The news that Jay Penske’s PMC bought Variety in an auction for $25 million has unsurprisingly unleashed the theme that upstart disruptor “Nikki Finke” vanquished Variety while comfortably typing in her underwear from her own bedroom. Finke deserves credit for that and it’s a great story.
The media establishment that writes about the TV business doesn’t write nearly as much about Michael Ausiello or his TVLine site which is also under Penske’s PMC umbrella. But I’m a numbers junkie with a very healthy respect for big scale, things that scale big fast, and things that scale big efficiently. Hard work that produces great results? I have a lot of respect for that and that's pretty much TVLine’s story. Maybe that's not interesting enough of an angle to get much ink in the trades, but the results are most impressive.
The chart below isn’t very easy to read but the top orange line is hollywoodreporter.com, the second line is tvline.com, the third line is deadline.com and the last line is hitfix.com.
If TVLine had been around for five years I’d still be darn impressed. But IT HAS DONE THIS IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS! Less than two years! In less than 2 years, TVLine nearly has as many page views as The Hollywood Reporter. Though THR actually has a huge lead when it comes to the number of people visiting its site, TVLine’s readers are far more engaged than THR’s.
TVLine has a mere six FTEs (full-time equivalent employees) plus some support from parent company PMC. THR has dozens of editors and staff. Of course, it also has a print publication, but still… it has more than a dozen editors just in its TV editorial group.
I included Deadline in the chart above because of the sibling nature, but Deadline isn’t a great comparison since it’s a trade rather than a general entertainment site. Deadline specifically targets trade advertising dollars, so those rooting against Finke & Deadline and seeing a ray of hope in the above chart are going to be disappointed. Deadline's efficiency is impressive too. But still, TVLine is approaching nearly double Deadline’s page views in less than two years and valid comparison or not, it’s eye-popping.
Quantcast limits comparisons like the one above to four sites at a time so I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there are entertainment sites with more traffic -- our partner Zap2it and Ausiello’s former EW among them. Those sites are doing great, but what impresses me most about TVLine’s trajectory is that it hasn’t even been around for two years and unlike sites like THR, Hitfix and Deadline, TVLine only focuses on the TV space rather than the broader entertainment space. By comparison the other sites listed above cover the broader entertainment space and have been around longer - Deadline since 2006 and HitFix since late 2008.
Congrats to Michael Ausiello and the TVLine team on their impressive traffic.