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AOL Launches HuffPost Streaming Video Network
AOL’s Huffington Post launches an Internet-only streaming video network designed to challenge the traditional cable television model.
Veteran broadcast television pundit and author turned Internet entrepreneur Arianna Huffington this week launched HuffPost Live, an Internet-only video network that hopes to disrupt the traditional cable news network model.
Rather than operate as a separate entity, the network will sit alongside the existing HuffingtonPost.com, mimicking the crowdsourced nature of the text-based site by using tools like Google+ Hangouts to bring in amateur and professional commentators for live segments. Led by Huffington Post’s Roy Sekoff and former staff from Reuters, the Onion, and Al-Jazeera, a quick review of the first day of programming reveals an approach that is a more casual version of the roundtable discussions tackling politics, economics, and mainstream news that you might see on MSNBC or CNN.
Lending some of that mainstream cable news credibility to the network’s launch day was MSNBC show host Mika Brzezinski, who appeared on a segment with Huffington.
“When our founding editor Roy Sekoff and Gabriel Lewis, who was helping HuffPost ramp up our video production, came to me with their idea for HuffPost Live – a streaming network that would use HuffPost’s stories, editors, bloggers, and commenters as its real-time script, I knew we had found the right vehicle for bringing HuffPost’s voice, attitude, and disruptive approach to video,” Huffington said in a statement.
Unlike the personality-driven, traditional cable network launched by Oprah Winfrey last year, Huffington’s venture draws a closer comparison to the Internet-native efforts of someone like Leo Laporte and his TWiT network. A refugee from the traditional cable confines of the now-defunct Tech TV, Laporte is proving that an Internet-only video network can work—his company generated $4.2 million in revenue in 2011, and is projected to hit $6 million in 2012. However, with launch sponsors like Verizon and Cadillac, and the power of roughly 37 million monthly unique visitors to its main site, HuffPost Live is likely expecting to do considerably better.
Perhaps the only odd aspect of yesterday’s launch was the absence of any mention of AOL, the Huffington Post’s parent company. AOL’s recent series of ups and downs, fueled in part by rumors surrounding its various subsidiary properties, have dinged its public profile a bit, a situation that might have been helped by a more overt branding connection with the new, well-produced effort from Huffington.
HuffPost Live will stream 12 hours of original programming five days a week, from 10am to 10pm from its studios in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
By Adario Strange, PCMag