Variety, one of the few “trades” that remain, has changed their business model over the past twelve months, just like most media companies, and, well, like most companies period.
They’ve put their online articles behind a paywall, fired critics, and just recently I noticed that the legit coverage I pay $299 a year for has now been cut to just one page, and one feature article.
Am I mad?
But not at Variety.
Look, Variety is a business, just like Broadway, just like a diner, and well, just like your own household.
When you can’t pay your expenses in any of those situations, you have to cut out the crap, or the stuff that isn’t necessary, in order to survive.
What I’m mad about is that somehow, Broadway has become the crap.
We’ve failed to make ourselves relevant enough to the modern readers of Variety. The higher-ups had to think that a cut in our coverage wouldn’t cause that much of a stink, or put that much of a dent in their subscriber base either. There was obviously a meeting at some point where someone at Variety said, “Look if we cut theater coverage, we may lose X number of subscribers, and that will decrease our revenue by Y. But since we’ll be saving Z dollars, and since Z is greater than Y, it makes sense to lose the page.”
And if you are having trouble keeping the lights on, then that’s how meetings should go in industries of all kinds whether that is on Broadway, in a diner or in your own household.
Because that’s business.
And we don’t have to like it.
But yelling at Variety isn’t going to do us any good. We’ve got to yell at ourselves and find a way to make us important enough so people aren’t cutting coverage, they are adding it.
That’s a constructive use of our time.
Yelling certainly isn’t.