The Hollywood Reporter's Publisher Exits; More Variety-zation Of THR's Nielsen

Jeez, we hardly knew him. John Kilcullen, who since October 2006 has served as publisher of  beleaguered The Hollywood Reporter, will leave the company at the end of this month. The reason is “to pursue his passion as an entrepreneur,” which has now officially replaced “to spend more time with his family” as the latest explanation for forced exits. Also senior vp of the Film & Performing Arts and Music & Literary groups within Nielsen Business Media, Kilkullen in his five years with the company has been president and publisher of Billboard since 2003. Kilkullen also oversaw Back Stage, The Bookseller and Kirkus Reviews. But my favorite Kilcullen accomplishment was his saying for months and months he was looking for a “star” to be the next editor of The Hollywood Reporter. He even told job candidates he wanted someone “along the lines of Ken Auletta”. It seemed a joke when Elizabeth Guider was hired after being passed over and demoted at Variety.

But that was just symptomatic of what is Nielsen’s increasing Variety-zation. You may have forgotten that in January 2007  Nielsen Business Media’ hired one-time Variety publishing bigwig Gerry Byrne as a consultant. (And THR hired Variety veterans Eric Mika as senior V-P and publishing director and Rose Einstein in the role of V-P and associate publisher.) Now Nielsen Business Media today announced the creation of an Entertainment Group “that brings together the company’s leading entertainment brands into one unit” with — you guessed it — Byrne as the senior VP head of it. Previously, the company’s entertainment properties existed under two market groups: Film & Performing Arts, and Music & Literary. This news comes just as Reed Elsevier announced that it’s putting Reed Business Information (owner of Variety and Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News up for sale.)

Based in New York, Byrne will report to Nielsen Business Media president Greg Farrar. Brands in the portfolio include Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Back Stage, Kirkus Reviews, The Bookseller, Film Journal International as well as the film industry trade shows ShoWest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International and CineAsia Exposition. According to THR’s story today, “The creation of the Entertainment Group is another step in Nielsen Business Media’s integration strategy, setting in place a more unified editorial approach across entertainment properties to provide audiences with the most inclusive, in-depth access to news, data, analysis and insights on every aspect of the industry. In addition, the comprehensive strategy offers advertisers in the film, television, music, theater and literary industries enhanced, integrated opportunities to connect with their target customers across all of Nielsen’s platforms.”

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