TBD is a web publication focusing on news, sports, and events in the Washington DC region, and was launched on August 9, 2010. One portion of their strategy was to incorporate a network of DC area bloggers (the “Community Network”) into the site. Despite staff changes over the past six months, TBD and Albritton have publicly said they will continue the TBD experiment. Today’s news also revealed that TBD will “become a niche site on arts and entertainment.” (Disclaimer: my site ShowBizRadio.net is a member of the TBD community network, and will apparently be a partial competitor to the next incarnation of TBD.)
With today’s announcement, it looks like TBD as a general news site will be gone forever. I wonder if the TBD.com web site was a success? Last week, WJLA General Manager Bill Lord said “We need to be more cost conscious, and we need more page views.” (Source: Poynter.org) Should that success be measured by the number of people reading the site? Here are a few charts created using publicly available statistics at Compete.com. I compared TBD.com with the other three DC area television stations NBCWashington.com, WUSA9.com and MyFoxDC.com. Click each chart to see a larger version.
What I’m seeing on these charts is that TBD.com, after only six months, was beating the other three local television stations’ web sites in both traffic (both unique visitors, and the number of visits to the site). I’m not really sure what Mr. Lord is concerned about. Albritton’s decision to inflict layoffs to TBD makes no sense at all, unless he was simply using “page views” as a smoke screen for employee costs.
It appears to me that the TBD model for local news reporting was successful. It’s a shame that Albritton is apparently cutting off their nose to spite their face.