In the midst of Gawker Media’s consolidation and layoffs, a trio of editors from its Hollywood-centric site Defamer got pushed out. The editors (Seth Abramovitch, Kyle Buchanan and S.T. VanAirsdale) are hoping that readers will follow them over to Movieline.com, the new entertainment property backed by Mail.com Media Corp (MMC). Universal Pictures is the site’s first sponsor; ads for the upcoming film State of Play will run for this first week.
Movieline.com offers industry news, celebrity interviews, and, of course, Hollywood gossip; the site will co-exist with MMC’s other entertainment properties like HollywoodLife.net and the Young Hollywood Awards. The trio of editors got a stake in the business as part of the deal, something Abramovitch (pictured) said they couldn’t pass up: “By the time we were leaving Defamer, we felt like we didn’t have ownership ideologically, but also literally. So this was very appealing.”
I asked him whether that meant they’d also be under pressure to generate page views and unique visits — particularly in a vertical that’s crowded with pure-play gossip blogs like TMZ, as well as sites like Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily and Sharon Waxman’s TheWrap.com — but he said that MMC was banking on long-term growth, not quick buzz. “We’re not looking to wow people with scandalous headlines; the goal is to build a steady audience that comes because they’re drawn to our voices.” Abramovitch said MMC would be promoting Movieline through its Mail.com email service, on its sister sites, as well as through partnerships with companies like *AOL* and *Yahoo*. MMC acquired both the Movieline and Hollywood Life brands in September 2008.