Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Huffington Post abroad

Arianna Huffington has been around for several days in Paris and on television to promote the French edition of her electronic publication which is a big success in the US. However, one wonders whether the export of the Huff. Post is a smart move for her and for AOL, her new owner. Various polls show that more and more people check the news on the Web, 70% of the internauts according to a recent survey. And yet, the credibility of many Web services is very low. The same poll values it at 2% for social networks as compared to 21% for newspapers.

Huff.Post is midway between the two systems. It agregates articles picked up from various publications and many blogs provided by various experts who work for free for a very profitable business. The system is fragile and could collapse any time as competition is getting more tough. One wonders why le Monde decided to move in and become a partner of Arianna, with Mathieu Pigasse one of the daily's owners who put his money in this venture.

This move is even more amazing if one considers the success of le Monde on Internet. It has, with les Echos, the highest percentage of electronic subscribers: 6% of its subscribers while le Figaro's is less than 1%. If the French Huff.Post closes down in a few months, who will pay the bill?