to Slash Freelance Budget

Comcast-owned site plans to drop writer rates “significantly” beginning in May

Moviefone isn’t the only film-focused site pulling back on its freelance budget. content manager Stacie Hougland recently issued a memo to freelancers warning them of a pending cut in pay rates.

“Starting in May we are dropping our rates significantly due to budget reasons,” Hougland wrote.

The new rates range from $25 per item (“casting news, DVD news, gossip, etc”) and $35 per “mini-feature” (“minimal research, 500-600 words”) to $75 per junket Q+A and $100 for photo feature. An e-mail to Hougland seeking further comment was not immediately returned.

I’ve been told the Comcast/Fandango-owned site must cut $100,000 from its freelance budget.

According to Quantcast estimates, averages about 576,200 unique visitors per month, down from 750,000 in September 2010. (Fandango averages 5.3 million.)
Here is Hougland’s memo in full:

Hi All,

Starting in May we are dropping our rates significantly due to budget reasons. We are also adding a news/features blog to which you’ll be welcome to contribute, more info on that to come but we’re aiming to add it to our site in May.

** If I have assigned you a story already for April/May, the previous rate will still apply. This is for new assignments.
** Contributors of regular columns, I will contact you individually
** This does not apply to movie reviews

Our new rates are as follows, for content already appearing on the site:
$100 = photo features/8 greats/set visits/other features – as assigned
$75 = Junket/Q&As (this is negotiable if you get a great exclusive)

New content to come, with the news blog:
$60-75= Ongoing regular/weekly column (feel free to pitch ideas)
$35= mini-features (minimal research, 500-600 words)
$25= news item (casting news, DVD news, gossip, etc)

Yes, it is unfortunate news, but the good side is we’re hoping to really ramp up the amount of content on the site, so there will be a lot of opportunity to contribute! (And I am currently looking for June/July ideas so if you’re still interested in writing for us, let me know.) Feel free to get in touch with any questions, too.