Variety, the near 110-year-old trade publication for the entertainment industry, announced Tuesday its intention to kill off the daily print edition and tear down the website's three-year-old paywall. It also has three new editors-in-chief.
The titan trade is trading-up to a new-style future on Mar. 26 with the debut of a now once-per-week, touchy-feely, Tuesday print edition. The paywall drops Mar. 1 in conjunction with the launch of a redesigned website.
Jay Penske, chairman and CEO of Penske Media Corp., Variety's parent company, called the paywall an "interesting experiment that didn't work." He and publisher Michelle Sobrino named Claudia Eller (film), Cynthia Littleton (television) and Andrew Wallenstein (digital) as the new editors-in-chief, according to the formal announcement. Acting editor-in-chief and 31-year Variety veteran Tim Gray, "remains in a leadership role," Penske said in a statement.
Eller is a new arrival from the Los Angeles Times; Littleton has been at Variety for a while; and Wallenstein is also a newer arrival. Both Littleton and Wallerstein put in time at Variety's chief rival, the Hollywood Reporter, which reinvented itself as a glossy weekly under editor Janice Min.
Variety originated as an entertainment trade mag covering the 1905 New York vaudeville scene, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Some of its inventive, shorthand "slanguage" has seeped into the general population while much of it remains nearly indecipherable.
Penske acquired Variety for a mere $25 million (it had been valued as a high as $300 million in recent memory).
—Matt DeBord contributed to this report