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Questions as 'Huffpo Live' gets under way in US - but not yet in UK

By Noel Young | Correspondent

August 21, 2012 | 5 min read

The Huffington Post has had mixed reviews for the launch of HuffPost Live in the US , an online-video network that streams live 12 hours every weekday .

AOL's hope is that HuffPost Live, will set itself apart from competitors because of its focus on user participation.

Huffpo Live: mixed reviews

The American public can join in from smartphones, tablets and webcams. Each story has a large red record button and “Join This Segment.” There are no plans yet for the UK (See Update).

Would-be US commenters are asked to explain what makes them “a good guest on this topic” in 140 characters or less, provide contact info and then record their take.

First-week results were hit-and-miss, says AdAge, adding that to call it a news network "wouldn't exactly be accurate, either. It doesn't plan to send journalists out into the field to report, and not all of its segments involve actual news."

Another comment was , "Like watching television with a lot more effort."

Week One had an interview with New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and a debate about a possible no-fly zone over Syria. Also included: "Lessons from Drag Queens" and "What's a Union?"

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The business potential of this vast experiment "is not yet clear," says AdAge. There will be no traditional commercials during live segments. Instead, there are sponsorship deals -- costing between $1 million and $5 million and running through the end of the year But there are just two launch sponsors - Cadillac and Verizon - instead of the five hoped for .

HuffPo president, Roy Sekoff, told AdAge, "It's really gone better than I had hoped. The community reaction has been phenomenal. They come and are engaging.

"In fact, people are leaving video comments and we're inviting the best ones to come on live. Of course, there are always glitches and hiccups, especially when we are building everything from scratch. We just had a meeting about what we want to be better.

"We want to try to make it easier for hosts to grab good comments and use them live on the air. We're on 10 to 10 on the East Coast and 7 to 7 on the West Coast."

Adweek's reviewer watched Huffpo Live for the better part of three straight days, describing it as " a manic journey straight into the belly of the HuffPo beast."

The programming setup is no doubt designed to evoke a user's Internet experience, he says, but HuffPost Live doesn't work as seamlessly as Internet browsing, and it will be difficult for the network to rely on any sort of appointment viewing on the Web—since there really is no HuffPost schedule.

A Forbes review of the network's first day called the experiment "courageous, flawed and promising."

Arianna Huffington was very upbeat, "Since last week's launch, HuffPost Live has been lauded as "courageous," "rocking," "a game changer," and "the future," she said on Huffpo. "A number of reviews focused on the wide variety of programming on the network."

UPDATE: NO PLANS FOR UK YET A Huffpo UK spokesman said there were no plans to launch a .co.uk edition of Huffpost Live at this time.

"In the UK we are focused on building the HuffPost site which turned one last month," he said. " We are making great progress with the latest ComScore figures seeing our traffic grow to 3.8m UK uniques. However, if there is a UK story of global significance our team of editors and UK users have the opportunity to contribute to the story in the HuffPost live community."

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