The Economics of Movie Reviews, or Why So Many Film Critics Continue to Lose Their Jobs

true detective /hannibal / dc movies / snl / mindhole blowers / netflix / celebrity facts / marvel

The Economics of Movie Reviews, or Why So Many Film Critics Continue to Lose Their Jobs

By Dustin Rowles | Think Pieces | June 4, 2014 | Comments ()


A few weeks ago, one of my honest-to-God favorite film critics on the Internet, Eric D. Snider — who has written for a lot of publications over the years (including, on occasion, this one) — tweeted the following:

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 7.38.38 PM.png

I have two jobs. I am the publisher of this site, and I am a writer for Uproxx. When I saw that tweet, my first reaction was as a writer: “Yeah, f**k those guys. There’s value in good writing that goes beyond profits. Respect the craft, motherf*ckers!” But my second thought as a publisher was, “Well, actually, that’s kind of unfair.”

I suspect that Eric was referring to Entertainment Weekly or another corporate-owned publication, but whether it’s a corporate-owned website or an independently one, they are both in the business of either turning a profit or, at the very least, earning enough revenue to keep the doors to their websites open.

As much as the writer in me loathes the sentiment, the publisher in me also understands that a bottom line is a bottom line. I am paid to write for Uproxx, for instance, and though I aim to produce quality content geared toward a particular demographic, I also understand that most of my value as a contributor over there is tied up into my ability to generate traffic and therefore revenue, and thus justify what they pay me. They’re very good at what they do over there (and they have a much better business sense than I’ve got), they’re respectful of our abilities, and they give us the freedom to write what and how we please (within reason). It’s a good gig. Still, though no one on Uproxx has ever told me that my value is tied up in my ability to generate traffic, I have enough common sense to understand that if I cost more money to the company than I can create, my job would not necessarily be safe.

That brings me to the issue of film reviews, and the attitude among some that critics are entitled to be compensated by virtue of being good at their jobs.

I agree! … To an extent.

When I began Pajiba 10 years ago this month, we were exclusively a film review site. A year later, we began to add trade news, and within a couple of years — after I decided to turn Pajiba into my career — we began adding features, lists, celebrity coverage, think pieces, etc., etc. It’s a good thing, too, because the reviews that initially drew in our audience have lost considerable value over the years thanks to the fact that fewer people read film reviews (or any posts over 1,000 words) and instead refer to Metacritic, Twitter, or Rotten Tomatoes to decide whether to see a new movie. (Never mind that Rotten Tomatoes depends on those film reviews in order to generate a Tomatometer score and does not compensate the critics.)

Post-film discussion and response pieces still have a lot of value on the Internet, but the days of turning to your favorite critic to find out whether you should see Transformers: Age of Extinction are long over because most viewers inclined to see that movie know that Transformers: Age of Extinction is going to suck. They’re going to see it anyway. The online value is in talking about why it sucked afterwards.

As a result, while the art of film criticism is still very much appreciated, and on some outlets such as The Dissolve, appreciated enough presumably to turn a profit, for many of us, film reviews are a money loser. Reviews of those smaller, independent and art films that no one watches are particularly money-losers, even though they need reviews the most because, in many cases, it’s the most promotion they will get.

In fact, I can give you the exact figures for Pajiba: Of the 200+ reviews published during the past year, only 21 actually generated enough page views to pay for themselves. Keep in mind, too, that we are not a wealthy site, so we pay little to begin with, and the costs do not even take into account the time and expense it takes one of our writers to see a movie. They’re putting in three to five hours to produce a review, and roughly being paid minimum wage (and not even the Seattle minimum wage — the federal minimum wage). Moreover, probably half of those 21 reviews that made a profit also included some kind of gimmick or “amusing” conceit that attracted a larger readership. (Sadly, the most read review on our site in the last year was not a well-written deconstruction of an excellent art film, but this one: 25 Things I Saw While Watching Grown Ups 2 That I Can’t Unsee.)

