Where Did All Those @Variety Twitter Followers Come From?

That’s a question that caught the attention of Hollywood trade watchers late Friday thanks to Ben Dreyfuss, engagement editor for Mother Jones. He noticed and shared that in late September, the follower count for Jay Penske’s publishing concern had a “boffo” day.

What may shock you even more is how cheap something like this is to pull off. Check out for example the prices from this instant-popularity purveyor; they suggest Variety’s early fall surge could have cost as little as $500.

The Hollywood Reporter currently leads all trades with just over 775,000 Twitter followers. Meanwhile, we think a service like the one referenced above should have way more than 1,122 Twitter followers. That’s the equivalent of refusing to endorse your own product.

Update (11:15 a.m.):
We have spoken to a Twitter marketing specialist who suggested a couple of other more above-board possibilities: “My gut feeling is PMC either spent a lot of money (probably $35-50K+) on a 24-hour Promoted Account blast, or, more likely, had a Promoted Trend in place that day ($200K+ for the U.S. alone). Or both.”

Our expert also points out that after this gigantic late September bump and the addition of another 30,000 followers on Oct. 1, @Variety lost some 42,000 followers Oct. 4-12.