I told you months ago this was coming, and it’s even earlier than expected. Variety has announced that, starting tomorrow, Variety will begin its rollout of the website’s paywall as part of an overall revamp of the publication’s subscription structure. But the trade issued this warning: “After clicking on two pages of content at Variety.com, one in 10 randomly selected visitors will be prompted to register for further access. Print and digital subscribers who have logged in with a user name and password have full access to Variety.com. Nonsubscribers may access only five pages of content in any given month.
So start forking over that introductory subscription rate of $248 to gain access to all Variety products, including the print editions of Daily Variety and weekly Variety, as well as Variety.com and Digital Variety. “This initial phase allows us to gather more information about our paying customers worldwide and hone the user experience so we can continue to provide the best subscriber experience for all paying customers,” said Variety president Neil Stiles. “The number of unique visitors to Variety will decline, but the people who remain on the site are our core audience. These are ultimately the people we want to reach.” Here’s only what left for free: the home page, headlines, brief article summaries and search results. As I’ve said before, Variety had no choice but to go to this model to pay for its newsgathering operation that generates proprietary content. As for Deadline Hollywood, while we’re making plans to offer a small premium content section filled with for-pay extras we hope you can’t live without, all the daily news and analysis and opinion will always be free because of our advertiser-supported model. How? Because we operate lean and mean!