Daily Variety, which began publishing 80 years ago, in 1933, will publish its last print edition on March 18, 2013, reports its sibling publication, Deadline.com. (Deadline owner Penske Media Corp. bought Variety last fall.)
The article, by Deadline founder Nikki Finke, is surprising in its negative frankness about its now sibling publication, though the tone is a not unusual in articles by Finke. For example, Finke writes, "[Jay] Penske’s idea is to transform Variety into a thumb-sucking weekly about the entertainment business, leaving breaking news coverage to Deadline Hollywood." It is doubtful that either Penske or those at Variety would characterize that publication, as Finke does, as a "thumb-sucking weekly."
Variety also will continue its daily online presence, and, as of March 1, 2013, will no longer be behind a pay firewall.
Besides having a print daily Monday-Friday for the last 80 years, Variety has had a weekly print edition for the past 108 years. Variety will have a new weekly print edition, starting March 26, 2013, to be published on Tuesdays. Weekly variety has been published on Sundays. So now there will be just one print edition of Variety.
Writes Finke: "A few reporters/editors already have left or were canned this month. Needless to say, editorial morale at the entertainment trade is at its lowest ebb and anxiety is running sky high. As a source told me earlier, ‘There is complete editorial disorganization from the top down.’ Even worse, advertising is nonexistant and readers few and far between. Penske’s idea is to transform Variety into a thumb-sucking weekly about the entertainment business, leaving breaking news coverage to Deadline Hollywood. But both media already do and still will feature commentary and analysis. Penske announced on October 9th that he bought the once $200 million-valued trade, reportedly for the fire-sale price of $25 million after my Deadline Hollywood pretty much put it out of business. Financing for the Variety deal was provided by Third Point, a hedge fund founded by mega-investor Daniel S. Loeb. Variety is being maintained as a separate profit center outside Penske Media Corp."
Finke also notes that Variety announced "that it needs no fewer than 3 editors-in-chief to try to save the beleaguered trade, which is moving to a once-a-week print edition instead of a daily. Two of the newly named chiefs are from inside, Cynthia Littleton and Andrew Wallenstein, and one is from outside, Claudia Eller from the Los Angeles Times who used to work at Variety. They’ll oversee coverage of television, digital content, and film respectively."
Finke also says some negative things about current Variety editor Tim Gray, who will be taking on different responsibilities for Variety.