Variety saves the good stuff for Print

If you've been following digital content news then you're probably familiar with the current debate on free vs paid content, paywalls, etc. Variety has come up with a unique approach to get people to read both their website and the paper edition. I'm not sure it's going to work in the long term.

Chris Krewson, editor of, sent out a memo to the staff. He also copied it to his blog (which is how I got it). Her is an excerpt:

We wanted to point out once again the great progress we’re making in giving our audience a real reason to read print even after readers have learned about all the breaking news from our Website.

On today’s front page, every story was significantly different from the one readers saw yesterday on

Our Web story early Tuesday listing the nominees for the Tony Awards was followed in print by a very different Tony story – one that looked at how the star-studded list would likely benefit the televised event.

Our initial Web story on News Corp.’s quarterly results explained that Avatar had helped the company achieve great results. The print version instead focused on how all this additional money was likely to put Rupert Murdoch into the deal-making game once again.

I don't have a subscription to Variety, so I could only look at a couple of the articles (the rest are behind a paywall). Here's what I think.

If I read a story on a website on Tuesday then by the time the paper comes out on Wednesday I will have move on. If you want me to read both, then the second article needs to be a follow up on the first. Don't repeat the same data in the lead paragraph. (They did this in the Tony Awards article. ) Instead, give details that I don't already know. If I'm familiar with the content presented in the first couple paragraphs then I'm going to skip the rest of the article. My time is finite, and my attention span limited.

But this could work if the content has value.

About Nate Hoffelder (11479 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on Variety saves the good stuff for Print

  1. Thanks very much for the thoughtful post, Nate.

    As I’m sure you know, efforts like the one we’re undertaking are a marathon, not a sprint. But we, as editors, are happy with the progress we’re making.

    Our paywall is a statement that our content has value; we’re committed to delivering that value to our users and readers. More importantly, we’re focused on giving them the kind of information they want, tailored to the medium in which they receive it. The Web is good for breaking news; print is good for analysis and the ‘what’s next.’ And of course, we’re posting all these stories online at the same time our readers get them in print, so we’re not ‘saving’ anything.

    Thanks again,


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