“Video-First” Brand Huffington Post Sheds Senior Video Team
Earlier this week, Huffington Post founding Editor and Huffington Post Live creator, Roy Sekoff, was announced to be leaving the company. While his departure was a shock to most, the likely cause, according to sources close to Huffington Post, was tension around the video strategy. The outcome — a video-first company left without a senior video team. As of two months ago, GM of Video Nathan Brown and VP of Video Programming & Operations Adam Soldinger, left the company.
With significant changes afoot at Huffington Post’s parent company AOL, sources familiar with both businesses have noted that Huffington will not replace Sekoff or Brown until 2016 strategies and budgets are approved at AOL.
(Read about how AOL is changing its approach to video here.)
Earlier this year, Huffington Post announced it would double down on video, with a significant budget to be directed toward linear television, film, and digital projects. Huffington Post Live was to continue as the core video business for the company, despite rumors of difficulty monetizing and innovating the product.
And, according to various sources, the senior team was consistently at odds pertaining to the overall vision for video. Despite the early innovative approach to live video, Huffington Post has put up an exorbitant budget to keep Huffington Post Live in operation, a cost that has been projected to be upwards of $15 million annually says the CEO of a live video company who preferred to remain unnamed.
With that kind of potential overhead, I’m told Huffington Post has considered shuttering the brand.
According to AOL’s head of communications Caroline Campbell, Huffington Post will still be held to very big video goals in 2016 but denied to comment on the likelihood of the focus on bigger-budget television or feature film projects.
So, as it approaches 2016, Huffington Post will continue with short form deals like the one brokered with NowThis earlier this year, until it finds new leadership, and likely will focus on social video. In the interim, video is being produced by Megan Robertson for Huffington Post and Cindy Vanegas for Huffington Post Live.