Jay Penske’s Penske Media Corporation is significantly overhauling the Variety platform, starting with its paywall, which will come down when a new Variety.com is launched on March 1st. The brand’s print daily edition will also be discontinued while the weekly will continue on. Lastly, Variety will have not one, but three new top editors, with Claudia Eller, Cynthia Littleton and Andrew Wallenstein hired as a trio of editors-in-chief.
The demise of the paywall and the daily should not be a surprise. One of the first things chairman and CEO Penske expressed to Variety staff after he bought the brand for $25 million last October was his distaste for the paywall, which was reportedly met with applause.
"Internally, we’ve been referring to the paywall dropping as ‘the end of an error,’" said Penske in a statement regarding the announcement made yesterday. "It was an interesting experiment that didn’t work."
In an interesting and surely expensive move, the new team of chief editors has Eller, Littleton and Wallenstein heading up specific beats—film, television and digital content respectively. Eller joins from the Los Angeles Times, while Littleton and Wallenstein were both promoted.
Tim Gray, who was most recently the brand’s editor-in-chief, will stay on, overseeing international coverage and special projects.