God Save the Queen: The Arianna Invasion of Britain Begins!
The British version of the Huffington Post, which has been expected, went live today.
It is the site’s first major international expansion beyond North America (Canada was first).
While the content is aimed at the audience there, it will still have the usual HuffPo mix of saucy news, videos and blogs.
But in this case, instead of U.S. celebs and pols, those blogs will come from famous British luminaries, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair; Sarah Brown, wife of another former PM, Gordon Brown; and entertainers Ricky Gervais and Tracey Ullman.
The Huffington Post apparently already attracts a monthly audience in excess of 1.2 million in the U.K.
AOL — which bought the high-profile news and opinion site for $315 million — has given its content head, Arianna Huffington, a lot of backing and also funding for expansion, including globally.
Other international Huffington Post sites are likely to roll out soon.
Here’s the official press release:
BRITAIN WAKES UP TO THE HUFFINGTON POST UK TODAY
Latest Edition of “HuffPost” Blends Brand’s Unique Mix of News, Opinion, Community, and Engagement with Original, UK-centric Content
6th July, 2011, London – The Huffington Post UK (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/), a UK version of The Huffington Post (“HuffPost”), the popular American news and opinion site, goes live today. The site features HuffPost’s unique combination of original reporting, aggregation, a leading-edge commenting forum, pioneering social engagement tools, and a vibrant platform for a wide range of bloggers. High profile bloggers already lined up to contribute through the site include Tony Blair, Jeremy Hunt and Sarah Brown as well as comedy and entertainment luminaries such as Ricky Gervais, Tracey Ullman, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Jonathan Meades and Kate Garraway .
The Huffington Post UK is edited by Carla Buzasi (nee Bevan), Editor-in-Chief, AOL Europe who leads an initial team of ten dedicated editors and writers, with further support from the wider AOL editorial team in the UK, as well as The Huffington Post team in the United States. The Huffington Post UK platform gives hundreds of British bloggers the opportunity to showcase their work to millions of readers globally.
Other recent new hires include Political Editor Chris Wimpress, a former political correspondent for BBC Radio 4; News Editor Jacqui Head, formerly an Online Journalist at Al-Jazeera, with stints at BBC and CNN; and Caroline Frost, Entertainment Editor, previously an Arts Producer for BBC News, and Online Entertainment Editor at the Herald Sun in Melbourne. Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer of E.L. Rothschild and board member of Estee Lauder and The Economist Group, is the site’s Editor-at-Large.
The Huffington Post (US) was founded in May 2005, and has become an influential and oft-quoted media brand, “The Internet Newspaper.” It attracts 36 million* readers and only last month overtook the New York Times to become the world’s biggest newspaper online.
The UK site offers coverage of politics, entertainment, living, style, world news, technology, comedy, and is a top destination for news, blogs and original content. In the coming months, The Huffington Post UK will evolve to feature even more content across a whole range of genres.
Commenting on the launch of the UK site, Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, said: “We are arriving here in the midst of a rich and thriving media culture marked by great innovation. We look forward to adding HuffPost UK to the mix, and to our real-time ‘digital water cooler’ — which embraces the best of the new (immediacy, transparency, interactivity) and the best of the old (fact-checking, accuracy, fairness, and an emphasis on storytelling) — becoming the spark for many interesting conversations.”
Kate Burns, SVP, AOL Europe, said: “The Huffington Post has pioneered a new way for people to connect with the news of the day, and with each other, so we’re excited to bring this unique platform to the UK. We’re giving people the chance to write, share and debate opinions, creating a democratic site that can give Joe Bloggs the same platform as Ricky Gervais.”
The Huffington Post (US) already attracts a monthly audience in excess of 1.2 million [comScore, May 2011] UK based readers who are engaged, influential, and affluent. The UK site will feature premium ad formats, including the recently launched “Project Devil,” which has generated unprecedented engagement levels, time spent on ads and time spent viewing ad videos. At launch The Huffington Post UK will showcase an LG Project Devil campaign brokered through leading media agency Mindshare and a Dell PLE campaign negotiated by Mediacom.