9/23/20 11:30 AM PDT
There have been rumors circulating for weeks and months, but today, it was made official: Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have merged into one giant entertainment news entity. Oddly, this news was reported on Variety early this morning but NOT reported on the Reporter at all.
According to the story, Variety parent company, Penske Media Corp., who acquired the venerable Hollywood trade in 2012, made a deal with MRC, owner of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Vibe Magazine to operate them under a newly-formed venture called PMRC. Penske Media will lead the daily operations of the expanded entertainment and music brand, which only leaves a scant few independent trades covering the industry in Hollywood.
MRC will be shifting its focus to its content production assets, which includes Dick Clark Productions, producers of the annual Golden Globes and American Music Awards, but MRC has also been involved with the production of Netflix’s Ozark and the features Knives Out, Baby Driver and Ted.
Penske Media already had the Rolling Stone and Music Business Worldwide under its umbrella, as well as Deadline and Indiewire, both of which cover the exact same ground and territory as the other two trades.
Apparently, PMC and MRC will continue to operate independently outside the newly-formed PMRC, so that the likes of Deadline, WWD, She Media, Sportico and Robb Report will remain independent of the merger.
There are many questions to be asked about the merger, particularly since Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have been bitter rivals for almost a century. Variety is the older of the trades, celebrating 115 years in 2020, while Hollywood Reporter was founded in 1930 but became the first daily trade based in West Coast vs. Variety‘s weekly trade based in New York. Ten years ago, the Reporter also switched to a weekly format and the publication had been bouncing between mergers and acquisitions ever since.
Over the years, and especially in the past few decades, you might regularly see writers and editors fired from one publication only to turn up soon after at another. When Deadline and Indiewire merged into the Penske media empire, things just got more complicated.
This is breaking news with a lot of details still to be reported. For the sake of transparency, Below the Line may be entering litigation with the parent company of the two publications for unrelated matters.