Penske Buys Variety for $25 Million UPDATED

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by Anne Thompson
October 9, 2012 12:14 PM
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Bonnie Fuller, Jay Penske

To stay afloat as recession ad revenues plummeted, Variety slashed its most expensive name columnists and critics (including me) in favor of cheaper less-known writers and print support staff as it went behind an unforgiving pay wall and continued to churn out five print dailies plus one weekly edition. Compared to Variety, Deadline's operation is lean. The economies of scale that Finke lives by are one reason she is so successful. Variety has no clue how to function the way she does.

Will Penske eventually put both brands under one bigger roof? I still see an advantage to dividing the two entities so that Finke's Deadline is an online breaking news operation while Variety functions as a softer print trade revenue producer, complete with Pete Hammond's awards mongering. Edited nuggets from the online content could add value to a weekly print edition.

UPDATE: Variety assets that Penske is buying include a massive ad sales operation and international news and reviewers around the world. What he will presuambly let go is the print daily, which would cause layoffs, although many would stay on board to manage a weekly edition. Steve Gaydos on the special features side --which is the source of Variety's millions--could be a pivotal player in the new order.

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