On the heels of last week’s well publicized dismissals of two prominent film critics, The New York Times wonders if classic trade publishing, as practiced by Variety and its younger rival, The Hollywood Reporter, can survive these tough times.
“Having something that is valuable enough to pay for is the trick,” said Martin Kaplan, the director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of entertainment and society at the University of Southern California.
“Traditionally, the trades have offered gossip, casting announcements, advance reviews and hopefully a little news,” he said. “Go through that list and ask what’s left. It’s all widely available elsewhere.”
But putting out exclusive and compelling content is far from the only problem.
Movie and television companies have been slashing their advertising budgets, sometimes in half, or worse. Paramount Pictures, for one, did not buy a single print ad in Variety for “Up in the Air,” which had six Oscar nominations. As recently as last year, it was routine to support contenders with a string of ads in Variety, with a cost totaling $1.2 million or more.