Can Arianna Make a French Connection?

HuffPo makes worldwide play, but will it work?

It’s 11 p.m. and Arianna Huffington has just finished dinner. “That’s early for Istanbul!”

Spoken like someone on the move. Turkey is just her second stop on a tour of foreign-language Huffington Post launches that, if all goes according to plan, will include Spain, Italy, Germany, Brazil, and Japan. Last week she made headlines by kicking things off with the unveiling of Le Huffington Post, a partnership with French paper of record Le Monde slated for November.

In the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., a HuffPo partnership with a national paper is unthinkable. But in foreign territories, Huffington says it’s the fastest way to scale.

Scaling takes time, though, and many international audiences aren’t familiar with the HuffPost brand. “I’m very skeptical,” says Frédéric Filloux, the gm of digital newsstand ePresse, says of the French venture. “The French market is not in very good shape advertising wise.” Then, too, there’s the aggregation issue. “We don’t have the same laws regarding the ability for someone to republish other people’s work,” Filloux says.

No matter. As HuffPo’s never-ending stream of new topic pages show, Arianna has no problem throwing a thousand ideas against a wall and seeing what sticks.