Saturday, March 24, 2012

Would You Buy Variety?

The venerable show biz trade paper, Variety, is up for sale. Further proof of print media struggling in the digital age, the publication that has been synonymous with Hollywood deals and glamour is finding it hard to compete for the eyeballs of the public and is looking for new ownership to keep it alive.

I still believe that Variety is a good brand. It is one of the last bastions of solid, journalistic film criticism in a sea of online reporting where seemingly everyone is a critic. Variety's long history is notable, chronicling movies, moguls, and stars through the decades. Its shorthand headlines have added phrases to pop culture vocabulary, such as "boffo box office." In the right hands, Variety can still survive and maybe even thrive.

My recommendation would be for them to eliminate the daily print version and build up its online presence intead.  With new editorial leadership, I think Variety can be an interesting, more mainstream weekly glossy magazine (similar to what the revamped Hollywood Reporter is doing), but the trick is to not view digital media as the enemy.

Let's wait and see if anyone takes a gamble and invests in Variety. It would be a shame to see it die.

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