Web-Based Penske Media Buys Century-Old Publication Variety

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The web claims a historic print publication.

Penske Media Corporation, which owns publication/blog brands like BGR, Deadline, Hollywood Life, HollyBaby, ENTV, MovieLine, TVLine, and OnCars, has now acquired Variety, the entertainment news publication that has been around for over a century.

Variety was founded in 1905 by Sime Silverman, and now it has been purchased by Penske from Reed Elsevier for an officially undisclosed sum (though the New York Times is reporting $25 million). Reed Elsevier has owned the publication since 1987.

Variety President Niel Stiles said, “We are enthusiastic that PMC will become the new steward of the great Variety franchise, which Reed Elsevier has built over the past 20 years, and the Silverman family for the 80 years before that. PMC is uniquely positioned to preserve and build the market presence of Variety. Their shared values and complementary assets provide for many new opportunities for the business model and brand.”

Jay Penske, Chairman and CEO of PMC, said, “Since 1905, Variety has been the world’s premier entertainment news source, and is today one of the most recognized global media brands. We are thrilled to welcome Variety and its exceptional team into the PMC organization. As a company we plan to rapidly build upon Variety’s foundation, while extending this invaluable brand’s presence across web, broadcast, mobile, and international markets.”

Brooks Barnes at the NYT reports, "There was some trepidation in Variety’s genteel newsroom on Tuesday about how Deadline, known for its aggressive reports, might affect news-gathering; other Variety staff members were glad to be free of Reed, which rarely invested in the newspaper."

The Variety business currently includes Daily Variety, Weekly Variety, Conferences & Events, and Variety.com's archives, which include film and TV information dating back to 1914.

Variety.com gets about 320,000 unique monthly visitors according to comScore data, compared to Deadline's 2.4 million. Variety.com, however, has a paywall. It will be interesting to see if this is lifted under Penske.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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