What Penske Could Do With Variety

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by Anne Thompson
September 25, 2012 6:18 PM
1 Comment
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Nikki Finke Jaime Hernandez, The New Yorker

I continue to be astonished that the LAT was willing to let Geoff Boucher leave for a senior writer gig at EW, which will continue to promote his stardom as he pursues several entrepreneurial opportunities on the side. The LAT has already seen a precipitous traffic drop since Boucher left The Hero Complex blog, from over 100K page views a day to under 12K. Various in-house folks will fill in at the blog. 

Meanwhile, word is that another media star, fresh-faced 18-year EW vet Dave Karger, an Oscar expert and frequent TV commentator, is heading over to Fandango to burnish his talking head credentials.

Compared to Variety, Deadline's operation is lean and mean in more ways than one. Finke fiercely pursues breaking news by punishing those who dare to take their stories elsewhere. She plays hardball with industry insiders in a way that the friendlier trades would never do. That's why she's an industry must-read. 

Will Penske put both brands under one bigger roof? 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.

Buying Variety does present one possible solution to Penske's ongoing dilemma: how to keep Finke's online hard news goldmine going while not alienating potential ad buyers for softer features and Oscar print issues? He could divide the two entities so that Finke's Deadline is an online breaking news operation while Variety would function 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. Freed from paywall prison, Variety's huge online archives would add to the mix as well.

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1 Comment

  • Jeremy Tren | September 25, 2012 7:54 PMReply

    It will never happen, but I wish sone of the Variety staffers would address this notion that their leadership spent YEARS ignoring, snubbing or just plain making fun of "bloggers" ... only now to (possibly) be consumed by a company that's built on them. Aren't they mad that management didn't do anything to compete? Aren't they pissed that nobody looked out for them during the transition of major media? Yes, some very talented people are there. But shouldn't their "parents" have taken better care of their future?

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