AOL-owned American news website The Huffington Post has officially announced its partnership with the Times of India group to launch the much delayed Indian edition of its news site. This will be the 12th International edition for Huffington Post which already offers dedicated editions for Brazil, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan and Korea among others.
Huffington Post mentions that the Indian edition will be combining its news and blogging platform with Times Of India group’s local reach with consumers & advertisers. It will cover topics ranging from politics, media, entertainment, technology, religion and lifestyle among others.
The Huffington Post and The Times of India Group will be setting a 10-member editorial team based in New Delhi and the site is expected to be launched on November 25 as indicated by an Adweek report. Besides the editorial team, the site will also apparently feature contributions from various guest bloggers including Indian industrialists, business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Who is heading it? The report also states that the Indian edition will not be headed by Huffington Post’s former managing editor Jimmy Soni as previously announced. Huffington Post founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington told the publication that Soni has left the publication to focus on writing on a book.
Huffington Post executive international editor Nicholas Sabloff will now instead be looking after the news strategy while The Huffington Post General Manager (International) Koda Wang will be looking after the business side. Both are expected to arrive in India in the next few weeks.
Third time’s the charm
It’s worth noting that there has been talks about Huffington Post setting up Indian operations in 2012 and before that in 2011, but there hadn’t been any progress on it. In January this year, Huffington Post CEO Jimmy Maymann had mentioned that they were in negotiations with two companies and were hoping to launch the India edition by May this year, which seems to have got delayed to November now.
Maymann had mentioned that they will initially start with an English language edition and then offer news in other local languages as well. Remember that Huffington Post currently offers news in eight different languages globally. This includes German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Japanese and Korean among others.
What’s however worth watching out will be how Huffington Post builds out its Indian edition in association with the Times of India group. Note that while Times of India has a great blog and opinion section on its own site, Times Internet’s partnerships to launch Indian editions of various publications like Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Business Insider has largely been disappointing in terms of localized content until now.
International publications who have entered India or entering India in the past year
Over the past year, several International publications have launched a dedicated Indian edition or are launching an Indian edition shortly. These include:
– Quartz which launched its Indian edition in June this year in collaboration with Scroll.in.
– Times Internet has rolled out Indian editions of Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Business Insider, IGN, AskMen and Pursuitist. It has also signed agreements to roll out Indian editions of TechRadar, Remodelista, ReadWrite and more recently Ad Age. More on that here.
– BuzzFeed is opening an office in Mumbai and launching an India edition. More here.
– ZDNet launched its Indian edition in June last year.
Zee Group had also launched Indian editions of BGR, OnCars and HollywoodLife among others, way back in 2011. On the flipside however, The New York Times had shut its India-specific blog India Ink last month.
Disclosure: In terms of content, there may be areas of overlap (and hence competition) between Huffington Post India and MediaNama.