Media News

How the strike is exposing entertainment industry publications

August 24, 2023

Posted by Chris Roush

Katharine Trendacosta of Defector writes about how the entertainment industry publications are being exposed during the writers’ and actor’s strikes.

Trendacosta writes, “While it has always a bit of an open secret that the Hollywood trade publications can be little more than studio public relations, the strike has absolutely shattered their credibility. This tension has always existed in an industry town where the idea of ‘getting good publicity; serves all sides, creating a symbiotic relationship that has made the trades entirely dependent on studio sources. As the biggest entertainment story in decades unfolds, the trades’ practices are being exposed, with reporting that alternates between being useless to outwardly harmful.

“Under normal circumstances the work that Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline—and at this point in our late-stage capitalism hell, it is worth noting all three are owned by the same company, Penske Media Corporation—does is a form of access journalism that can seem harmless. Think fluffy profiles, actors interviewing actors, breathless awards speculation or hyping casting announcements and release dates.

“The problem for the trades is all of that depends on being in the good books of the studios. Because they are industry papers, the assumption is that everyone in the industry reads them. That’s why the trades make so much money off of ‘for your consideration’ ads, designed to get fellow insiders to vote for certain movies and actors in awards season. Not only is it de rigueur for studios to pay for those ads, actors placing their own is seen as declasse. So the most direct route to the trades has always been through the studios, and the studios likewise saw the trades as the best route to the rest of the industry.”

Read more here.

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