HuffPost Video Network Being Launched in 2012

After being purchased by AOL Inc (NYSE:AOL) almost exactly one year ago, The Huffington Post announced this week that they will attempt to chase the future by launching a new online video network this summer (just in time for the coming fall presidential elections).   The movie isn’t considered to be a major surprise, as many newspapers with a web presence are attempting to jump on the bandwagon of on-demand and/or streaming video; most notably, Newscorp’s Wall Street Journal who will be launching The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, and The New York Times has just launched Business Day Live.  What may be surprising to some is the ambitious size and scope of Ariana Huffington’s proposed project.

According to plans, in addition to on-demand video packages, the proposed network will provide 12 hours of original streaming content five days a week.  About eight hours of content each day will be produced in New York, with the other four produced in Los Angeles.  Eventually, according to HuffPost founding editor Roy Sekoff, the goal will be to reach 16 hours a day of live, streaming content.

The initial plans are expected to be pricey, as AOL is utilizing hundreds of employees as part of its overall video content effort, which will coordinate with the present HuffPost editorial staff of over 300, with many more with video-specific skills being hired all the time.  AOL, having lost ground over the last decade as an internet service provider, has over the last two years been focusing on being an internet content provider as a way of remaining continuously viable heading into the future.

Of course, …

questions will definitely arise about just how effective this plan will be.  People are viewing videos on the web more than ever before, with viewership averaging four hours and 20 minutes per month in 2011 according to Nielsen.  That represents a massive increase of one hour and 10 minutes from early 2010.

Nevertheless, most people don’t watch web video on an appointment basis (as they do television), and thus many are wondering if the streaming option will end up having legs, at least for another few years.  Both Huffington and Sekoff acknowledge this, and are thus focusing primarily on the on-demand portion of the idea, and downplay the idea of having a set schedule of programming.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morris at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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