The long-awaited local version of opinion news site Huffington Post looks finally set to happen in the second-half of 2015 after the announcement that Fairfax would become its local media partner.
Although the exact particulars of the JV are unclear, it’s thought Fairfax would provide the news site with tech and sales support. A press release on the partnership said: “HuffPost and Fairfax will establish a team of independent editors and reporters based in Sydney”.
Speaking in the Fairfax press today, the site’s editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, and its chief executive, Jimmy Maymann, said Australia’s economic clout and a savviness for digital media made it an obvious choice for a localised version.
“Australia is a very attractive destination for us from a commercial point of view,” Maymann told Fairfax. “It is a very established digital economy with a still-emerging digital media landscape. Australians are very well-connected, with the sixth highest rate of internet penetration in the world, and 85 per cent smartphone penetration.
“There is also a significant shift under way in Australia’s advertising landscape, with online advertising spend forecast to considerably outpace all other advertising, particularly from mobile spend, which is still significantly under-indexed with considerable room for growth,” he said.
Arianna Huffington agreed there was already a host of good sites vying for Australian audiences and said that was both a challenge and an opportunity for the local version.
“As we expand, we’re careful to do it while staying true to our core DNA, and HuffPost Australia will be no exception. For us that means engagement, connection, relentlessly staying on stories we care about, shining a light on what’s working, helping people live thriving lives full of more meaning, purpose, and with less stress and burnout,” Huffington said.
“The range we’ll offer for HuffPost Australia, as with all our other editions, will be as big as possible – from global stories and trends, to hyper-local stories about what’s going on in people’s communities, workplaces, backyards, and even in their inner lives. That’s about as local as it gets!”
HuffPost’s Executive Editor of International, Nicholas Sabloff, and General Manager of International, Koda Wang, will spearhead the launch. HuffPost’s integrated global newsroom has hundreds of editors collaborating in real-time across 13 markets to create content in eight languages using a custom unified tech platform with more than 85,000 bloggers contributing their own views.
The Huffington Post had 117 million unique visitors in the US in December 2014 (comScore, December 2014). The Huffington Post was named the top publisher on Facebook in 2014.