The Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live online video network, is betting big on international growth, part of an effort to become a global video news channel, rather than a U.S. one.
As part of that strategy shift, it has decided to shutter its Los Angeles office and studio, with around 20 staff being laid off or given an opportunity to quickly move to its New York City headquarters. HuffPost Live has around 100 full-time staffers. The news was first reported by VideoInk’s Sahil Patel, with The Verge’s Ben Popper adding more details.
Update: We have a statement from Roy Sekoff, the president of HuffPost Live:
“This isn’t about layoffs; it’s about reallocating resources,” Sekoff says. “We’ve offered more than two-thirds of our full-time production team in L.A. the same, or better, positions in New York.”
HuffPost Live has lost a number of hosts in recent months, mostly to the world of TV news. Alicia Menendez joined Fusion, Abby Hunstman joined MSNBC, and Jacob Soboroff joined Pivot. While it has been transformative in terms of the content it presents, its live viewership has remained low, instead relying heavily on after-the-fact tune-in.
It is also another example of an ambitious, web-first competitor to traditional TV news facing serious growing pains. HuffPost Live is available on cable via a daily programming block on AXS TV, but it has mostly avoided the traditional TV model. Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, by comparison, has been trying to gain distribution as a traditional cable channel.