Circa News is making a comeback. The mobile-focused news site, which was forced to close in June, was given a new lease of life on Monday as Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it acquired Circa for $800,000 in August. Sinclair now has big plans to relaunch the service.
Central to these plans is the hiring of John Solomon as chief creative officer, who used to be the vice president for content and business development at the Washington Times. Solomon told the Wall Street Journal the company plans to bring on 70 journalists, with the relaunch focusing on original reporting rather than aggregated content.
"Circa's focus will be on issues trending from around the country, delivered in an independent-minded style, with a heavy focus on short and long form video, optimized for mobile and social media engagement," said Solomon.
Circa is expected to make a comeback in spring 2016, with its new-found backing from the U.S.' largest local news publisher. The site reached 300,000 users on mobile at its high point during three years of operation, and Sinclair has high hopes for the relaunch.
"The Circa app will be re-designed, re-imagined and re-launched as one of the most innovative news gathering, reporting and audience-building digital platforms," said Rob Weisbord, chief operating officer of Sinclair's Digital Group.
The original team's plan was to start monetizing through a complex plan, but the failure to secure an investment meant it wasn't to be. Co-founder Matt Galligan said at the time of closure that simple solutions like advertising did not fit well with the company vision. "We never felt like any of the simplest solutions would pair well with the high-quality experience we wished to achieve," he said.