Penske Media, which owns trades Variety, Deadline and TVLine, among other media properties, has acquired Gold Derby, Tom O’Neil’s growing awards site. This follows Penske’s purchase last year of Fairchild Fashion Media.
Recognizing that the awards space is lucrative, and that resources could help to build this popular site, which encourages both experts (like me) and amateur awards-watchers to predict the Oscars, Tonys, Emmys and other awards, Penske is betting that he can squeeze more income out of this property.
In some ways Gold Derby is the granddaddy awards site, though it took O’Neil a while to go out on his own to build a web presence. First he took Gold Derby to the LA Times’ Envelope for some years. Both the LA Times and NY Times compete with the trades for awards advertising. Hitfix recently left the lucrative awards fray, setting In Contention’s Kris Tapley free to find another home, likely one of the trades.
The question is how Gold Derby will co-exist with Variety’s soft awards coverage–they have yet to find the right fit for their own online Oscar voice–and Deadline’s cheerful Oscar expert Pete Hammond.
“PMC is the perfect home for Gold Derby for lots of reasons, but one is special: it owns Variety, the publication that inspired the name of my website. To explain, let’s revisit how we got here.
It was back in 1989 that I had the eureka moment that has defined my career ever since. As I stood in the dusty aisles of the creaky old Coliseum Bookstore at 57th Street and Broadway in New York while buying a copy of Inside Oscar, I couldn’t find equivalent books on the Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc.
As a professional journalist looking for my next gig, I immediately recognized this as a thrilling opportunity.
“Wow,” I thought. “We’re such a nation of Oscar snobs that nobody ever bothered to write books on any of these other awards!”
I quickly dove into doing the requisite research full time and startled hustling to get book contracts. Eventually, I struck a deal with Penguin/Putnam to do Variety’s books Movie Awards, The Emmys and The Grammys. When the books came out in the 1990s, I teamed up with E! Entertainment Network to help roll out their red-carpet Oscars/ Emmys/ Globes pre-shows.”
According to Deadline, O’Neil will continue running the side autonomously, although his staffers will become Penske employees.