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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Wallenstein’

Variety EIC: ‘Paywall Did Nothing But Severely Limit Our Audience’

At the recent 63rd annual MAGGIE Awards, where Variety won three awards including Most Improved Publication/Trade & Consumer, the 109-year-old outlet’s digital editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein delivered an afternoon keynote about changes in the PMC era.

Although much of what Wallenstein had to say is common knowledge at this point, it’s still rare in the Hollywood trades world to have the opportunity to hear a key editorial team member speak so frankly and in detail about the inner workings of the operation. Wallenstein joked at one point that he does not recommend doing a full website revamp in three months; he said website traffic has increased, since the elimination of the paywall, by 400%; and noted that the company’s new offices in west LA were set up for “year-round video production.”

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Variety Drops F-Bomb on Twitter

The first Wednesday tweet designed to promote editor-in-chief: digital Andrew Wallenstein‘s look at the forces behind some recent Hollywood studio exec shuffles was routine:

VarietyTweet1

But then… Who knows. Maybe the individual manning the trade’s Twitter account became frustrated at the lack of clicks. Or was ordered to get more eyeballs onto Wallenstein’s piece. Or there were drinks involved. Because five hours later, in the spirit of Nikki “I Should Be Running Variety” Finke, there was this:

VarietyTweet2

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An Historic Hollywood Trades Panel

We’ve attended many Digital Hollywood’s and similar conferences over the years. For the life of us, we cannot remember another time when editorial representatives from all four Hollywood trades participated in the same panel discussion.

The May day confluence will occur tomorrow afternoon at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey. Moderating “The New Digital Age of the Hollywood Trade Press” will be Rick Markovitz, president of Weissman/Markovitz Communications. And participating:

- Andrew Wallenstein, editor-in-chief, digital, Variety
- Chis Krewson, editor, THR.com, The Hollywood Reporter
- Dominic Patten, reporter, Deadline Hollywood
- Joseph Kapsch, deputy managing editor, TheWrap

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Two Trade Publication Staffs Walk Into a Westwood Office Building…

Among the various Twitter wise-cracks posted in response to the news that Variety, Deadline (and other PMC Web publications) will soon be sharing the same LA westside digs was this one:

More like reality TV show. Especially since one of the floors being leased at the Westwood high rise will feature “a full video production studio and three green-screen rooms.”

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Variety Makes Steven Gaydos a VP

Last week, Variety announced the appointment of three new editors-in-chief – Andrew Wallenstein, Cynthia Littleton and Claudia Eller. Today, the trade has made another big move on the “advertorial” side, promoting executive editor Steven Gaydos to the additional role of VP.

The expanded, double title would seem to reflect that Gaydos has the full confidence of new owner Jay Penske, running a features department where most of the money will be. From this afternoon’s announcement:

Gaydos will oversee all editorial for features, events, creative partnerships, custom publishing and other special projects…

Gaydos has been responsible for nearly 200 reports and related events each year, directing the multi-platform production of territorial surveys, film, TV, digital and music reports, business-oriented personality and corporate profiles. In addition, he created and directed the “10 to Watch” program and oversees various initiatives such as brand’s Impact Lists, Hollywood’s New Leaders, Dealmakers and the Billion Dollar series.

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Variety Gets Three New Editors-in-Chief

They are Andrew Wallenstein, (digital), Claudia Eller (film) and Cynthia Littleton (TV). Colleague Tim Gray is not going away but rather will remain in a “leadership role.”

What’s most intriguing here is that Jay Penske is continuing a pattern of promoting female staffers (Littleton) to heretofore male-dominated editorial roles. Last fall, he appointed Michelle Sobrino-Stearns associate publisher. From this morning’s announcement:

The installation of Eller and Littleton as two of the three editors-in-chief marks the first time in the brand’s storied history that women have served in the top editorial role.

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YouTube Content Creators Enliven Variety Film Summit Panel

At today’s fourth annual Future of Film Summit at the Sofitel Hotel presented by Variety and Digital Media Wire, the seating arrangement for the “Trendsetters of the New Platforms” panel placed Brian Robbins next to Michael Gallagher. Which was doubly perfect, because these two dominated the discussion with their tales of two very different paths to YouTube content creation success.

Robbins revealed that Runaways, a series on his Awesomeness TV YouTube channel now into its second second season, costs less than ten percent of what he used to spend on a network TV show like One Tree Hill. Robbins, whose other credits include Smallville, started out in the YouTube business by self-funding a ridiculously successful crossover TV movie starring early sensation Fred.

“I am a father of teens and tweens, and I saw what was happening,” Robbins recalled. “I realized that TV is coming to an end, at least for this audience. So instead of fighting it, I decided, ‘Let’s dive in,” and made the movie with Fred.”

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PGA Rolls Out Another PRODUCED BY Conference

The admission prices for this weekend’s fourth PRODUCED BY Conference on the Sony Pictures lot are steep. But given the level of talent participating in the Producers Guild of America sponsored confab, attendees are willing to put forth boffo coin.

Speakers include everyone from Mark Cuban and LA Times entertainment reporter Dawn Chmielewski to Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein and produce Patrick Ward. Alongside a plethora of Saturday-Sunday events are something called Mentoring Tables. For a separate  fee of $100 per, participants get to sit down – Hollywood press junket style – and glean some more private, targeted words of advice.

If FishbowlLA was paying for an MT, we would be inclined to opt for either Snag Films CEO Rick Allen tomorrow afternoon or producer-director Gale Anne Hurd after lunch on Sunday. Organizers tell us that all but four of these ten-seat sessions have sold out.

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Variety Editor Recalls His Mike Wallace Moment

There was understandably no shortage yesterday of cable news, Twitter, Facebook and Internet tributes to the late, great Mike Wallace. One of FishbowlLA’s favorite Sunday reminiscences was provided by Variety TV editor Andrew Wallenstein.

Two decades ago, Wallenstein was interviewed by Wallace for a 60 Minutes piece about Holocaust revisionism. As the editor-in-chief of the Queens College’s student newspaper, he had chosen – like several others around the country – to deliberately publish an incendiary ad from the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. Wallenstein speculates that perhaps he was singled out for media attention because he was Jewish and stationed on a campus whose student body was close to one-third Jewish as well. From his Variety blog post:

Publicizing the ad was at the core of the rationale behind my decision. I wanted to raise awareness about the very existence of Holocaust revisionism, even at the risk of legitimizing what my many detractors felt was best left ignored…

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The Future of Original Web Video Programming

Perhaps the single biggest takeaway from the 2012 TV Summit is that Yahoo is trying REALLY hard to drum up Hollywood awareness of its new video content production strategy. The website sponsored the event and the Yahoo logo was front and center everywhere.

“We’ve got eight out of 10 people online touching Yahoo.com.” said Yahoo’s VP of  originals & video programming Erin McPherson in a new-media panel discussion.  “We call ourselves the ‘fifth network.’ That’s aspriational. But we’re TV on steroids. We’re creating a TV consumer experience but adding social and mobile.”

They’re also creating some nice swag. I was given not one, but two shiny blue Yahoo pens from a booth inside the  Summit. Very nice.

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