Add another name to the paywall list: TheWrap, journalist Sharon Waxman’s nine-year-old Hollywood publication, is building a subscription product by buying a subscription site.
TheWrap has acquired VideoInk, a niche pub covering the ins and outs of digital media, and the digital video business in particular. VideoInk, which currently sells subscriptions for $30 per month, will keep operating under its current brand for now, but Waxman plans on eventually morphing it into a new brand, which she’ll call Wrap Pro.
Jocelyn Johnson, who founded VideoInk five years ago and has turned it into a site that often generates industry scoops, will go to work for Waxman, along with writer Matt Lopez. Waxman won’t disclose the sale price, but says she paid for the purchase with stock.
Waxman says she’ll keep her main site free but will use Wrap Pro to offer exclusive content to readers who care about the entertainment industry, along with other goodies like free access to or discounted tickets to gatherings she is hosting as part of a growing events business.
Waxman’s logic for adding a subscription business to her free site, which she says attracts 10 million visitors a month, is a now-common refrain: She worries that the digital advertising business, now dominated by Google and Facebook, doesn’t work for sites her size, which has bulked up from its trade roots by generating lots of general-interest entertainment content.
The flip side of that argument: Now that it’s increasingly common for digital publications to sell subscriptions for their stuff, it will get harder to sell subscriptions for their stuff. Waxman’s commonsense answer: “It’s our job to make what we’re offering really worthwhile, really valuable, and really produce a benefit to our members.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.