Um, this is a little worrying.
The companies that own Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Billboard, Rolling Stone and all the secondary awards shows like the Golden Globes and American Music Awards are now ONE. Their announcement this morning skirts the word “merge” but that’s what they’ve done.
Penske Media, owned by Jay Penske, heir to the Penske moving van and auto companies, is going to run the company called MRC, formerly Valence, which sprang from the loins of Guggenheim Partners and Todd Boehly. That gang owns Dick Clark Productions, which produces all those awards shows. It also produces TV shows and movies, from “Ozark” to “Knives Out.”
The announcement says they’re going to “create content” based on the outlets, which include PMC’s Rolling Stone, Variety and Music Business Worldwide interests. So there’s going to be one massive voice and outlet for the music industry.
Conflict of interests? Uh, yeah. Like, galore. What?
Well, Penske’s publications have been thriving but the MRC/Valence ones have been on the ropes for some time. They’ve had massive layoffs all year. So it was just a matter of time before consolidations were eyed. But this also includes the so-called “objective” awards shows.
Will the publications contradict each other? Will the awards shows be influenced by the publications, or vice versa? And what about the awards shows, which are already in murky waters, and how they deal with the media that’s being produced and is judged by them? Who will have an independent voice?
What Hollywood doesn’t need right now is just one massive publisher speaking for the industry. Stay tuned for more developments and reactions.