The Huffington Post, the popular American news website and content aggregator, intends to launch an Indian edition, following the launch of Spanish and Italian editions, according to a report by Livemint. This is not the first time that an Indian edition launch is being talked about. About an year ago, The Next Web reported that Huffington Post was planning to set up its table in India ,during the launch of its UK version. 

Interestingly, the report also indicates that Huff Po might ink a deal with an Indian media house, as it’s being following the same model for its other international editions, bringing its own technology and template and using the resources of the local player, after training journalists. It would be interesting to see who it selects as its partner, given that major publications already offer news websites.

Huff Po’s Other Operations

Launched in 2005 in the United States, Huffington Post is a news website that offers news, blogs, and original content, and covers politics, business, entertainment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women’s interest, and local news. Anyone can contribute to the website and it currently gathers content from more than 9,000 bloggers. Apart from that, Huffington Post has about 500 journalists in the US.

It publishes international editions — HuffPost Canada, Huffington Post UK, Le Huffington Post in French language in association with  Le Monde and Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendantes, and more recently international edition in Spain. Apart from that, it also publishes local editions in the US including HuffPost Chicago, HuffPost New York, HuffPost Denver, HuffPost Los Angeles, HuffPost SF, HuffPost Detroit, and more recently HuffPost Miami. In 2011, internet major, AOL acquired Huffington Post for $315 million.

Market in India

There are a number of website offering news, online, including the ones from newspapers- both tabloids and broadsheets such as The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Mid-Day, DNA, among others.Recently, British tabloid, The Daily Mail, introduced a dedicated edition for India on its digital platform, Mail Online. In fact, the edition was dubbed as Mail Online India and is co-branded with the Indian newspaper, Mail Today, in which, The Daily Mail has a 26% stake, while the rest is owned by The India Today Group. The Wall Street Journal has an Indian edition and even a Hindi blog, BBC.com has an India section, and the New York Times has an India Ink blog.

However, websites that provide opinion on news are less in comparison to news sites. Network18’s Firstpost.com,which launched last year, adopted the model made successful by Huffington Post. FirstPost is an online news and views website that provides a unique take and commentary on news – across Current Affairs, Politics, World, Business, Investing, Economy, Ideas, Living, Bollywood and Sports.

It would not be difficult for Huff Po to choose a partner, but the execution and synergy of content, along with the amount of local appeal that it brings, will play an important role in its success in the market.

Controversies Surrounding Huff Po

Huffington Post encourages people to contribute to the website free of cost. In 2011, bloggers filed a lawsuit against Huffington Post to be compensated for their service. However, the court ruled in favor of Huffington Post stating that bloggers volunteered to contribute towards the site by choice. Apart from that, the website has also been criticized by various science bloggers for publishing alternative medicines and anti-vaccine articles.

With inputs from Anupam Saxena