This may not be true for all sites, of course, but I suspect that the reason why there is so much turnover in the world of film criticism is that other sites have discovered that there’s much more traffic in writing about Shailene Woodley’s views on feminism/humanism than reviewing The Raid 2. But f*ck those guys, right? How dare they prioritize traffic numbers over the art and sophistry of good film criticism. Clickbaitin’ asshole!

Well, kind of.

I mean, look: We are not a huge, corporate-owned site, and we are solid enough after a decade of plugging away that we could survive a bad month. But we probably couldn’t survive three bad months. The money that is spent staffing Pajiba does not come from a well of corporate profits; like a lot of independent sites, it ultimately comes out of an individual’s bank account (that individual being me). During the past two years, I’ve taken out a loan against the company and liquidated a retirement fund from an old job to ensure I can continue to do this for as long as possible (the twins didn’t help, obviously). No one who writes for this site is earning what they deserve for the time and effort they put into it, so if we don’t review Roman Polanski’s French film, Venus in Fur, in two weeks, it’s not because we’re trying to “save” money. It’s because we can’t afford the loss.

Yet, we still very much have every intention of continuing to review 200-plus films a year. But the reason why we can do that is because the critics here provide a lot more than movie reviews. They don’t just review films; they recap shows, and they cover the trailer beat, and they write pieces on the evolution of superhero movies or rant about Zack Snyder or bitch about Jonah Hill’s homophobic slur. In other words, they earn their value in other ways, while most of the other feature and celebrity writers make up the difference. We absorb the losses because we respect, admire, and appreciate the value of film criticism enough to do so, because we are not greedy, because the critics here love to write film reviews, and because I like to think that our readers appreciate that they exist, even if they are not always well-read. (And damnit, occasionally the reviews even matter in terms of whether or not someone actually watches a movie.)

Still, it sucked that Entertainment Weekly laid off their long-term film critic Owen Gleiberman earlier this year, and it especially smarts because his salary was a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket compared to what Time Warner earns quarterly. But the reason they laid him off was probably the same reason smaller sites such as, Cinematical, or bigger outlets such as AOL, MSN Movies and others have laid off critics over the years. It wasn’t to save money, and it wasn’t because they were bad film critics. It was so they could stop losing money. Critics, as good as they are, and as valuable as they are to some people, are not entitled to the right to sink a company, although it is obviously nice if a site has enough resources to offset the loss and continue to feature film criticism.

So, this is my advice to those who might want to be film critics someday: Learn how to do a lot of other things, even things that you might consider beneath your talents, and maybe one day you can earn enough value with those other tasks to justify the expense of reviewing films. There are not a lot of Roger Eberts left in the world — those who can make a living reviewing films — but there are some Matt Zoller Seitzes and Alyssa Rosenbergs and Mike Ryans and Matt Singers, critics with more to offer than simply film reviews.

It's That Little Souvenir of a Terrible Year: A Pictorial Appreciation of the Man Who Breathed New Life into Game of Thrones | The Significance of 'The Heap,' the Title of Last Night's Episode of 'Fargo'

Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • jasmine nile
  • Roger Reed

    I get that the ability to count clicks allows you to test the cost-effectiveness of each review. Is anyone looking at the bigger picture: the fact that a wide variety of reviews attracts more eyeballs? Thank god the New York Times doesn't follow your business model. And, you said an average of 4 hours at minimum wage = ca. $36. REALLY, that's not affordable?? It sounds to me like the writers are finding this non-cost-effective. [I didn't read ALL the comments, so sorry if this was said elsewhere.]

  • gebrown3226

    ..."the days of turning to your favorite critic to find out whether you should see Transformers: Age of Extinction are long over because most viewers inclined to see that movie know that Transformers: Age of Extinction is going to suck." One of the reasons I don't bother to read reviews anymore is because "critic"'s reactions have become so predictable. "Johnny Depp's in it? It sucks. Wes Andersen is directing it? It's amazing!" When you know beforehand that something is either going to be universally slammed or lauded, why waste time with reviews? Reviews these days are just like Fox News or MSNBC - just ways to validate your own opinion. "God, I hate Roland Emmerich. Look at all those sheep flocking to his movies. I can't wait to see him roasted when the new 'Independence Day' comes out!" "Ooh, I just saw this black and white foreign movie about a lesbian orphan who has cancer. I should go read some reviews and validate how sensitive and intelligent I and the other twelve people in the theater must be." Once reviews stopped surprising me, they lost their value.

