Huffington Post rolls out in Germany

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group

Story highlights

  • Huffington Post is starting a German edition in September
  • It's the seventh international launch for the AOL-owned site
  • Partnerships and editions are planned for eight additional countries

The Huffington Post is planting its flag in Germany, striking a partnership with Burda's Tomorrow Focus to bring its mix of news, blogging and social commenting to readers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The start of a German edition, timed for the country's elections in September, would become the seventh international launch for the splashy online news and commentary site owned by AOL as it sets to build a global new media empire.

Since expanding its footprint to Canada and the UK in 2011, the Huffington Post has joined with prominent media companies to launch non-English editions in France, Spain and Italy.

Editions and partnerships are in the works for Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, South Korea, Morocco, Mexico and Australia.

"The international expansion has been a dream of mine from the beginning," Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, told the Financial Times. "We are taking the HuffPo editorial and technology DNA everywhere. We also are creating a group of international bureaus that can work together on stories."

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The Huffington Post's global expansion stands in contrasts with traditional news organisations that are bleeding revenues and cutting staff.

The Huffington Post has not turned a profit since it was acquired by AOL for $315m in 2011, but executives said traffic and ad revenues were growing. The site would make money, they said, if it weren't building new ventures such as the international editions and digital video. AOL reports earnings on Friday.

"One of our strategies has been to invest inside the disruption," said Tim Armstrong, AOL's chief executive. "That strategy, although it looked overly bold, allows us to get into some interesting areas."

Each international outpost -- outside Canada and the UK -- is set up as a joint venture, where the Huffington Post contributes its technology system and the traditional media outlet contributes its promotional power and understanding of the market as well as its ad sales team.

Together, the groups hire an editorial team of about 12 people, usually led by a prominent Ms Huffington-like figure, such as prominent French journalist Anne Sinclair for the Huffington Post's French outpost.

The Huffington Post spends no more than $2m per market and splits the costs and the profits with its partners, said Jimmy Maymann, chief executive of the Huffington Post Media Group.

Executives at Tomorrow Focus and Le Monde, which is working with the

Huffington Post in France, said that they decided to link up with the Huffington Post rather than go it alone so that they could tap into the new media group's tech knowhow.

"We are looking for a scalable model for news portals of the future," said Christoph Schuh, a member of the management board of Tomorrow Focus.

The joint venture comes as the Huffington Post has agreed to a distribution deal with Mark Cuban's AXS TV network in the US to repurpose its live online video content for cable television.

HuffPo Live, which launched last August and has been dubbed the CNN for the digital age, airs online. But under the deal with AXS, it will broadcast six hours a day on AXS TV, which is available in 41m US homes. "We're in an era where social media drives live TV and live TV drives social media," said Mr Cuban, who owns and operates AXS, with partners that include Ryan Seacrest, Anschutz Entertainment Group and Creative Artists Agency.

For HuffPo Live, the deal gives the nascent operation access to new viewers -- and potentially more lucrative advertising partners.

The convergence of online video and traditional TV is accelerating, said Roy Sekoff, president and co-founder of HuffPo Live. "We want people to engage with our programming.

If we can create that next generation news network . . . that's a great place to be."

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