Arianna Huffington has become a much richer woman, thanks to having sold her online magazine, “The Huffington Post,” for $315 million to AOL. Huffington will become, at least initially, a powerful editorial force in Cyberspace.
According to CNN:
“‘As part of the transaction, Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, will be named president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all Huffington Post and AOL content,’ the statement said.
“The new group will have a combined 117 million unique visitors a month in the United States and 270 million around the world, according to the release, which cited December 2010 data from the marketing research company comScore.”
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air takes note of two curious aspects of the deal that may be damaging in the long run. The Huffington Post has a decidedly left-wing slant and placing Arianna Huffington in charge of the combined media company would give it a similar liberal approach to content. As AOL tended to be balanced in its approach to content, this will likely cause it to lose customers.
Also, it appears that by naming the new content unit “The Huffington Post Media Group” without the AOL name, the deal suggests that the Huffington brand is more valuable than the older, more staid AOL.
On paper, the purchase of The Huffington Post, with its base of readers that has caused the online magazine to be a page view power house, was a sound business move if AOL is intent on giving its somewhat ailing company a shot in the arm. On the other hand, by giving Huffington the amount of editorial control that she had gotten over the combined media company, AOL runs the risk of creating the online equivalent of MSNBC, which serves a niche market of left-wing consumers, but lacks the ability to grow much beyond its fan base. Liberal bias has all but killed traditional media and may be a drag on the Internet variety as well.
A better approach might have been to create a media company with a more “fair and balanced” approach, more along the lines of Fox News with a variety of voices available. That would mean finding someone else than Arianna Huffington to be in charge of content.
Still, Huffington, who has undergone quite a metamorphosis since she was writing new age books and hanging on in Newt Gingrich’s orbit, has certainly made a splendid pay day for herself. It demonstrates that 10 years after the Internet Bubble burst, there is still plenty of money to be made online.
Sources: AOL agrees to purchase Huffington Post for $315 million, CNN, February 7th, 2011
AOL buys Huffington Post for $315 million, Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, February 7th, 2011