The Huffington Post will launch two new city pages in November, Adweek has learned: HuffPost Detroit and HuffPost Miami.
HuffPo has been launching a lot of new topic pages lately, enough so that the announcement of two additions might normally not be newsworthy. But the launch of these two local sites, confirmed by AOL's vice president of communications, renews the concerns about another AOL property: Patch, the company’s costly venture into citizen-generated local news.
By all accounts, the Patch experiment, launched in 2009 and now overseen by HuffPo editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington, doesn’t seem to be working. AOL will spend about $160 million on Patch this year, and it has already lost both its director of sales and its senior vice president of local ad sales. In June, a disgruntled salesperson told Business Insider that advertising could not support Patch, and that there was a lack of leadership.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong claims he’s content with Patch’s progress and said in September that he wants some of the Patch websites to become profitable this year. AOL communications vp Mario Ruiz told Adweek that the company “likes to leverage the platform of HuffPost and Patch to enhance both.”
That could be. But the topic page model, which is based on aggregation rather than original content that AOL must spend at least some money on, offers the company a more cost-efficient route into local markets.