  • Rob Grizzly

    Ebert comes from bygone era, though. I wonder, if he hit the scene in today's internet culture, how much longevity he really would have had.

    EDIT: I am also a fan of Eric D Snider

  • lingli

    As someone with small children and not much in the way of babysitters, I don't go to the cinema more than a couple of times a year, and so I usually only click on a film review if it's something that I might see (X-Men: Days of Future Past is probably the only review of a new film I've read here in the past month), or if it's something TK is dousing in vitriol. However, I often come back to Pajiba to check a review if we're watching a film at home. Last night, for example, i watched Hanna* partly because of Michael Murray's review.

    So, in short, I'm sorry that I don't read the reviews as you guys write them, but thank you for archiving them so I can read - and appreciate - them later.

    *I feel I should confess that I didn't watch all of it, because of the aforementioned small children and needing to go to bed, but the review made me stay up later than I meant to, so...

  • JustOP

    Pajiba is pretty much one of my favourite places on the internet because of posts like this. Not to mention, your staff are all insanely talented writers and there's not one whos perspective I don't enjoy reading - no matter what the topic.

    Have you ever thought about incorporating some form of 'donation' button? Something like paypal, or maybe even Patreon? I know I wouldn't mind throwing some money your way every month if it helped the site out.

  • TheFilmBlogger

    Great article. Frankly it surprises me that there are any writers who are still paid solely for their film reviews. I've written for a prominent movie website before, and even for the big tentpole movies, our reviews maybe scored 20,000-30,000 hits if we were lucky, which was basically peanuts in terms of ad revenue. All the money is in features and analysis.

  • Guest

    Long live Pajiba.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    I like all the other content on Pajiba, but I hold the film reviews tight against my cold, slimy, Canadian heart.

  • I can think of a lot of other reasons to not review a Polanski film, but most them revolve around the fact that he's a child molesting rapist.

  • Berry

    Two things: 1. I'm not sure the world is ready for Polanski's take on Venus in Fur. And by the world I mean me. 2. Is it wrong that I always find it inexplicably funny when people on blogs accuse the site of click-baiting, like they've discovered some big secret? "You guys, I think the people writing this thing want us to read their stuff! The horror!" Of course everyone wants clicks, that's how they live or die.

  • This is a good post and it definitely provides a valuable viewpoint as to the business side of the story. As an aspiring critic, I read a lot of this sort of thing, but I also work in the business space and know that the problem you are describing is not unlike many organizations in any industry. In Manufacturing for instance, the production of the actual product is inherently a cost center. But in manufacturing it's a mission critical component of the business, so they can't just get rid of it. They have to do all they can to reduce costs and make processes leaner as to minimize loss as much as possible. The problem I'm seeing is that most editors or publishers do not prioritize or value film criticism because it is not a money-maker, but film criticism produces value in other intangible ways other than hard dollar Return on Investment that are still valuable for the organization. What EW may find is that people will completely give up reading the damn thing now that their most legacy writer has been tossed. Gleiberman's reviews may never have gotten the most pageviews, but EW built their brand on that guy, and it could greatly hurt them in the long run to have lost him. So like any other business with an asset that might be a cost center but a critical one, editors have to figure out either how to make criticism profitable or how to reduce costs as much as possible. This could mean the reviews need to change, the marketing around them needs to change, the industry needs to change, or all of the above. But the only solutions I've seen to this problem are laying off more critics or paying them in simply bylines and exposure. That's why I'm bothered as an aspiring critic, because our work isn't valued by the business even though we produce ROI in intangible ways.

  • I want a gold toilet...

