I’m told a 23-year sales vet at The Hollywood Reporter walked today. That leaves 6 sales people out of the trade’s normal 17-person contingent on the job. How did the management react? With an end-of-day email asking the holdovers to work this weekend to find another $7,000 so the publisher can hit some target. Speaking of the publisher, an Emmy and Oscar honored Hollywood name had this recent email exchange with Eric Mika, publisher and VP of The Hollywood Reporter and the Nielsen Entertainment Group. It’s very illuminating — although I suspect Variety will squeal like a stuck pig when it reads the statistics Mika uses:

Dear Publisher,

I have subscribed to The Hollywood Reporter for over thirty (30) years, as it was always my favorite publication of the two trade papers here in LA.

But the end is at hand. I have several new subscription notices that have been sent to me by your company, but have decided not to renew.

Why? Well, only one word describes the reason. The new format is AWFUL. It is cold and boring. And, it looks like some Business Weekly magazine, reading just as dryly. The charm and individuality that once was its calling card, is GONE.

Over the last month, I have heard this remark (at major studios, industry gatherings, etc.) from 137 (I’ve kept a list) actors, producers, directors, below the line staff, even just ordinary people who don’t have much to do with the business, who think the changes that have been made STINK. Not ONE person has remarked in favor of the changes.

I’ve also noticed that the issues are slimmer and slimmer, due to lack of advertising. Can’t somebody see the writing on the wall.

Best of luck in the future, but you won’t have me supporting you. Daily Variety is SO MUCH BETTER A READ!!!

Dear XXX,

I’m very sorry to hear of your dislike of the new Hollywood ReporterTHR and other publications are faced with a ever changing  business globally that is more complex then ever before.

Over the last year THR has invested in editorial growth throughout the world with offices now in Beijing and Hong Kong, as well as London launched a digital edition page turner and created events around the world. THR advertising revenue is spread through the pages to digital products.

What I view as a very important sign of success is our audience marketing information derived from ABC: Since the re-launch THR has experienced an increase of total distribution of 19% Monday through to Thursday and 22% increase on the International Weekend Edition. In addition we have 62% more readers in California, 54% more in New York, then Weekly Variety according the to the new ABC Statement and very similar numbers when we compare the Daily publications.

I am indeed sorry to lose a long time reader.  I wish you the very best.

Respectfully,
Eric