The Huffington Post’s “aggressive” global strategy has taken it from a well-established US online news brand into 11 international markets – and the CEO brought on board to spearhead to expansion, Jimmy Maymann, has said the brand is "serious" about the online video space going forward.
Following success in the US, Maymann was tasked with making the Huffington Post a global brand and he approached the challenge with a local partnership model in each market, allowing it to go in with a pre-existing market knowledge and contact base in each area. The French edition of HuffPost, for example, launched with partner Le Mondle, while in Italy the publisher works with La Repubblica.
The title has launched in 11 markets since 2011, and it’s Maymann’s job to ensure each venture breaks even and turns the corner into profitability within two years.
Looking ahead, Maymann says the online video space has opened up a gap in the market that a lot of big broadcasters have not moved into, and following investment into a livestream service in the US – HuffPost Live – over the last 18 months, it’s a space that Maymann says the Huffington Post is “serious about” moving forward.
"There is a gap in the market and we would like to be one of the providers that can fill it, and if we want to be a truly global media company then it's something we have to be serious about," Maymann told The Drum.
“The global business now represents 44 per cent of our total audience, so in two and a half years we’ve gone from not really having an international presence to being in 11 markets, and for that to be 44 per cent of our business.
“I believe within the next 12-18 months from an audience perspective it will be bigger than our domestic business, which is how it should be. If you want to be a global business you need to be outside of the US.”
HuffPost now has a presence in North Africa, Korea, Japan and Brazil, and is also in talks with authorities in China, although Maymann expressed considerable caution over launching in a market with such tight controls on media freedom.
Russia was on the original plan, but after recent events in Ukraine, Maymann pulled the plug on negotiations.