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Thompson Strikes Out on Her Own, With IndieWire Support

Anne Thompson has become the latest journalist to branch out and become an entrepreneur.

She has signed up with Rick Allen, the CEO of SnagFilms and IndieWire, to promote and sell advertising on the Thompson on Hollywood blog, which will be dropped from the Variety.com platform on July 31.

Thompson will own and run the blog independently, though it will be promoted on IndieWire, according to knowledgeable individuals.

Allen has been pursuing a roll-up strategy led by the well-liked Eugene Hernandez’s independent movie news site.

Thompson and Allen both declined to comment for this story.  “Talking about business models is not something I want to embark on at this point,” said Allen on Thursday.

Thompson was laid off from Variety in January — on the very day that TheWrap was launched (a day when she blogged about TheWrap’s launch — though not very favorably). 

Variety will be carrying her blog until the end of July, and like many idled Hollywood journalists Thompson has been seeking a place to land. With both trades cutting back severely, those places have been near-impossible to find.

In many ways it’s a riskier but bolder move for Thompson to branch out on independently.

If she is successful and can attract significant traffic — a task in which IndieWire’s infrastructure can help — the site will earn money.

Perhaps she’s hoping to mimic the success of single-blogger Nikki Finke, who just sold her outfit to Jay Penske for what was reported here as a $14 million overall deal (and which certainly involves a seven-figure upfront fee).

Otherwise, the math is not great. Finke was earning a hefty salary in her deal with the LA Weekly, rather than earning a share of ad sales.

If Thompson can build her blog to half the size of Finke’s — something more than 100,000 uniques per month — and that is monetized at a $6 cpm, at two ads per page and sold-out inventory, that would mean $1,200 per month. Presuming she shares that revenue 50-50 with Allen, that’s still only $600 a month.  (All you folks should check my math. And it should be noted that Oscar-season bloggers such as David Poland currently garner a small fraction of Finke’s traffic.)

Still, if Thompson gets ads for the Oscar season, those would be sold at premium prices. And there may be green in them thar hills.