Another Failed Paywall Bites The Dust; Daily Variety Goes Free

from the so-much-for-that-plan dept

Two and a half years ago, Daily Variety, the big Hollywood trade magazine, basically ceded the entire online world to its main competitor, The Hollywood Reporter, by putting up a paywall. At the time, it bizarrely claimed that doing so would mean it wouldn’t have to cover “gossip, half-truths and anonymous rants.” Apparently, you have to do that sort of thing if you don’t have a paywall. Who knew? Of course, the reality was that, over the past few years, The Hollywood Reporter has established itself as a massive online presence with quality reporting, while Daily Variety basically became an also-ran that no one cared about anymore… leading to its recent sale. The new owners have announced that the paywall will be coming down, and reporters there were thrilled:


Many Variety reporters and editors have been frustrated that their content is less read online than that of competitors such as the Hollywood Reporter and Penske-owned Deadline, in part because it is only available to paying subscribers.

Attendees at the meeting in Variety’s mid-Wilshire Boulevard office applauded when Penske said he would remove the publication’s digital paywall.

It appears the reporters there recognize that relevance is kind of important in the media business — and charging too much for information that your competitors are delivering (often in a better format) for free just isn’t a way to remain relevant.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Another Failed Paywall Bites The Dust; Daily Variety Goes Free”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
18 Comments
fogbugzdsays:

My concern is that the DV will continue its decline after removing the paywall. The paywall has already done its job by chasing former readers and writers to the competition. Users still have it blocked in news aggregators because the don’t like browsing into paywalls. Good reporting might save the Daily Variety, but now it has to rebuild in a crowded market.

Anonymoussays:

I love that the paywall has proven it’s lack of worth. Whenever I run into one, a few minutes of searching on the net turns up something similar without having to bother with the paywall. They have the right to charge for access to their site; just don’t expect the walls to be beaten down by those wanting access.

Like with the entertainment businesses they are finding out not giving the market what it wants, the way it wants it, doesn’t come out to make a winner. Trolls trying their dangest to disrupt the community as they comment is mere proof that the industry is reeling from it’s own disasters. As long as they don’t want to seek a new method of business, it is my hope to see them go bankrupt, taking the trolls down the drain with them.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Actually, this paywall didn’t work because it was very much a hard paywall, and didn’t really serve to fix anything for them. There are plenty of free sources for the same information online, and those sources are original and self-supporting (think TMZ as an example for gossip, and box office mojo for the numbers and such).

They forgot that what they were doing wasn’t unique.

Now, on the other hand, newspaper paywalls (especially soft ones) do seem to be working out so far. How do you address that?

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. I don’t know, and don’t really care.

I do know that paywalls stop me from reading news articles. Not because of the cost, but because of the hassle. I’m not going to create an account on any but a tiny fraction of sites I go to, free or not.

However, I’m not anti-paywall at all and can think of several types of straight news sites I would pay for if they existed (but they don’t). I even have an account, and pay cash money for a subscription, here on TechDirt despite the fact that I could read everything anonymously and for free.

anonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Those pay-walls that are “working ” are normally sites that have got there regular readers to pay. It is the people that subscribed to have the newspaper delivered every day and for people stuck in the rut of only reading a few specific newspapers.

For the majority of people , who probably hardly ever paid for a subscription , one site is not enough, people these days want different opinions on a story and they want comments which a lot of the bigger newspapers do not allow.

So yes the pay-walls are working in a small way but overall the Internet will eventually teach those people subscribing that the same or even better news sources are only a click away and they are free.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Good points, and I tend to agree.

I think though it’s worth pointing out that successful “paywalls” are about on par with successful alternate music business models. There are good ones and poor ones, winners and losers. So while there is plenty of praise here for the rare successful music business model, there is nothing but scorn for subscription services. It’s really too bad, because subscription services appear to have some legs.

Ninjasays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think the most successful paywalls in the long term will be the ones that rely on exclusivity. I’m not sure how to make them work but it is worth noticing that you’ll need quality free content to make people crave for that exclusivity. Also, I think there are other ways to monetize on your free content.

Ninjasays:

I think that monetizing directly over their content by restricting access is simply not feasible anymore. They should focus on different approaches all the time relying on old good advertising (but neither too intrusive nor in huge amounts). I thought of some ideas:

– A Flattr like approach where people can chip cents to the stories they find worth and the journalists (and their crew) that are worth it.
– A patronage system where people would chip in whatever amount they felt like per month to sponsor their favorite writers.
– A community driven forum allowing anonymous postings for the discussion of articles and stuff happening around the world.
– A Techdirt style “insider” badge with which people would get direct access to their favorite journalists and get to take a peek in what they are working.

It should be noted that providing raw news that something happened is fairly easy, the hard part is what journalism is: to investigate what lead to what happened, what’s behind the scenes, giving good, comprehensive analysis.. For that I will fork a few dollars yes.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Report this ad??|??Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
12:25 Australian Privacy Commissioner Says 7-Eleven Broke Privacy Laws By Scanning Customers' Faces At Survey Kiosks (6)
10:50 Missouri Governor Doubles Down On 'View Source' Hacking Claim; PAC Now Fundraising Over This Bizarrely Stupid Claim (45)
10:45 Daily Deal: The All-in-One Microsoft, Cybersecurity, And Python Exam Prep Training Bundle (0)
09:43 Want To Understand Why U.S. Broadband Sucks? Look At Frontier Communications In Wisconsin, West Virginia (8)
05:36 Massachusetts College Decides Criticizing The Chinese Government Is Hate Speech, Suspends Conservative Student Group (71)
19:57 Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well (21)
16:07 Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment (15)
13:37 Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites (21)
12:19 Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate (158)
10:55 Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones (8)
10:50 Daily Deal: The MacOS 11 Course (0)
07:55 Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit (11)
02:51 Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is) (100)
19:51 Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible (26)
16:12 Content Moderation Case Studies: Snapchat Disables GIPHY Integration After Racist 'Sticker' Is Discovered (2018) (11)
13:54 Arlo Makes Live Customer Service A Luxury Option (8)
12:05 Delta Proudly Announces Its Participation In The DHS's Expanded Biometric Collection Program (5)
11:03 LinkedIn (Mostly) Exits China, Citing Escalating Demands For Censorship (14)
10:57 Daily Deal: The Python, Git, And YAML Bundle (0)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
06:41 Report: Client-Side Scanning Is An Insecure Nightmare Just Waiting To Be Exploited By Governments (35)
20:38 MLB In Talks To Offer Streaming For All Teams' Home Games In-Market Even Without A Cable Subscription (10)
15:55 Appeals Court Says Couple's Lawsuit Over Bogus Vehicle Forfeiture Can Continue (15)
13:30 Techdirt Podcast Episode 301: Scarcity, Abundance & NFTs (0)
12:03 Hollywood Is Betting On Filtering Mandates, But Working Copyright Algorithms Simply Don't Exist (66)
10:45 Introducing The Techdirt Insider Discord (4)
10:40 Daily Deal: The Dynamic 2021 DevOps Training Bundle (0)
09:29 Criminalizing Teens' Google Searches Is Just How The UK's Anti-Cybercrime Programs Roll (19)
06:29 Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink (41)
20:51 Copyright Law Discriminating Against The Blind Finally Struck Down By Court In South Africa (7)
More arrow