Two and a half years ago, Daily Variety, the big Hollywood trade magazine, basically ceded the entire online world to its main competitor, The Hollywood Reporter, by putting up a paywall
. At the time, it bizarrely claimed that doing so would mean it wouldn't have to cover "gossip, half-truths and anonymous rants." Apparently, you have to do that sort of thing if you don't have a paywall. Who knew? Of course, the reality was that, over the past few years, The Hollywood Reporter has established itself as a massive online presence with quality reporting, while Daily Variety basically became an also-ran that no one cared about anymore... leading to its recent sale. The new owners have announced that the paywall will be coming down
, and reporters there were thrilled:
Many Variety reporters and editors have been frustrated that their content is less read online than that of competitors such as the Hollywood Reporter and Penske-owned Deadline, in part because it is only available to paying subscribers.
Attendees at the meeting in Variety's mid-Wilshire Boulevard office applauded when Penske said he would remove the publication's digital paywall.
It appears the reporters there recognize that relevance is kind of important in the media business -- and charging too much for information that your competitors are delivering (often in a better format) for free just isn't a way to remain relevant.