Movie Sites -vs- The Trades: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Boycott ‘Em

Who boy, what a load of crap this recent development is…

Recently, Editor in Chief Steven Weintraub fired a shot across the bow of Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, two traditional media magazines that have been covering the film industry for a combined 181 years. After providing untold thousands of links to the trade magazines’ sites when referencing news they first reported, Weintraub and several other popular film Web sites formally declared that they were sick of not being given the same courtesy.

Movie sites have been ripping off Variety and Hollywood Reporter for well over a decade now. How many articles a day do you think get quoted, reprinted in whole, unattributed or attributed without a link – all from the Hollywood trades? I would do a study, but I’m too lazy (and/or uninterested). I’m telling you, as a guy who has read these sites since the late 90’s and ran one intermittently since 2003, there are a ton of scoops (most really) ripped right from the trades by the little guys, then passed around like they just got the call from Harrison’s acting coach. If Variety gets credit for a scoop it’s rarely a linked credit, and more likely a link to a blog-buddy who has already summarized (read: regurgitated) the jist.

Bottom Line: Move Sites/Blogs need to get over themselves. Sure, the trades may have run an improperly attributed scoop (or two, or three).  We couldn’t possibly count how many times in one day that happens to them. It’s all one big circle-jerk, we know it, the trades know it. Just because they don’t give you a jerk after years of neglecting them yourself, doesn’t mean they should be kicked out of the circle. In fact, you can’t kick them out – they’re the reason the circle exists most of the time.

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9 Responses to Movie Sites -vs- The Trades: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Boycott ‘Em

  1. Dave says:

    I remember when Variety’s EIC Peter Bart said bloggers were smelly anarchists with pale skin.

    Tell me, if you had that world view, would you be in line to jerk off a bunch of sweaty fanboys?

    Hey, it was either that or just a base, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA” in response to a blog boycott.

  2. Chris says:

    I really disagree with you. Sure there are plently of sites that rip people off. But to lump all the blogs in one basket is wrong. You should judge people on a case by case basis and just not pass a banket judgement on everyone involved.

  3. Grundy says:

    Yoi know, after the Collider 300 scoop. Fuck the trades.

  4. Dave says:

    Chris, you shouldn’t judge people at all. James was talking about the major sites, not all of them. The on-line film community is a far different place now than it was 10 years ago. It’s diluted by so many different voices all pretty much saying the same thing. Collider may get the scoop, but they are not 1/10th of what the old Coming Attractions used to be. No one is. Scoops are nothing special anymore because the internet is saturated with information.

    He was also saying that without the trades, movie sites wouldn’t be what they are today. I’m not trying to defend the trades but certain “smaller” sites use just as many questionable tactics as the ones they are “boycotting.”

    Bottom line is that at the end of the day, movie sites really *do* need to get over themselves because I don’t see a one coming up with solutions to gas prices, foreign intervention, peak oil, the drug war, etc. You can make the response that their purpose is not to talk about these things, but that’s entirely the point. Because they’re not actually disseminating information that is actually, you know, *useful* to people, they need to shut up about how important they are because they’re, you know, NOT!

  5. James says:

    Chris – I believe it would be impossible to speak on this topic without speaking with some level of generality. I probably should have been more specific in my language and limit the lasso to “those who are boycotting” as well as “sites similar in style and readership size as those that are boycotting”. Of course, there will still be some innocents even among those generalities, but them’s the breaks. Expecting Variety to keep a list of sites that they will credit and a list that they won’t, considering the hundreds, if not thousands of blogs that reference the news they collected, is unreasonable at best. The current system works. Variety should continue to provide the movie community with 90% of its casting news and in exchange the movie blog/website community should sit down, swallow their collective pride, and shut up when Variety occasional gets one wrong from our camp.

    In all I think the attention Variety is getting for this, and will continue to get, is not doing movie websites any favors. If you want to take down the big dog, act like a bigger dog, outscoop them – make them irrelevant – things have been marching that direction for years anyway. Don’t bitch when the bigger dog doesn’t throw you a bone, take the bone. It’s all very schoolyard, in’it. :)

  6. Chris Gopher says:

    Shit, a different Chris has shown up. Time for a name change. LOL.

  7. Nionix says:

    I lol’d. If they decide to boycott, go right ahead. As it turns out, if they can’t pull stories from Variety/Hollywood Reporter.. well, they won’t have too many big scoops.

  8. Dave says:

    Bottom line is that with the saturation of information that already exists on the net, I doubt that any boycott will affect anyone other than the small number of people who run websites with a large enough following. The general public doesn’t give a crap and this will by and large not affect anyone’s movie going habit, meaning the studios have little to no vested interest in the matter.

    Business as usual.

  9. Nionix says:

    After awhile, this story kinda got to me (Also, James, you got linked on a couple stories to this post! Awesome.) and after the bullshit Batman rumors, I threw up a stupid post on my own site.

    Basically, fuck blogs that want to be taken seriously but ejaculate stupid fanboy casting rumors all over the internet.

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