Variety's pay-wall will create opportunity for bloggers

by Paul William Tenny

If DHD's report that Variety is going behind a pay wall next year are accurate, then both Nikki and Hollywood Reporter should be very happy with this news, and frankly every blog that spends even a moderate amount of time posting links to Variety should also be pretty upbeat about this.

Variety is the largest of the three online properties, reaching about 500k people per month on average in the U.S., and probably a lot more globally. THR, being Variety's natural online and offline competitor, stands to gain the most in audience shifts with Variety essentially throwing in the towel. But blogs like DHD may have a easier time of it and in the end may gain more from it relative to what they are doing right now, because they can actually do something about all of this.

The main reason this will hurt Variety is that there's nothing to stop bloggers from subscribing to their site so they can write posts containing a condensed form of the factual news, which is essentially what they've been doing all along. Only now for people aren't interested in paying for it, they'll have one less place to get the news they want, increasing the value of the free alternatives. If VAR takes a day to write a 600 word story on studio X hiring director Y for project Z, while paying someone a real salary to do it, a blog like this one can write a post containing those facts in 200 words, and do it faster and cheaper.

Only now there wont be any links driving traffic back to Variety anymore, and that's their own fault. That's failure by design.

THR can't quite do that because they aren't a blog, they are an industry competitor with all the trappings that come with being a physical business playing in the online world. But real blogs wont have that problem, because they don't even have that problem now.

Whatever news Variety tries to lock behind a pay wall will get out in minutes on Twitter and then within an hour on the blogs. That's just the reality of the connected world we live in. Shortly after VAR jumps off that cliff, THR will easily surpass them in traffic, the new recipient to links from blogs at first, but then the blogs will try to fill that void themselves. Whatever increased revenue VAR finds in subscriptions online will probably not offset new losses from telling the Internet to go screw itself.

This isn't the Wall Street Journal we're talking about, this isn't a paper that people can benefit from financially by subscribing to it like an information service. Variety is an entertainment venue more than anything.

There has never been a better time to be an entertainment blog right now that's looking to do news, to fill the voids being created by dying print media organizations like Variety. This is going to be really fun to watch.
in Business, Internet


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