you really dont understand cwf+rtb or the principle behind it. a paywall is NOT A REASON TO BUY. There is no “reason” in that for the person paying for it. Its just a misguided attempt at a money-grab and control. This is NOT a rtb.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Don't Agree With Mike Entirely

When Mike writes, “Variety is more interested in having the appearance of quality and authority…”

I would argue that that might be enough. What they are trying to do is just manage perception in the marketplace. If they can get their audience to believe that the velvet rope section is higher quality content – THAT CAN’T BE FOUND thus written arranged and edited in other rags, then that is a Reason to Buy.

And by also offering the open section, they still capture the eyeballs and readership that unlocked content attracts.

And it doesn’t even matter if it’s true or not, so long as they create the perception of quality, some people will pay to get in. Just like Monster cable can charge more for the same copper.

Mike’s arguments against paywalls usually rely on the fact that the content can be found for free, elsewhere – and everyone knows it. Well, what if they create the perception that it cannot?

I’m not saying they will succeed, but Monster cable sure has. As have most other luxury brands that sell occasionally better goods at vastly inflated prices.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...