This may be a little inside baseball, but in updating our Sundance Cheat Sheet, it’s been an interesting thing to watch how different outlets are handling link etiquette, particularly in regard to Variety, which recently put a paywall on their Web site to limit readership to their subscribers.
This has led Filmmaker‘s Scott Macaulay and others to lament not being able to see or have the desire to link to Variety‘s coverage, which is one of the only places you can find reviews of some of the more obscure titles in the Sundance lineup, whether of a low budget NEXT film like “Bilal’s Stand” or a World Cinema documentary like “Kick In Iran.” (Oddly, there’s a loophole through Variety‘s specific Sundance page that allows their coverage to be viewed for free, whether purposefully or not.)
As you may be aware, Variety and their rival the Hollywood Reporter are having rough years, mostly because of advertising dollars, but also in the loss of talent like Anne Thompson to IndieWire and Michael Fleming to Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com. (We recapped this last month.)
Stranger still, while Variety is losing out on readers to their paywall, as Chris Thilk notes on Movie Marketing Madness, the Hollywood Reporter is trying out ways to broaden their appeal by teaming with the online community Flixster to put co-brand their content, as they’ve already done with IMDbPro for years. All of this comes as print-first news outlets are reconsidering how much monetary value to place on their content, particularly in wake of Apple’s recent announcement of the iPad.
This isn’t to say much more than things are changing in the way that film news is being delivered, but the trades, as beleaguered as they are, have always been a valuable resource, and it’s the smaller movies that may get lost in the crunch. Even at Sundance, there are some films that may not exist to the world at large if they aren’t reviewed in some way or another.