  • Mrs. Julien

    Gold toilets are for closers.

  • zaz_cag

    What's my name? Flush You! That's my name!

  • Coolg82

    Quick question. What qualifies as a "page view"? Is it just the act of clicking a link, or does a like have to have been open for a period of time? I am asking because I do not often read every article due to lack in interest in the subject, but I will start reading it if it helps out.

  • Stevie Oh See

    This is a great post, and as a purveyor of fine reviews myself, I completely understand the sentiment.

    What I find, and as you've indicated, people look for reviews or commentary to validate their own opinions on a film - not to influence whether or not they'll see it. They're still going to go see the most recent X-Men flick and love it, even if the plot is a pile of swiss cheese. Then they get really angry if you have a differing opinion, regardless of how well justified.

    To this end, a lot of reviews have become less about the film and more about the fanatical-type response that can be conveyed in 25 words or less.

    I love Pajiba and keep coming back because the reviews and commentary here is intelligent, witty and generally makes me feel better about life in general - because it validates my way of thinking. So really, my motivations are the same as those I complain about...

  • Alarmjaguar

    Bummer, the movie reviews have always been my favorite (not that I don't appreciate the others)

  • Remy Carreiro

    Nicely put together piece. As a struggling writer for many sites, including my own, it's an issue most don't think about.

  • VohaulsRevenge

    Just wanted to second that this is an excellent and insightful article.

  • Really good piece, fair and true. I am also both content provider and publisher for my site - so I understand the dilemma. It's hard to make money online period. Harder still to get paid as a writer. If you're a site that survives only on ad money from, let's say, movie studios and the film critics are shitting on product from the movie studio it doesn't seem like you can afford to take that loss for very long unless you're the NY Times.

  • meh

    i find my enjoyment of a movie inversely proportional to the number of reviews I've read, so I tend to stay away until AFTER I've seen a movie I want to see. I do go by the Rotten Tomatoes score for consensus which has thankfully steered me away from some shitty product that I was on the fence about. Pajiba is one of the only sites I trust (even when we disagree) to give thoughtful movie reviews rather than what amounts to making fart noises in the general direction of my eyeballs.

    I just people actually go into film school thinking they will come out into employment as a critic? Is that even a thing these days?

  • L.O.V.E.

    Rowles, you can fool your writers and pay them in Benedict Cumberbatch gifs and upvotes, but I know you sit on a throne of gold from your vast Pajiba empire.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    This transparency to your readers is part of what keeps me coming back to this place, great piece.

    But if I may ask, where has Daniel Carlson gone to? Haven't read his reviews around here in a while.

  • As a long-time EW reader I'm a bit concerned about the direction they're going. They've let go a passel of writers and are in the process of opening up to non-staff (read: free) writers in something that smells suspiciously like the HuffPro model. They also yanked their subscription offering from Amazon and are now limiting it to subscription via EW to the tune of ~$65/year, or double the Amazon rate. Intellectually I understand that these decisions may be driven by "change or fold" financial realities. But as a subscriber it's a bit of a bitter pill.

    But I'm guessing the loss of a film critic has more to do with the challenges of getting paid to produce content in general. Much of which links back to the lack of viable revenue options. EW hopes to lower costs while charging more for the product. This model has been tried in the past. It's hard to believe it'll end well.

  • Best boss ever.

  • And a top human at that.

  • TK

    Eh, he's alright.

  • If you'd ever come to the office parties...

  • You all have offices? Damn oligarchs. I write from the dumpster next to the local sewer treatment plant. If I lean tight against the northside wall I can get just enough range to pirate their wifi.

  • When you learn important things like Dumpster is a brand name and is always capitalized, you might one day earn that coveted gray cubical.

  • We all share, except TK, who refuses to leave the basement. There's always a leaky pipe or someone screaming.

  • zeke_the_pig

    As if he'd ever allow the screams. That's just sloppy.

  • He's only made me fill out TPS reports like twice, ever.

  • BWeaves

    OOOOO, nice Office Space reference!

