After 20 years at the helm of Variety, editor in chief Peter Bart has essentially been replaced by his deputy Tim grey, who will now take responsibility for the news operation at the trade and report to president Neil Stiles, Variety announced Sunday.
Bart will now be vice president and editorial director of Variety, reporting directly to Reed Business CEO Tad Smith. In this role, Bart will reportedly assist Smith “in furthering Variety‘s editorial mission in print and online and expanding the brand’s position in new revenue streams.” Bart will also keep writing his weekly column and blog and continue to serve as the face of Variety.
Smith makes it seem like this was a long-in-the-works change that has nothing to do with Variety‘s declining advertising and need to adapt to a more Web-centric news industry:
“Bart has managed Variety’s staff and news operations for 20 years and we have long had an agreement in place that, at the 20-year mark, he would move on to new responsibilities. With this in mind, Tim grey was named editor several years ago.”
And maybe that’s all this is. Still, the trade has reportedly been losing ad pages due to the economic downturn, and it’s seen its Web traffic decline as of late. Both Sharon Waxman and Nikki Finke note that Bart was not a big proponent of a more online-centric publishing model.
“Indeed, he was known within the newsroom for being not very interested in the technological changes transforming the industry,” Waxman writes.
Meanwhile, Finke says, “Bart was one of the staunchest proponents that Variety has to remain a print publication, while others at Reed want to move the trade more, and maybe even completely, into the digital era because of eroding advertising.”
But grey, who oversaw the daily and print issues of Variety, was not intimately involved in variety.com, The Wrap claims. In fact, Waxman writes that grey’s promotion does reflect Variety‘s plan to continue a print-revenue strategy.
“They’re still betting on print,” one Variety insider told The Wrap. “Every decision in cutting 30 people in January was in favour of the print product, to support what they needed to get the daily and weekly out the door.”
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