When Hollywood writers were on strike earlier this year, the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers each took out page ads in Variety to state their case.
“Pencils Down Means Pencils Down,” reads the self-explanatory headline of the ad paid for by the Writers Guild. The ad from Hollywood producers, titled “An Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry,” enumerated the producers' proposals for a settlement.
It's a testament to Variety's clout in the entertainment industry that both sides of the dispute used the daily newspaper as an advertising vehicle to get their message out and communicate with one another. (The writers' strike was settled in mid-February, with producers agreeing to give writers a percentage of revenue for shows that are streamed online.)
“The strike was tragic for the community but great for the newspaper,” said Peter Bart, editor in chief of Variety, which dates back to 1905. “There were so many nuances to the story, both economic and social.”
Variety continues to broaden its coverage to encompass both digital and nontraditional forms of media. The magazine is considered the crown jewel of Reed Business Information, which parent company Reed Elsevier put on the block last month.
“We're not just a trade publication but the voice of a community that's worldwide and very complicated,” Bart said. “It's not just TV, and film and traditional media, but all the new media.”
While Variety introduced a digital edition last year, Bart stressed that the print edition is “part of the routine” for those in the entertainment industry. “The attitude of the paper embodies the market. We have impudent headlines, we're entertaining and it's a jazzy-looking publication. We also keep it young and relevant—all of that matters.”
Brian Gott, associate publisher, said that although Variety's print advertising declined last year, advertisers are using alternative marketing vehicles the brand offers. “Advertisers are taking advantage of multifaceted opportunities to access Variety's audience through print, online, sponsorships, panels, custom publishing and licensing—all vehicles that have allowed us to broaden our ad base beyond ad pages.”
New print advertisers in 2007 included Apple Computer, which returned after a long hiatus; Sony Electronics; and the Waldorf-Astoria. M