Today’s article started life in much the same way this blog did – a conversation in a pub with fellow film professionals. We were discussing the merits of different film industry press sites and my interest was piqued enough to want to have a look at the numbers. I took a look at articles published by five major film industry press sites between 2012 and 2014. In the coming weeks I will share more of what I found but let’s start with the basics – how many articles do they publish and who’s writing them.
Reporting on reporting
I should start by saying that it isn’t fair to compare different publications purely by the number of articles they publish. The length, quality and depth of their reporting should be taken into account and so this is not designed as a league table but merely a quantification of the online content they publish. N.B. The publications are presented in alphabetical order
Deadline.com began life as a weekly column in the LA Times by reporter Nikki Finke. In 2009 it was bought by Penske Media Corporation, which also own film industry publication Variety. According to PMC, Deadline has 10 million visitors a month.
The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) is owned by Guggenheim Digital Media, who also own Billboard, Adweek and Back Stage. The print edition of the magazine reaches 74,000 people and its readership is 65% male, have a median age of 51 and an average household income of $416,000. By contrast, their online readership is younger (median age 45), more gender neutral (52% male) and poorer (average household income of $90,000).
Indiewire first launched in print at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, followed shortly by the launch of the website in 1998. Of all the film industry press publications I studied it is the one most aimed at independent film.
ScreenDaily.com is the online home of Screen International, which provide copious coverage from the Cannes film festival and market each year, hence the spikes in May.
Variety is the oldest film industry press publication I looked at, having been founded in 1905 (although the website was launched sometime later).
Most prolific writers in the film industry press
I also took a look at who is publishing the highest number of articles. Between 2012-14, Nellie Andreeva of Deadline published an average of 7.6 articles a day, assuming she didn’t take off weekends, public holidays or the Royal Wedding. The writers with the largest number of articles across Variety, Deadline, Indiewire and The Hollywood Reports between 2012-14 were…
- Nellie Andreeva, Deadline – 8,321 articles
- Dave McNary, Variety – 5,189 articles
- Lesley Goldberg, THR – 4,990 articles
- Mike Fleming Jr, Deadline – 4,350 articles
- Philiana Ng, THR – 3,612 articles
In most cases the top spot was taken by a generic byline such as “THR Staff” or “The Deadline Team”. I have excluded these collective terms from my charts below. The top ten writers at the Hollywood Reporter wrote 35.9% of all of the site’s new articles in 2012-14. Alison Willmore’s prolific publishing in 2013 amounted to 2.6 articles a day. Dave McNary wrote 8.8% of articles at Variety.com between 2012 and 2014.
As often happens with pub conversations, this got out of hand rather quickly. Today’s research was deceptively complicated to perform. Online journalism is much more fluid than print, as articles are often amended, removed and reissued in an altered form. I did my best to catch duplications, empty articles, etc. and as far as I can tell these make up a very small amount of the total articles. Some articles are added to and extended many times, such as this Deadline article which was updated 10 times. In my stats these appear as one article as I based the uniqueness of articles on the URL. Next week I will be looking at the most shared articles of each publication on major social media sites.