Showbiz Sandbox 167: The Digital Age Crushes Variety

Last week the venerable trade paper Variety, which has been covering the entertainment industry for more than 100 years, was sold to Penske Media Corporation for $25 million. Dana Harris, the editor-in-chief of Indiewire, spent 11 years at Variety and she joins us to discuss the past, present and future of a news outlet that has struggled to adapt in an online world.

Of course, the music world is quite familiar with how digital technology can disrupt existing markets. Digital radio pioneer Pandora is pushing legislation regarding the royalties they pay to artists. This past week they made public some the big checks they’ve been writing to individual musicians.

The royalties for a bunch of super heroes are also being disputed. Stan Lee Media is suing Marvel to get a cut of all that “Avengers” money and the daughter of Superman creator Jerry Seigel is duking it out with Warner Bros. over copyright claims.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including a break for Louis CK, CNN gets into the documentary film business, and how New Zealand is literally minting money for “The Hobbit”.

Play

Charles Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ Film To Hit Theaters November 2015
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/charles-schulzs-peanuts-film-hit-377412

Stan Lee Media Sues Disney For Billions Over Marvel Characters
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-stan-lee-disney-lawsuit-20121010,0,638971.story

Superman Heir Pens Letter to Fans About Fight With Warner Bros.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/superman-heir-pens-letter-fans-378793

Pandora and Artist Payments
http://blog.pandora.com/pandora/archives/2012/10/pandora-and-art.html

Digital Radio: Why Mumford & Sons’ Paycheck From Pandora Matters
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/why-mumford-sons-pandora-paycheck-378188

Have We Lost 41 Percent Of Our Musicians? Depends On How You (RIAA) Count
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/have-we-lost-41-percent-of-our-musicians-depends-on-how-you-the-riaa-count/

Louis C.K. Puts FX Show On Hiatus
http://www.adweek.com/news/television/louis-ck-puts-fx-show-hiatus-144334

Google Scanning is Fair Use Says Judge
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/54321-in-hathitrust-ruling-judge-says-google-scanning-is-fair-use.html

Gray Gardens: Broadcast Audience Older Than Ever
http://www.adweek.com/news/television/gray-gardens-broadcast-audience-older-ever-144348

Trade Sales Rose 13% In January-June Period, AAP Says
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/54372-trade-sales-rose-13-in-january-june-period-aap-says.html

CNN’s Creation Of Film Unit Is Step In Right Direction
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-cnn-films-20121008,0,3541244.story

Amazon to Launch SVOD Service in France
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/amazon-launch-svod-service-france-377805

BBC Begins UltraViolet Streaming Access for DVDs
http://paidcontent.org/2012/10/09/bbc-begins-ultraviolet-streaming-access-for-dvds/

‘The Hobbit’: New Zealand Releases Tolkien Themed Currency, Stamps
http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2012/10/10/the-hobbit-new-zealand-releases-tolkien-themed-currency-stamps/#/0

Why Nikki Finke Got Variety (And It’s a Happy Ending)
http://www.indiewire.com/article/editorial-soldja-why-nikki-finke-got-variety-and-its-a-happy-ending

Variety: Pay Wall Going, Print Staying, Penske Says
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-variety-penske-20121011,0,3096284.story

  • Mgiltz

    Paying $25 million for Variety seems awfully low. But on the other hand, it’s a lot for just a name, however venerable. Does venerable count in the digital age? Newsweek went digital and put up a paywall. Variety will surely dump Daily Variety and tear down its paywall. Conclusion? They’re both lost and don’t know what to do.