This story was written by Rafat Ali.
So says this long and ponderous profile story on the future of newspapers in The New Yorker, drawing comparisons of HuffingtonPost being the new incarnation of the American newspaper, online. On HuffPo, the story says the site has about $11 million at its disposal (that's the amount it has raised till date, and probably spent a big chunk of it; not necessarily at its disposal), and the site is poised to break even on ad revenues of somewhere between $6 million to $10 million this year ( HuffingtonPost co-founder Ken Lerer said in October last year that HuffPo is "now breaking even some months.").
"What most impresses advertisers--and depresses newspaper-company executives--is the site's growth numbers. In the past thirty days the site's unique visitors jumped to more than eleven million, according to the company. And, according to estimates from Nielsen NetRatings and comScore (NSDQ: SCOR), the Huffington Post is more popular than all but eight newspaper sites, rising from sixteenth place in December." Traffic number don't equate to revenues, but let's run with it for now. On whether it can replace newspapers online, writer Eric Alterman has this pithy analysis: "The notion that the Huffington Post is somehow going to compete with, much less displace, the best traditional newspapers is arguable on other grounds as well. The site's original-reporting resources are minuscule. The site has no regular sports or book coverage, and its entertainment section is a trashy grab bag of unverified Internet gossip. And, while the Huffington Post has successfully positioned itself as the place where progressive politicians and Hollywood liberal luminaries post their anti-Bush Administration sentiments, many of the original blog posts that it publishes do not merit the effort of even a mouse click."
Arianna, however, says that HuffPo will be adding more and more reporting. Of course, it could start by paying some of the contributors first. HuffPo CEO Betsy Morgan is speaking at our EconSM conference next month, where we'll question her on this and other topics.
Disclaimers: Greycroft Partners, an investor in HuffPo, is also invested in our company, and we have a headline syndication deal with HuffPo on its media page
By Rafat Ali