Variety, the entertainment news and business magazine, released a new blog called ShowBlitz with the accompanying email:
We realize that our paywall has discouraged sites like yours from linking to our content in the past, even when Variety breaks big showbiz stories. Showblitz gives you that way let your users have access to an important source of news — and it also gives you an easy way to monitor a feed of Variety’s exclusives and breaking news.
It appears Variety recognizes that its paywall locks it out from the conversation ecosystem surrounding entertainment news but here’s the rub:
This is not a strategy shift for Variety.com. The paywall lives on. Each entry on Showblitz – short, timely, punchy and art-centric – will include links to the full stories within Variety.com.
A typical ShowBlitz post is a photo and paragraph summary the news that looks more or less like this:
The expectation, or hope, really, is that readers will click that big “Read Full Story” link and head over to the Variety site.
And readers might. But after reading “two articles, columns, photos or videos per month,” they’ll get hit with this screenblock:
So, two questions: the move is obviously a subscription play that markets Variety content to would-be subscribers. But will readers even bother to click through knowing they’ll be hit with a pay now plea?
And with such skimpy content offerings, basically a vanilla summary of the news, what motivates other publications, bloggers and social network posters to actually share and link to it? Right now, they certainly can’t do anything of the sort from it. Think of it as the antisocial blog.
Will be interesting to see if and how this minimalist approach works. Somehow, I doubt it. — Michael