Showbiz Sandbox 167: The Digital Age Crushes Variety

October 15, 2012


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”.


Charles Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ Film To Hit Theaters November 2015

Stan Lee Media Sues Disney For Billions Over Marvel Characters,0,638971.story

Superman Heir Pens Letter to Fans About Fight With Warner Bros.

Pandora and Artist Payments

Digital Radio: Why Mumford & Sons’ Paycheck From Pandora Matters

Have We Lost 41 Percent Of Our Musicians? Depends On How You (RIAA) Count

Louis C.K. Puts FX Show On Hiatus

Google Scanning is Fair Use Says Judge

Gray Gardens: Broadcast Audience Older Than Ever

Trade Sales Rose 13% In January-June Period, AAP Says

CNN’s Creation Of Film Unit Is Step In Right Direction,0,3541244.story

Amazon to Launch SVOD Service in France

BBC Begins UltraViolet Streaming Access for DVDs

‘The Hobbit’: New Zealand Releases Tolkien Themed Currency, Stamps

Why Nikki Finke Got Variety (And It’s a Happy Ending)

Variety: Pay Wall Going, Print Staying, Penske Says,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.