AOL/HuffPo Might Get the Paywall Treatment

Oops—Arianna spoke too soon

Remember when Arianna Huffington publicly criticized (and mercilessly made fun of) The New York Times’ paywall? She might wish she hadn't, as it looks as if her own site might soon be behind a paywall, too.

In an interview with Bloomberg at the Cannes Lion media conference, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said his company is “open in the future to strategies that will help create great content and monetize it properly,” adding that both AOL and the Huffington Post might offer premium versions of online content. Translation: Portions could be stuck behind a paywall.

“I think content subscriptions on the Internet can be a very viable business,” said Armstrong. AOL might begin testing the paid-content model by charging for content on its business-to-business sites like the AOL Defense portal, a defense industry news site, Armstrong said.

Armstrong also mentioned that AOL is considering new content and technology acquisitions within the U.S. and internationally—although there probably won’t be another HuffPo-sized deal in 2011—as well as partnerships with traditional media companies.

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