News that AOL is buying the Huffington Post for $315 million is an indication that internet content actually matters. With 25 million users monthly, The Huffington Post is the brainchild of Arianna Huffington. She pulled readers to the Post with her branded content. It’s a new model for news and publishing.
This business buyout follows the successful appointment of Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, to head The Daily Beast. I’m hoping this marks a trend.
I think it’s a long overdue common sense recognition that you can’t attract your audience without content that has substance, value and credibility. Sure took the guys in the green eyeshades a long time to recognize.
Why did AOL spend 40% of its cash on a venture not likely to generate that much new income for its owners immediately? Because AOL intends to offer the Huffington Post as “freemium” content. If you pay to subscribe to AOL then you get the Post delivered online.
This month marks the end of free access to the New York Times online. “Premium” news content is expensive to produce. Those who value the integrity and credibility of New York Times indepth investigations will have to pay a price for quality. Or so they tell us.
Meanwhile the world of Wiki, citizen journalists, bloggers and social media activists complicate the questions about the economics of information on the internet. What goes viral? Content.
Content is queen. The story rules. For authors that is really good news.