Three years after Huffington Post launched HuffPo Live, two years after its debunk cable deal with AXS TV and only a few months since Nathan Brown took post as the GM of Video, the media company is making moves to look a lot more like cable with a 24/7 news initiative.
According to Arianna Huffington’s internal announcement to staff earlier today, the 24/7 news initiative aptly named “HuffPost 24” as well as the development of two new divisions — HuffPost Films and HuffPost TV — will take the publisher closer to its mission of being video-first both on mobile and global platforms. News, Films and TV will be led by Brown.
As it rolls out, “HuffPost 24” will include round-the-clock news coverage, live programming, short and long-form video as well as other formats such as documentaries.
We’ve heard this tune before, not only from Huffington Post itself, but from media and video publishers including Vice and Brown’s former company, Complex. In 2011, CNN announced it would stream its news programming 24/7 as well and late last year, CBS announced CBSN, its own live streaming digital network.
And, when Huffington Post originally launched HuffPost Live, the goal for the daily news play was to not “be limited by the usual time constraints of TV” and “instead, [it would] emulate the online experience,” according to earlier interviews.
Now, three years later, and despite a previous attempt to migrate to cable with AXS TV, the publisher is turning a new page as it aims for “HuffPost 24” to replicate linear television.
And with good cause.
Mirroring cable, both in live news as well as its scripted and unscripted formats, could set Huffington Post up quite nicely for acquisition by one of the major broadcast networks. Despite rumors that Huffington Post has been shopped for sale, what’s more likely is that it will become the multi-platform network of tomorrow under the influence of its newly acquired parent company, Verizon.
With Fios in over 10 million homes, and over 102.6 million total retail postpaid connections (i.e. people who are paying a regular contract for VZW service), Verizon’s reach into the hands, homes and hearts of today’s consumer is undeniable.
So, where this really gets interesting is threading together the big picture of how Huffington Post could potentially roll out a cable, VOD, OTT, and digital play that applies three years of learnings in live news programming, as well as existing scale across social, editorial and video. And that’s solely thru its own platform, AOL, and Verizon. So, in its early phase which is set to kick off this Fall, “HuffPo 24” could be seen as a warm up to a much bigger global multiplatform play that could have the leverage to scrape TV dollars.
Another area this could play out well given the timing is in the upcoming political campaign cycle. With election season heating up, we wouldn’t be surprised to see politics once again fuel Huffington Post’s success.
One thing is certain though, armed with VZW’s money and resources, HuffPo could reinvent how live news is covered in a world where infrastructure-heavy organizations such as CNN are out of date.