By Sahil Patel
In April, AOL and Mark Cuban’s cable channel, AXS TV, announced a deal to bring HuffPost Live to TV. At the time, it was considered an important development for the Huffington Post’s interactive live-streaming news network, which bakes social elements around video segments covering trending stories and political news.
When the deal was announced, the goal was to reformat HuffPost Live into a version that would be compatible with TV and air it for six hours a day, between 10am and 4pm ET. This programming would then replace reruns of AXS TV’s existing shows like “Nothing But Trailers” (which airs nothing but movie trailers) and “Dan Rather Reports.” It was also said that the TV version of HuffPost Live would be slightly different from what viewers are used to on the web, though maintaining some semblance of interactivity via social comment feeds and second-screen apps.
Those plans seem to have changed. If you look at AXS TV’s daily schedule right now, you’ll notice that the channel is once again airing reruns of “Nothing But Trailers” and “Dan Rather Reports,” often in that 10–4 timeframe that was blocked away in the spring for HuffPost Live.
Why? According to industry sources, the deal had fallen through.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Huffington Post essentially denied this claim. “AXS and HuffPost are still committed to bringing HuffPost Live to AXS,” said the spokesperson, “but we’ve shifted our focus from repurposing our current programming to developing original programming.” She added that the companies hope to have more information about the new strategy in the “coming weeks.”
So the original plan, which was to just port HuffPost Live to TV is no longer in play. Which makes sense — the streaming network is exclusively designed for digital platforms that allow viewers to watch and socialize with others. That’s much harder to do, no matter how many social feeds and second-screen options you integrate into the viewing experience.
AXS TV, formerly known as HDNet, is a joint venture between Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, Hollywood agency CAA, and AEG Entertainment. Based on the last reported numbers, the network is available in 41 million homes in the US.