Digital media is slowly but surely replacing the print media as the driving force in obtaining news. Nikki Finke, who ran the Deadline website that covered entertainment news and consistently got scoops ahead of print media, is taking control of Variety, the famous entertainment newspaper established in 1905.
Finke’s Deadline website was purchased by Jay Penske and his Penske Media Corporation (PMC) in 2009, and now Penske has completed a deal to buy Variety from Reed Business Information. There were other bids during the long, drawn-out process, including one backed by Ron Burkle, the retail billionaire, but Penske wound up winning the deal.
PMC will pay more than $25 million for the daily paper, which looks as if it will
cut down to one day a week while it focuses on becoming an online news model, where it will be integrated with Deadline. Its print version had been hemorrhaging money for years. Penske, who called Variety “the world’s premier entertainment news source” and “one of the most recognized global media brands,” said that he planned to “rapidly build upon Variety’s foundation, while extending this invaluable brand’s presence across web, broadcast, mobile, and international markets.”
Finke has been ahead of the curve for years; in 2009 she revealed management changes at Paramount, including the firing of a senior executive, even before the company had announced it to its own staff.