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Variety up for sale

March 23, 2012 |  1:51 pm

Variety, Hollywood's oldest entertainment industry trade publication, has been put up for sale.

Dutch and British conglomerate Reed Elsevier, which acquired the weekly publication and its Daily Variety newspaper 25 years ago, announced Tuesday that it is seeking a buyer for the 107-year-old brand, which has 61,000 combined weekly, daily and online subscribers, according to circulation figures reporting by business publication auditor BPA Worldwide.

In a statement, the company said the sale effort is part of a broader move away from advertising-supported media and toward subscription data services for its Reed Business Information group.

The move comes as Variety -- famous for a show biz lexicon of industry-specific terms like "boffo" and tongue-twisting headlines like "Sticks Nix Hick Pix" -- has lost its standing as Hollywood's dominant trade newspaper amid heated competition from online-only publications Deadline and the Wrap, as well as a resurgent the Hollywood Reporter. Long seen as Variety's also-ran competitor, the Reporter relaunched in late 2010 under new owners as a glossy weekly magazine that covers breaking daily news on its website.

Daily Variety is the only remaining daily print publication exclusively covering show business.

Reed Elsevier tried to sell Variety four years ago as part of a package along with its other U.S. publications but could not find a buyer. Instead it went on to sell magazines such as Publishers Weekly and Broadcasting and Cable separately. Variety is its only remaining U.S. publication.

-- Ben Fritz    

Photo: The Daily Variety logo.