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David Poland

By David Poland

New Boss, Not Quite The Same As The Old Boss

Anne Thompson moves from Variety to indieWIRE and a new experiment begins.
While Nikki Finke talks about turning her blog into a website by September – we’ll see what it becomes… my guess is still pretty much the same… more pages to view… more freelancers – and Sharon Waxman tries to get the exclusive scoop on whether Michael Jackson washed his hands every time he changed Bubbles’ diapers so she can create ad revenue that hasn’t much shown itself yet, Anne is doing something similar to what Nikki did at Village Voice Media’s LA Weekly, to much more success for Nikki than for VVM.
indieWIRE’s Oscar-season profile – in terms of ad sales – is good, but not great. As we head into another season, Oscar is the Holy Grail of movie site ads. Sites with access to voters get premium prices. Enter Anne.
With Ted Leonsis in fiscal control and spending, indieWIRE is now getting serious about selling ad space. And this will be the ad team’s first really big test. Even before Anne’s arrival, indieWIRE’s media kit’s first image is an Oscar statue in a screen grab of an Oscar story.
So the question – Can indieWIRE convert Anne in to at least $150,000 in ad sales this season? I would estimate that this is the figure at which both sides are happy in the marriage.
Keep in mind, it is likely more than Nikki ever earned for Village Voice Media in a given year. They aren’t going to get there on page views and normal CPMs.
If you are a critic or a writer, you should – as I am – be rooting for Anne and indieWIRE to succeed in this ambition because it suggests more potential than there seems to be out there right now for a lot of high-profile, high-quality writers. The potential for more writers without organized sales efforts earning $50,000 or more (or less) becomes real if this works.
Of course, there is the odd flip side. If Anne becomes the biggest single earner at indieWIRE – which is possible – what does that say about spending to support infrastructure if one person can draw such a high percentage of a site’s revenues?
No doubt, the folks at indieWIRE get this better and have more of an interest in experimenting than Variety did… at least after Charlie Koones left.
Let the games begin.

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