Less than three years after Sinclair relaunched video news website Circa, the broadcast group is shutting down the site.
Sinclair confirmed the move to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple and called it an “extremely difficult decision.”
“The digital space continues to change rapidly, and even larger outlets have faced significant challenges. As a smaller publisher, the environment is even more onerous, and while we see new business and storytelling opportunities with digital video and OTT, they do not require the daily publishing of a website,” Sinclair said in a statement obtained by Wemple.
Sinclair’s focus in terms of digital video is likely on STIRR, the ad-supported video streaming service Sinclair launched earlier this year.
In addition to aggregating digital networks including BUZZR, Charge, Cheddar, Comet, CONtv, Dove Channel, DUST, FailArmy and Futurism, STIRR has also developed original channels, including STIRR Movies, STIRR Sports, STIRR Life and STIRR CITY—a channel that will curate live local news, local and regional sports, entertainment and city-focused lifestyle programming provided by the local Sinclair TV station in that city.
“We are entering a new era of broadcast television and our number one priority at Sinclair is to help advance the industry and increase access to broadcast content in the midst of a digital age,” said Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley in a statement. “With the launch of STIRR, we intend to offer audiences an easy, convenient and free way to watch live local and national channels, as well access a deep selection of on-demand programming.”
Sinclair acquired Circa in 2015 and officially relaunched the site in July 2016. Last year, the company instituted some restructuring and launched a live news app at Circa while at the same time cutting jobs at the site. The live news app was built to complement breaking news stories from Sinclair's National News Desk in Washington, D.C., and was able to use content from Sinclair’s more than 70 local newsrooms.