A Look at TVLine

Photo (cc) 2007 by Arnold Chao

I’m very fortunate, as someone who operates an entertainment news blog, that there are so many well-respected, trusted publications that focus on my topic. It makes for a lot of competition, but also for a lot of major sources.

Of all the major entertainment news publications out there, the one that I’ve spent the most time reading is probably TV Line. I discovered TV Line when it first started in 2011. I’d been reading writer Michael Ausiello at TV Guide and discovered that he was leaving to found a new site, so I followed him. The website has a relatively narrow focus. Unlike something like Entertainment Weekly, it just reports on television. It is and always has been online-only.

As can be ascertained from the bottom of the site, it’s published and owned by the Penske Media Corporation, or PMC, which is also responsible for media like Deadline, Variety, Hollywood Life, BGR and FN.

On PMC’s website, they describe themselves as “a leading digital media, publishing, and information services company” and say that they publish over 20 digital media brands. PNC has headquarters in both Los Angeles and New York City.

According to the TVLine profile on Whois.com, their domain name is registered through Enom, Inc. It’s registered to PMC at 11175 Santa Monica Blvd in L.A.

There is not print version of TVLine, so they generate no revenue from print advertising. There is also no paywall; the entire site is free. I have never seen native advertising on the site. The only revenue source I have been able find and confirm is traditional online advertising. They often have large themed ads that take up the sides and top of the page and focus on one particular show. The ads on the site are almost exclusively for television shows. 

I like it because they have a good variety of types of content, from recaps to interviews with notable stars to breaking news. I like that they seem to always have the story. When something happens in the television world, it’s always on their website quickly. There’s strong journalism at TVLine in terms of writing and interviews. When they do interviews, they’re able to get access to the kinds of people readers care about, which doesn’t always happen on smaller sites. However, they are small enough that you can easily read everything that gets published. That makes the site seem manageable and focused.

They could do better in terms of focusing on shows and networks equally. They tend to pick certain TV shows that they like and focus a lot of coverage on them. Some shows get disproportionate amounts of coverage, sometimes because they’re on more major stations or are more popular shows, but sometimes for no discernible reason. 

I think TVLine does a good but fairly average job engaging with readers. The writers and editors share the stories on their social media accounts, and there’s a comments section on all stories that usually has hundred of replies. I don’t think they TVLine anything particularly above and beyond the norm for digital news sites. However, writers and editors do sometimes reply directly to comments to answer questions or discuss aspect of the story, which I think is a nice step towards encourage dialogue.


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