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Variety to launch Web site

The entertainment industry bible plans to join its print colleagues online by year's end, sources say.

Variety magazine, a bible for much of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, is quietly planning to launch a Web site by year's end that includes free and pay-per-view content, industry sources said today.

It is the latest example of a print media company venturing onto the Web--this time with paid content. With its move online to a paid-subscription site, Variety joins others such as the Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney, Playboy, and its entertainment-oriented rival, the Hollywood Reporter. The venture also shows the blending of Hollywood with Silicon Valley technology, affectionately known as Siliwood. More entertainment-industry executives are carrying laptops with them, not to mention turning to computers to produce movies, television programs, and commercials.

"The Internet is expanding into the Hollywood community, and more people are getting comfortable with it," said a source familiar with Variety's plans.

Variety executives wouldn't comment on their plans, although the Web address www.variety.com reads "Variety.com: coming this fall."

Sources said the company plans to launch the site late next month, although the date could slip into December. The free portion of the site will include more consumer-oriented content, featuring snippets from Variety stories that have mass appeal, including columns and abbreviated box-office charts.

The paid portion will feature the full text of Daily Variety stories, a search index, an archive, and some original online content. It will be geared more toward the business-to-business market.

Pricing is expected to include a discount for users who sign up early, and a lower rate for those who receive both the print and online versions--akin to the pricing strategy for the Wall Street Journal.

Variety is following in the footsteps of rival the Hollywood Reporter in offering online content. The free part of the Reporter's site includes a summary of the industry's top stories of the day. To access the full text, users pay $9.95 per month.

Variety's weekly edition has a circulation of 35,000, while the daily edition has a circulation of 28,000.