It has recently been announced without much fanfare that the two titans of entertainment industry trade journalism, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, have merged. Although it’s being played as a joint venture, it seems that Penske Media Corp., which publishes Variety, will be in the driver’s seat. MRC, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, was known to be suffering financial difficulties, (THR had been losing as much as $30 million a year, according to some reports). A new company is being formed to be known as PMRC. PMRC will also operate Rolling Stone, Billboard, Deadline, Music Business Worldwide, SHE Media, and Vibe, as well as other non-entertainment related publications such as Sportico and The Robb Report.
In addition to the current staff at these publications, who rightly fear layoffs and forced early retirements due to the consolidation, many other sectors of the industry have reason to be concerned. Advertisers, such as the major Studios who tout their content for awards consideration, wonder if a lack of competition will run up advertising rates. Others worry that a singular critical voice with so much power will offer little alternative perspective. One bad review from such a source could easily sink a project. Only time will tell how much these fears are realized.