So, TBD as a general local news site was killed today, and it’s on its way to becoming a niche arts and entertainment site with a much smaller staff.
The reasons for the cuts: financial, we’ve heard. In fact, last week WJLA manager Bill Lord, who was put in charge of TBD earlier this month, told Poynter:
“‘We need to be more cost conscious, and we need more page views.”
But if that’s the case, then WJLA has some ‘splainin’ to do, says blogger Michael Boyd Clark (who is a member of the TBD community network of bloggers).
He put together some charts measuring TBD.com’s traffic against its likely competitors–the three other TV stations in the Washington, DC area. In less than six months, the charts show, TBD was beating its competitors in both unique and total monthly pageviews.
But hey, maybe Allbritton didn’t consider other TV stations websites to be its competition. Maybe TBD was trying to compete with other news outlets, like the Washington City Paper or DCist.
We ran our own chart:
Pageviews of course aren’t the only metric. If they’re achieved at high cost (i.e. if TBD’s numbers require twice or three times the staff of its competitors) we can still understand why Lord would want to cut staff. But the numbers do limn today’s news in another light.