Daily Variety retires after 80 years

Another one bites the dust: Hollywood’s entertainment bible Daily Variety printed its last edition Tuesday after suffering from a lag in ad revenue and tough competition.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | March 21, 2013

However the publication will not disappear all together. Daily Variety plans to merge with its weekly sister publication, Variety, to form a new weekly printed edition that will debut on March 26. A new “beefed up” website debuted on March 1, eliminating the subscription-based paywall it had for four years.

Like its rival The Hollywood Reporter, the paper could not sustain its daily publication as advertising revenue came in at just $6 million last year, compared to $30 million in 2006. With its paywall, Variety lost readers to and The Hollywood Reporter.

“We were delivering a print product telling you stories you’ve already read on our website,” Publisher Michelle Sobrino said to the Los Angeles Times. “Financially it didn’t make sense.”

Associate Features Editor of Variety David S. Cohen wrote about changing times in the media and the publications that cover the media. Without a change to their formula, they “risked the guillotine.” He adds:

“The mobile Web revolution is also untethering audiences from the foundations of media business models: theater seats, living room couches, timeslots and commercial breaks. Like us, the businesses we cover will have to re-learn who their audience is and how to aggregate and monetize them.”

The changes to the website and new weekly followed the appointments of a new publisher, Michelle Sobrino, and a trio of new editors-in-chief earlier this year after Variety was sold to online publisher Jay Penske. Penske also owns Variety’s online competitor, Deadline Hollywood, which is more gossip news.

Variety was founded in 1905 in New York as a weekly publication covering the vaudeville circuit. Daily Variety launched in 1933 in Hollywood, to focus on Hollywood. Its unique brand of entertainment jargon, known as “slanguage,” has even crept into the wider popular vernacular after words like “sitcom” and “soap opera” originated in the pages of Variety.

The final issue devoted a dozen pages to a retrospective of Daily Variety, including its coverage on WWII, Communism, and 9/11.

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