  • Toilet Paper-usage Study?

  • Well he needed data points for his gold toilet, it's true.

  • christiantoto

    The new challenge facing film critics (one of many) is standing out in the crowd. If everyone has a blog and can review movies, why should people give yours a tumble?

  • Some of these critics who are getting canned are established with known voices. The issue, as Dustin hints at, these writers seem to be unwilling to change with the times and expand their output. With so much info out there about entertainment and how its made, limiting your writing to just commentary about the final product makes you less valuable in the effort to feed the Content Monster. Limiting your role that way is just as out of step as a sports writer who refuses to do anything other than write game stories.

  • christiantoto

    great point. When I read my local paper's entertainment coverage it could have been written 20 years ago. Same style. Same approach.Same beats. We don't want to fall into the 'shock over sanity' approach found on too many sites, but writers must consider the market and how they can best serve - and intrigue - their readers in 2014.

  • denesteak

    Man oh man....

    I just want to say that I watched The Raid 2 because of the awesome review Pajiba had on it. So thanks for doing what you do.

  • DarthCorleone

    The main problem for me in terms of clicking on film reviews is that I'm going to the theater so much less these days. It's not that I don't want to go; it's that I have less time, it's more expensive, there are more ways to see the movies just a few months after their release, etc. If I have seen a movie at the theater or if I'm 100 percent certain that I am going to see the movie, I'll *always* read the Pajiba review. If I haven't seen it or intend to see it but want to make that experience as free of reviewer bias (not even spoilers) as I can, I won't read it. Sometimes I come back to the site much later when I finally do see it, but I often forget.

  • BWeaves

    It's nice to hear the behind the scenes view.

    I think this is a much larger problem than just film critics. I think the era of the specialized writer for newspapers may be a thing of the past, when every Tom, Dick and Harry can post his review on his blog. I've seen my local newspaper slowly fire local reporters and instead get national and global stories that I can find anywhere online. I realize that readership is down on the local paper, but they are getting rid so many of the local reporters and editorial content that it becomes self destructive.

    For example, they fired the local food critic and gave his job to the food editor, so she now does both jobs. In addition, I keep seeing national food stories on the front of her section of the paper instead of local information. The downside? Near Thanksgiving, the front page story recommended you take advantage of the weather and store some of your food outside if your fridge is full. Well, that might be fine in Minnesota, but I live in Florida where it is 90F at Thanksgiving. I'm surprised nobody wrote in and said they had food poisoning from following those instructions.

  • I live in MN and storing things on the back porch because the fridge is full is as much a tradition as watching football until our eyes fall out. I can see how that might be a non-starter in FL, though.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    If it's not too much to ask, what are your monthly page views now? or "uniques"? I see this site as a really valuable place, but you are right - if it can't keep the lights on, then something has to change.

  • pajiba

    We're not really in any danger of losing with lights! I promise.

    (and about 4.5 million to 5 million, depending on whether GoT is on or if Paul Rudd is making the talk show rounds)

  • cox

    i dont want to sound sappy and stuff, but this place means a lot to me. you taking loans to keep it going just feels wrong. can we help? sweep the floors, click on a ad once in a while? really, ask away. i think most of the regulars would pitch in if we knew how.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Fuck, you mean millions of people may be reading my comments about John Hamm's penis, and the Chola painting Kanye West bought for his bride, and how I used to sell porn to classmates as an elementary school student? I thought there was, like, only 30 of us on this site.

    Um, please take your computer with my real name and email address and throw it into a pit of magnets. Thanks.

  • zeke_the_pig

    You know that also means that potential millions are waiting for the porno we said we'd produce about two years ago or whenever it was.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I KNOW I AM!

  • emmalita

    Millions of people are judging you. Silently.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Shut up, Mom! You don't know!

  • emmalita

    You can't tell me to shut up! I'm not your real mom!

  • $78742978

    Fixed it for you:

    "So, this is my advice to those who might want to be (anything) someday: Learn how to do a lot of other things, even things that you might consider beneath your talents, and maybe one day you can earn enough value with those other tasks to justify the expense of (what you actually want to do)."

