The nut graf in the LAT update on the status of one of Hollywood’s premiere trade publications:
But its key misstep seems to have come in 2010 — a year after Bart left the top editor’s post — when it put up an online pay wall. That took the paper out of the breaking news game, allowing Deadline, which was already beating the trade to innumerable scoops, to fill the void. Folks in town got into the habit of going to Deadline and other free online sources for news
I stopped linking to Variety about two and a half years ago because of that paywall. And I’m sure a lot of other people did as well.
But let’s be clear here: Variety – and THR along with it – still features some of the best writing about the industry that’s out there. While it may be losing the web traffic battle, something that undoubtedly comes from the paywall decision, the quality of the material being produced is heads and shoulders above most of the blogs and news sites that have risen from its ashes. It’s just too bad it put an impediment in the way of people reading it and didn’t adapt more quickly to the publishing needs of the current environment.