AOL bought The Huffington Post for $315 million, it’s true. Arianna Huffington says she’s “stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet,” by which she means she just made a large amount of money. And she is now the editor-in-chief of Black Voices. Also, MapQuest and Moviefone, plus all of AOL’s other “editorial” outposts. There’s an epic press release, and Huffington says she plans “to do so much more in the living space especially for women, [and] to do more and more original reporting telling the stories of our time and putting flesh and blood on the economic data.”
Both companies share a strategy in that they hope to produce the most amount of content for the fewest amount of dollars. The Huffington Post, therefore, tends to not pay its contributors, who all received the following email this morning:
We are writing with some very exciting news. As you will see if you click on the HuffPost home page, The Huffington Post has been acquired by AOL, instantly creating one of the biggest media companies in the world, with global, national, and local reach — combining original reporting, opinion, video, social engagement and community, and leveraged across every platform, including the web, mobile, and tablets.
Central to all of this will be the kind of fresh, insightful, and influential takes on the issues of the day that you and the rest of our bloggers regularly deliver. Our bloggers have always been a very big part of HuffPost’s identity – and will continue to be a very big part of who we are.
When the Huffington Post launched in May 2005, we had high hopes. But we would have been hard pressed to predict that less than six years later we would be able to announce a deal that now makes it possible for us to execute our vision at light speed.
The HuffPost blog team will continue to operate as it always has. Arianna will become editor-in-chief not only of HuffPost but of the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all of AOL’s content sites, including Patch, Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, PopEater, MapQuest, Black Voices, and Moviefone.
Together, our companies will have a combined base of 117 million unique U.S. visitors a month — and 250 million around the world — so your posts will have an even bigger impact on the national and global conversation. That’s the only real change you’ll notice — more people reading what you wrote.
Far from changing the Huffington Post’s editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, it will be like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet. We’re still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we’re now going to get there much, much faster.
Thank you for being such a vital part of the HuffPost family – which has suddenly gotten a whole lot bigger.
All the best,
Arianna, Roy, David, and the HuffPost Blog Team
In other words, none of that $315 million belongs to them. But maybe they’ll make it into the newly formed Huffington News Group, which will also include TechCrunch, Engadget, the “content farm” Patch and so on.
Huffington herself tells the whole story here. It includes the news that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong does not eat mushrooms, and also:
Original video? AOL’s just finished building a pair of state-of-the-art video studios in New York and LA, and video views on AOL have gone up 400 percent over the last year. Check. More sections? AutoBlog, Music, AOL Latino, Black Voices, etc, etc, etc. fill gaps in HuffPost’s coverage. Add all that to what HuffPost is doing with social, community, mobile, as well as our commitment to innovative original reporting and beyond-left-and-right commentary, and the blending will have a multiplier effect. Or, as Tim and I have been saying over the last couple of weeks: 1 + 1 = 11.
Oh, and AOL Latino! Forgot that one.