Daily Variety

A boffo salute to Sime Silverman and his successors: sincere scions of scintillating scenarios, surely!

Now run by Cahner's Publishing Company (a division of Reed-Elsevier), Daily Variety was originally a family business. The paper was conceived in 1933 by Sime Silverman as a sister publication to the Silverman's weekly magazine, Variety. Sadly, a mere sixteen days after the inaugural issue of Daily Variety hit the stands, Sime Silverman took life's final curtain call. Son Sid then subsumed service for seventeen years, soon surplanted by Sid Silverman's son Syd Silverman who was finally superseded by son Michael. Sorry, I've been reading too many of Daily Variety 's headlines. My favorite to date is:

Vags Will be Dizzied as Fitt's Stiffens War On 'Em

- Daily Variety, vol. 1, no. 1 (6 September 1933), p. 4
The Silverman clan still oversees the activities of current (2001) editor Peter Bart and publisher Charles Koones.

Arthur Ungar, the paper's first editor, stated in the initial issue that the "Chief aim of Daily Variety is to print the news of the show business." (Daily Variety, vol. 1, no. 1; 6 September 1933, p.2). Fifty years later, in the paper's anniversary issue, noted actor Ronald Reagan stated, "For over half a century you have kept your readers well informed and up-to-date on all facets of the entertainment world -- in an accurate, lively, and often humorous way." (Daily Variety Anniversary Edition, v. 50; 1983, p.9)

Though its aim and approach have varied little since 1933, the field of "the show business" has significantly expanded. According to the publisher's own editorial profile, Daily Variety covers "motion pictures, television, pay-tv, cable, homevideo, radio, music, theater, night clubs - and related enterprises." (SRDS: Business Publications Rates and Data, Skokie, Ill. : Standard Rate and Data Service, 1991)

After starting business in Hollywood, the paper now has additional offices in New York, Washington (DC), Chicago, San Francisco, London, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, Toronto, Munich, and Copenhagen. Its explicit charge is now to cover the global entertainment business.

The publication's analysis of the entertainment industry is both critical and financial, with an eye also kept on the curiousity of the interested fan. Gossip is not a rare item. Primary coverage, however, is trade oriented. Ratings of film, music, etc. are coupled with articles on financial deals, recent legislation and its effect on the industries covered, and upcoming projects.

Daily Variety publishes three special issues annually: the Anniversary edition (last Tuesday in October), the Independent Production/Distribution Edition (mid-June), and the Financial Review Edition (late February). It is published daily, excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and some holidays. Costing a cold nickel in '33, the paper has increased in price according to the following table:

Year		single issue	annual subscription
=================================================
1933			 .05		$ 12.50 (?)
1991			 .75		$119.00
2002			9.95		$259.00
Total paid circulation is currently 35,500 (up from 23,000 in 1991). Advertising rates vary depending upon type of ad, frequency, and location in the paper. A full page black and white ad currently runs $8,120 with a full page color ad costing $15,120.

Daily Variety is heavily used by individual entertainers in order to increase their visibility within their specific industries, as well as declare availability, or just to show off (e.g., Frank Sinatra bought a full-page ad in the 50th Anniversary Edition and simply signed his name at the bottom of a blank page ostentatiously indicating "sure I'm rich" in addition to a propensity for being inarticulate.)

Daily Variety is not usually indexed by the major online indexes and database search services. Currently Daily Variety is only indexed via Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe and the World Magazine Bank.

This is a journal that taps into, displays, analyzes, and creates popular american entertainment culture. It can be likened to libretti, discarded by scholars at the original time of publication, yet seen today as an essential component of the scholarly process. The flip, jargon filled coverage of this "journal" belies a comprehensive, thorough, and ongoing analysis of a wide range of the performing arts. The advertisements are also fascinating bits of insight into the workings of an industry, and in some cases, the workings of an individual artist's mind.


Sources:

Node your homework : Feb. 22, 2002 update of original 1991 submission for GSLIS 224 Literature of the Humanities and Fine Arts ; in which the author takes a scholarly look at Daily Variety on February 26, 1991

Daily Variety; (ISSN 0011-5509)

Daily Variety web site at http://www.variety.com

SRDS: Business Publications Rates and Data, Skokie, Ill. : Standard Rate and Data Service, 1991

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