Monday, February 7, 2011

AOL aka The Patch Buys Huff Po

Tonight, word leaked that AOL is buying the Huffington Post for $315 million. The big winner is the Patch. Content is king. The Patch will now have access to the second most read news website behind the DrudgeReport.

As I have said repeatedly, content and comments are king. The Huff Po articles often have literally thousands of comments. The Patch has already started posting articles across local editions when the story is more regional relevant than locally by town. Now, the Patch will have a national flavor as well.

Why do I care? This will have a tremendous impact on local news gathering. The Patch is a dynamic blog, posting news as it becomes available not waiting on a deadline or publication time line. The Patch has already started publishing real news stories such as sports scores, pictures and analysis, school stories and local current events including the police blotter. They do reviews of local businesses and cover local government.

If I want to know how many points A'mare had last night, I read the NY Post. If I want to know how many Matt Townsend had I read the Patch. This deal will expand local coverage, give access to much more varied editorial content and drive readership.

The difference between the Patch and NCN will be even more highlighted. It is the difference between a weekly like Time and a daily like the NY Times. They both have their place and niche, but they do have much different niches. The Patch is dynamic, updating multiple times a day. NCN posts 2x per week. Even the moderation of their comments can take hours if not half days. The Patch publishes comments upon submission. That allows for real dialogue between commenters.

I predict that either NCN changes its model to be more dynamic or it changes to more of an editorial and in depth news type blog a la Newsweek. I predict that local ad revenue will flow to the site that people will check multiple times per day for updates rather than multiple times per week.

I suspect that NCN will change but thrive at what they do well which is write editorial articles and cover fewer issues more in depth. Do you want to know that Summit Greenfield filed an amended FEIS, read the Patch. Want to know the implications of the filing, read NCN.

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