Reed Business Information recently announced its plans to sell Variety, the Hollywood industry daily and weekly newsletter that’s made a success of online subscription sales in recent years.Reed said the proposed sale stems from the company’s decision to focus on data services in the B2B niche, although Variety has also had it share of troubles — in 2010 the publication cut eight staff positions, including two of its best-known writers.Variety has the difficult job of competing in a niche market where free information is all too readily available. The site had 632,000 unique visitors last month compared with 5 million for HollywoodReporter.com, according to ComScore. Yet, the company was able to grow its revenue in the past year or so not only through online subscriptions, but also through conferences and events, with more than 30 events scheduled for this year. The company also created the Variety Insight data tracker, a data service that Reed is curiously willing to let go.This makes Variety a mixed bet for any acquirer. Some best practices (including a better conversion page than this and more data-driven services) could allow the trade publication to reclaim its title as industry bible, read by industry leaders willing to pay for the information they need to be successful. But bad leadership is likely to devolve the iconic brand into a free website competing with other Hollywood sites covering both gossip and business news.