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Variety dropping web paywall, adding top editors

- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Variety, the venerable trade publication that has covered Hollywood for more than a century, is dropping its website paywall and rolling out a new one-day-a-week-only print edition beginning next month.

The paywall, put in place three years ago, is coming down Friday.

"It was an interesting experiment that didn't work. We look forward to welcoming back longtime Variety readers when the paywall drops March 1," said Jay Penske, the chairman and CEO of Variety's parent company.

The Tuesday only print publication will debut March 26 and will be augmented throughout the year by several special editions reporting on the industry's many awards shows and other topics of interest to Hollywood movers and shakers.

"We remain committed to a print edition of Variety and are excited that it will expand in size and scope of coverage," the paper's publisher, Michelle Sobrino, said in a story Tuesday on the paper's website ( http://bit.ly/YVaMUr).

Variety also announced Tuesday that three veteran Hollywood journalists, Claudia Eller, Cynthia Littleton and Andrew Wallenstein, are assuming the titles editor-in-chief.

Eller joins the paper after 20 years with the Los Angeles Times, where she was most recently entertainment news editor. Littleton was most recently deputy editor of Variety and Wallenstein was the trade paper's television editor.

Executive Editor Steven Gaydos will continue to oversee Variety's editorial department. Tim Gray, the current editor-in-chief, will remain in a leadership role, overseeing special projects and expansion of international coverage, the paper said.

Variety has become a legendary fixture in Hollywood since its founding in 1905, but like other traditional print publications has struggled in recent years as news has gravitated to the Web.

It was purchased last year for $25 million by Penske Media Corp., which also owns the popular Hollywood website Deadline.

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Information from: Daily Variety, http://www.variety.com

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