Huffington Post gets almost half of traffic from overseas
And so the 21st media shakeup and shakedown continues. As print newspapers and print magazines struggle to survive, adapt and built up online versions of themselves, the online news media is growing — and facing its own dilemmas. Adweek notes that almost half of The Huffington Post’s traffic comes from overseas, but the Internet mega-site still has to tinker a bit on the income side:
The Huffington Post is fast becoming an international media brand. It now publishes eight editions outside the U.S. and expects to export its celebrity, news and aggregation model to Brazil, South Korea, India and possibly the Middle East in 2014.
China, which has been a lightning rod for other Western news outlets, also is on the drawing board, but coverage there will be limited to its The Third Metric lifestyle topics.
“It’s taking an important subject to a market that really needs it,” president and editor in chief Arianna Huffington said.
And why not? Unlike print publications the Internet can go anywhere where it is allowed. Still, the tricky part is how to solve the income dilemma:
But while 44 percent of traffic comes from outside the U.S., the dollars aren’t keeping pace. International ad dollars are expected to rise 180 percent in 2013 but only contribute 15 percent of the revenue, which is why CEO Jimmy Maymann plans to create a small global ad sales team. “A lot of advertisers are interested in a one-stop shop,” he said.
The expansion abroad underscores the challenge for online publishers like HuffPost, which are struggling to find a sustainable model as their audience growth in the U.S. slows. The strategy is to invest small ($2 million) and partner with an established local publisher, with the goal of breaking even in two years’ time. So far, the oldest sites—Canada, France and the U.K.—are at or closing in on profitability.
Beyond international, Maymann is looking for growth in Web video via the year-old live-streaming network HuffPost Live, which hit 108 million video views in November; and native and mobile advertising.
He has his work cut out for him. Like other online publishers, HuffPost is trying to close the mobile ad gap.
But where there’s will — and readership — it’s likely there’s a way.