Saturday, April 13, 2024

Worrying Hollywood Consolidation as Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and All Their Subsidiaries Merge into One Company with Many Awards Shows


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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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