Variety Peeks Out From Behind the Paywall – News Blog to Debut

Exclusive: The trade, behind a paywall for more than a year, decides it wants people to know when it breaks stories

Variety will take a step out from behind its paywall next Tuesday by launching a breaking news blog, TheWrap has learned.

The move to launch a blog, to be mainly written by the trade’s new film editor Josh Dickey with film reporters Justin Kroll and Jeff Sneider, suggests that the trade recognizes it needs to offer some free content to stay relevant.

According to a knowledgeable individual, the blog will mainly feature casting and deal news, an important focus for the trade.

Variety has been behind a paywall since December 2009 as publisher Neil Stiles focused on saving the daily print product at the expense of online news.

It has been a costly decision. Erecting the paywall has demonstrably hurt the trade’s ability to remain relevant from a news perspective, especially with the rise of aggressive digital news organizations (including this one). The trade’s online traffic is no longer public, but is known to have plunged dramatically since then.

Variety has been struggling with declining advertising and readership in the past several years, and most of the trade’s experienced journalists were either laid off or fled to greener pastures in the past two years. Most recently television writer Mike Schneider left to TV Guide and veteran Dana Harris left to run IndieWire.

Of late, Stiles has made an effort at revitalizing the news side. (Mainly by hiring two journalists from TheWrap, including Dickey, this site’s former deputy editor.)

The news blog will be the first but possibly not the last news column with no paywall.