Fairfax Media will partner with the Huffington Post to launch an Australian version on the US news and opinion site, with a newsroom to be based in Sydney.
The partnership, announced on Monday, will involve the two publishers establishing an independent team of writers and reporters in the second quarter of 2015, drawing on Fairfax’s local influence and The Huffington Post’s huge global audience.
Fairfax Media will have a 49 per cent stake in the venture. CEO Greg Hywood said the publisher was delighted with the move.
“HuffPost Australia will be part of Fairfax’s expanding portfolio of digital assets – providing great journalism and content to audiences, and valuable connections to those audiences for advertisers,” Mr Hywood said.
“We look forward to working closely with The Huffington Post to build the brand and bring its digital media innovation to Australia.”
The Huffington Post is the latest international title to make a splash in Australian waters, following the arrival of The Guardian and the Daily Mail in recent years.
The Australian site will combine a range of content from global stories and trends to hyper-local content, and will include a local version of the HuffPost’s popular “good news” page.
Huffington Post chief executive Jimmy Maymann told Fairfax Media that Australia’s digitally savvy population made it an appealing destination, with a smartphone penetration of 85 per cent, and 2 million HuffPost readers already – among the highest number of readers from a country without a local edition.
“It is a rare combination of both a digitally advanced economy and a relatively young digital media market,” Mr Maymann said.
“Australia is the third largest digital ad market in Asia, and has the third highest rate of social media penetration in the world.
“At the same time its shift to digital news consumption is still in relatively early stages, with digital media readership continuing to grow at 11 per cent annually and still only 50 per cent of all readers regularly consuming news online.
“The combination of these characteristics makes Australia a very exciting destination for our latest Huffington Post edition.”
He said the site expected to crack the top five sites in the Nielsen online ratings in three to five years.
For more news from The Newspaper Works, click here.