The Huffington Post, which first went online in the United States in 2005, entered the competitive news market as an online only newspaper when print publications were still trying to figure out the best way to approach the news cycle on the web. Instead of putting up a restrictive paywall like the more traditional print newspapers have done online, the Huffington Post is fully ad-supported and 100% free to the readers. Now the Huffington Post is looking to move into Europe’s largest news market, Germany, this fall with the help of Germany’s Tomorrow Focus AG.
German users have always been able to access the American version of the Huffington Post website, but this new edition catering to readers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will offer a more localized viewpoint on the day’s latest news. The new branch of the news site will be located in Munich and will be hiring local journalists to cover the top stories.
Arianna Huffington, the site’s founder and editor-in-chief, commented that “We are thrilled to be partnering with Tomorrow Focus to launch the German edition of the Huffington Post… Tomorrow Focus is deeply involved in virtually every sector of digital content in Germany, and there is no one we’d rather be partnering with for this expansion.”
Germany is by no means lacking in the online news department, but if you look at many of the popular sites catering to German readers, they often look outdated and merely reflect the older print edition. Just like in the US, popular German newspapers such as Bild and Die Welt are locking their content behind a paywall as they look for a way to turn a profit and fear that by giving away their news for free online, it will cannibalize their print sales. With so many free independent news sites on the web, most attempts to put up a paywall have failed to see commercial success as a result.
So this fall, the Huffington Post hopes to gain traction in Germany and give the news market there some new competition with its “signature mix of news, blogging, community, and social engagement.” If it proves to be a success, it may open up a new market for independent news agencies in the country.