Variety threatens studios over online casting scoops

Variety Editor Tim Gray and the trade's reporters have been telling studio PR types that if they give casting scoops to the online competition, the paper won't run their big announcement stories in print, Patrick Goldstein reports on his L.A. Times blog. Gray cops to it, telling Goldstein the directive applies to any site that reports showbiz news and is being used "where it was obvious that the story had been fed to an outlet before everyone got it." From Goldstein:

Studio publicity execs were unimpressed by the move. "It's a terribly analog way of thinking in a digital world," said one studio PR chief. "It's just a totally unrealistic response, since if we've learned anything about the flow of information these days, it's that it gets out in all sorts of uncontrollable ways. The minute we have a meeting or make a decision, it's up on someone's blog. We're not the announcer anymore. We're the responder to what someone's already written. All we can do most of the time is damage control."

I think this new Variety directive is doomed to fail. It's all too obvious that the trade paper no longer has the clout to make studio executives quake in their loafers at the prospect of an announcement not making its way into the print edition. As it is, many of the younger studio executives, managers and agents in town probably haven't seen a print copy of Variety in years, preferring to get their news from Web alerts sent to their BlackBerries.

Goldstein says what Variety should do instead is stop ripping off other publications' stories without credit. Via Romenesko

Related topic: Nikki Finke's deal last year to sell Deadline Hollywood may not be final and there's talk of Finke trying leaving for another deal, as well as being in talks to become editor of The Hollywood Reporter, Sharon Waxman reports at The Wrap.

Less related: The Wrap last night sent out email claiming an "exclusive" on the TMZ producer who sued over his firing, but it was on The Hollywood Reporter's legal blog a day earlier and even here in the Morning Buzz yesterday.

Previously on LA Observed:
Variety looking to hire in New York
Is the end near for Hollywood trades?

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