    Great, insightful article, thanks!

  • Maydays

    I agree that the "online value is in talking about why it sucked aftewards". At this stage in my life with a job and two kids I don't get to see many movies, so I'm usually pretty solid on my must-see list. But I always read the review here afterwards to see if the reviewer and commenters agreed with my personal feelings. One of the things I like so much about Pajiba is feeling like it's a site where I see my tone and views reflected, so if someone agrees with me that feels nice, and if someone disagrees I really try to see it from their viewpoint instead of going "WELL OF COURSE FOX NEWS THOUGHT GROWN UPS WAS AWESOME, STUPID ASSHOLES."

    The exception is kids' movies. I always read the full review here before taking the buggers to find out if it's going to be good/awful/inappropriate/scary/mind-numbing.

  • bastich

    Nice one, Dustin. Thanks for letting us see a bit behind the scenes.

    Also, Happy Tenth Anniversary!

  • zeke_the_pig

    Second. Long live Pajiba.

  • John W

    Depending on the movie I may or may not read a review of it.

    For example I don't need to read a review of an Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, or Seth McFarlane movie because I already know what to expect.

    Don't generally read reviews of movies with numbers after the title or a sequel of a long running series. I can pretty much tell you what's going to happen in the next James Bond movie even thought they haven't even cast it yet.

    I prefer reviews that are concise and to the point. I hate when reviews don't talk about the movie itself but some other thing for example almost every review of 10 Years A Slave was about how bad slavery was as if I didn't already know this and needed reminding. Was the movie any good? Who was in it besides Chiwetel Ejifor?

    I do use sites like Rotten Tomatoes to get a general sense of the quality of the movie but I will try and seek out a review from trusted sites like Pajiba.

  • Part of the problem -- as I see it -- is that movie reviewing/film criticism has become less and less important to the bigger movies. Audiences either respond or don't to a particular movie's onslaught of ads. For example, no review is keeping me from putting up my $13.50 for an IMAX 3D showing of How to Train Your Dragon 2. That's just going to happen. Likewise, it would take an avalanche of good reviews to make me think Transformers 4 is worth any of my time or money. (Aside: that said, I did avoid A Million Ways to Die in the West thanks to your review).

    So if the value of a film review has gone down to the audience, then it's not surprising that publishers will look to reflect that.

  • Tom

    Oh no, I am part of the problem! Gasp! A couple of weeks ago my wife and I watched "About Time". She had wanted to see it for a while and I knew, from reading this site, that "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds provided a bit of a thematic backdrop. I also knew that it would make her cry. So after the movie (and the crying) I went to find Dustin's review to read what he said about the crying and the Ben Folds and the calling his wife when I realized that I had never read the review. I got all that information from various "Here are a few good recent indie movies" pieces over the past year.

  • Maydays

    How funny! While reading this I was thinking "Dustin must wonder why there is one random click on 'About Time' this week since it's clearly been out long enough for the whole planet to see it." I just watched it on Saturday and then came right here to see what everyone else thought about it. I liked it and I tend to hate romances, so I wanted to validate that a professional didn't think it was crap.

  • Lee

    I read click film review pages for the comments as much as the review itself.

    And re. 'Grown Ups 2' being the clickiest review over the past year, I guess we are snarkaholics around here. It's so much more fun reading a piece of shit movie being taken apart than a deadly serious review. My fave reviews over the past few years were the Sex and City 2 reviews, for the giggle factor alone :). I"m shallow like that.

  • calliope1975

    I did the same two days ago after watching "About Time." Two random clicks!

  • Mrs. Julien

    I often do that after seeing a movie as well.

  • Miss Jane

    Film criticism used to be one of those rarefied professions, but with the advent of the internet it's now merely a commodity. Even with sites like Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic, it's not individual analysis that is important but a compilation of all assessments making the whole far greater than the parts.

