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ABC Considers Major Online Newscast Overhaul; CBS Looks To CNET, Celebs For Boost

When it comes to all the tropes the broadcast networks continue to cling to, the national evening news shows are arguably the most in need of drastic change. As the shows’ millions viewers are getting older and older, ad support is dwindling. While the networks’ online versions of the nightly news were meant to invigorate the stale productions and attract younger viewers, it turns out that the webcasts are struggling as well. David Westin, ABC’s news-division president, tells WSJ that the Disney-owned network isn’t ready to pull the plug on the two-year-old World News webcasts, but ABC is clearly groping for ways to make its online news relevant. Westin: “I want to look at it and say, ‘What have we learned from it?’ ‘How can we reconfigure it?’ ‘What can we do better?'”

ABC’s numbers: Last Monday, internal traffic showed logged 7.8 million pageviews, though the company claims it averages about 8.4 million. Within that, the 15-minute World News webcast got 145,000 hits, while three million clicks went to the news site’s photo gallery featuring shots of celebrities and “the pregnant man.” Though general hard news has been met with indifference, sections devoted to health and politics have been relative bright spots, suggesting that ABC might try to focus on niche verticals.

CBS’ (NYSE: CBS) solution: celebs and tech: CBS plans to overhaul its online news with some assistance from CNET (NSDQ: CNET) once the merger closes. And noticing the same insatiable appetite for celebrity news, CBS Interactive promises to deliver more of that kind of coverage with a new destination due “in coming weeks.”