NYT Takes Some Shots at Variety

“Can a movie database help save Variety?”

So begins Brooks BarnesNew York Times piece about the trade’s launch of a new paid service called FlixTracker, first reported by Fast Company.

The folks at Variety would of course counter that their publication does not need saving, and that the paywall is working out just fine. But the tone of the NYT piece is most definitely skeptical, continuing straight through into paragraph two:

The venerable trade newspaper is a shadow of its former self, eclipsed in the Hollywood media hierarchy by feisty blogs (principally Deadline.com) and starved of ad revenue by cost-cutting studios. Neil Stiles, president of the Variety Group, is nevertheless optimistic that its fortunes will improve–he said in an interview, for instance, that he expected Oscar-related ad sales to be “very, very marginally up.” But it’s tough going.

FlixTracker was developed by Mark Hoebich, who previously sold to Variety the similar small screen database application TVTracker. It will be followed in the first quarter of 2012 by IncentivesTracker, which is designed to help industry folk keep abreast of the various state and international film production tax breaks.