    However, while it might represent a loss to continue to provide film reviews it should be looked at as a loss leader as I can't imagine a site the provides entertainment news to not offer some film reviews. That you don't get studio money (not that I can tell anyway) should be a point in your favor in terms of credibility and might be an interesting way to position your writing.

    I am such a business nerd...

  • Abby Cadabby

    Thanks for the insight, Dustin. It was really interesting/depressing. I started reading Pajiba way back when because of how comprehensive this site was in terms of film reviews. I loved that I could read a real (as in not a 1 paragraph blurb) about nearly every film out and enjoyed being in the company of people as obsessed as I am. I totally understand why that is not always feasible.

    RE Owen Gleiberman - I have subscribed to Entertainment Weekly for eons and his departure didn't really sadden me. I never really liked the monopoly he and Lisa had on every big film that came out and frankly wasn't overly interested in either of their opinions. It just gets to the point where you already know what they think about a film because you are so used to their perspective. I prefer the idea of mixing it up (a la Pajiba!) where you aren't always guaranteed to get the same reviewer's take on a notable release.

    Keep fighting the good fight to stay up and running. I don't know how to be "internet fast" at breaking stories, but I'd love to contribute content any way I can. Maybe someday I'll find my nerve and write you.

  • The part that bothered me about Gleiberman's departure was that Time Warner has far deeper pockets that Pajiba, could have transitioned him to another role, and was already in the process of employing unpaid writers to fill holes. For a major outlet like EW to replace longtime hires with what amounts to unpaid interns, while a common practice, still rankles.

  • This is excellent.

  • seannyd

    Sort of off topic, but it's something I've been wondering: If I ready this site primarily off of something like Feedly, is there any benefit to you guys? Am I essentially robbing your site of an otherwise revenue-generating pageview?

  • Ruthie O

    I also consume most of my Internet content from Feedly (and Google Reader before its untimely demise), but I ALWAYS click to go to the website for Pajiba articles. The writing on Pajiba makes the site great, but that coupled with the comments make it one of the best.

    More directly to your question, Offbeat Empire answered the same one over there, and they confirmed that reading exclusively on an RSS reader does rob a site of page views:

  • Hrefna

    I don't comment here nearly enough ( almost never in fact) though I love to read here, but having read this I just had to look up my Discus password to say thanks. I love your honesty and clear headedness, it's what always brings be back to Pajiba when I've been seduced away by Vulture and Hollywood Elsewhere :-D

  • Green Lantern

    We will (usually) always welcome you back.

  • Agreed!

  • Lee


  • Mrs. Julien

    I always love it when we get to pay attention to that man behind the curtain.

  • Bananaranma

    On one episode of Jon Favreau's excellent series, Dinner for Five (now available in its entirety on Youtube), Illeana Douglas posed a very similar question.

    Hasn't Martin Scorsese earned the right as an artist of superlative talent to make whatever film he wants? The uneasy consensus among the actor and directors present was that no, it doesn't. Just as Dustin says above, the film is being bankrolled by a company looking for a profit or at least enough money to keep the lights on.

    The shotgun marriage between art and commerce far too often shoots the foot off the artist.

  • Nox

    I believe that commerce has suffered far worse by unprofitable artists over the years then the other way around.

    The amount that has been thrown away with out any profit (from a commerce point of view) far exceeds the profits gained. Hence the need to give tax breaks to any company that wants to give money to any commerce foot shooting artists out there.

  • Danny

    I would reply "Hopefully he's rich enough at this point to finance whatever film he wants himself". His movies have made so much money for so long that if he wants to do a money-loser, he can do it himself.

  • Bananaranma

    Or he could choose the path of the Coen Bros, Woody Allen and Wes Anderson...make movies for $15-$20M that make $30M then shoot whatever the hell you want.

    The problem lies in wanting to do anything under the sun. I'm sure Dustin and Co would love to review every Blue is the Warmest Color and Mud out there but the lack of click traffic would bankrupt the site. Likewise, an artist may want to shoot anything they could imagine but it wouldn't be financially feasible.

blog comments powered by Disqus