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HuffPo TV: Arianna Huffington Looks to Boost Engagement with Video

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2012 02:11 PM

The Huffington Post is expanding its brand on video. The HuffPost Streaming Network will launch this summer with 12 hours of original video five days a week. With the goal of being "CNN meets YouTube" and a “never-ending talkshow,” HuffPo cofounder Roy Sekof will oversee the new video network , to which AOL is committing at least 100 employees exclusively, with current editors and reporters expected to contribute as well.

AOL paid $315 million to acquire Huffington Post in a deal that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong calls "the Super Bowl bet we made on Arianna." Now it's ponying up at least $10 million to take the HuffPo brand into video. With a goal of producing up to 16 hours of video programming daily next year, it's a clear play for increased ad inventory and stickier content. 

“This has never been done before,” Sekoff told Adweek in response to a question about competitors like The Wall Street Journal already in the video business. “We probably get more comments in a month than the Journal gets in one year. We’re not really worried from a competitive standpoint.” 

The site generated 54 million comments in 2011, 6 million plus in January alone, and now boasts 36.2 million unique visitors monthly. “It’s about engagement, engagement, engagement,” Huffington added. The video network will be accessible via laptops, tablets and phones and eventually TV devices such as Playstation 3, Roku and Boxee.

"The network will be built around segments spotlighting the biggest, hottest, most engaging stories HuffPost is covering at any given moment and using them as the jumping-off points for conversations, commentary, and comedy," Huffington wrote in a blog post. "These segments will be as long — or as short — as they need to be. We won't be limited by the usual time constraints of TV." 

"People aren't interested in being talked at anymore — they want to be part of the conversation," she added. "And a big part of what HuffPost Streaming Network will do is help facilitate those conversations. That's why one of our mottos is Conversations Start Here."

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