After four years at Hitfix.com—which decided bizarrely, oddly, to get out of the awards
business last month in order to focus on chasing traffic—their four-year awards blogger Kris Tapley is moving his must-read In Contention brand to Variety
, as expected.
That’s because Variety needed him the most. Astonishingly, the venerable trade has never found a voice to cover awards online, even after it was acquired by web-savvy Penske Media
. Now Variety has someone to compete with the likes of The Wrap’s Steve Pond, The Hollywood Reporter’s Steve Feinberg and sister Penske site Deadline’s Pete Hammond (not to mention Indiewire’s TOH).
Not insignificantly, Penske recently acquired Tom O’Neil’s Gold Derby site, which will showcase content from the media properties that are reliant on awards advertising from Oscars and Emmys. It’s a lot easier to land lucrative premium awards advertising when you can offer bundled display inventory across multiple properties.
Variety made the announcement Monday that Tapley has joined the trade staff as co-awards editor, supporting awards coverage with daily posts at In Contention as well as a weekly column for the print weekly, working closely with Variety awards editor Tom Gray and deputy awards editor Jenelle Riley and reporting to co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller. They could use his knowledge of the digital sphere. Like departing Variety critic Scott Foundas, who is joining Amazon Studios later this month, Tapley will start his new job at the Telluride Film Festival.
Tapley launched InContention.com in 2005 and took it to Hitfix.com in 2011. When I was deputy editor of Variety.com in 2007, working with Dana Harris (now Indiewire editor-in-chief), we brought Tapley on to do online awards analysis. Starting in 2008, Tapley showcased London critic Guy Lodge for six years at In Contention until Variety brought him on as a contract reviewer in 2014, covering the UK beat and European festivals. Now the underutilized Lodge will also be able to rejoin Tapley on the blog, which will make many awards campaigners throw up their hands and cheer.
Whether Tapley will ever do another Oscar Talk podcast –which we did together for five years–remains to be seen. (My new podcast partner at Screen Talk year-round is Indiewire’s Eric Kohn.)