The head of the CBSNews.com division of CBS (CBS) is leaving to become CEO of big news and comment blog Huffington Post. Huffington has 3.5 million unique visitors per month and is listed as the fifth most popular of all blogs by Technorati.
Huffington is rumored to have raised more than $10 billion from VCs and now has over 40 employees. The company describes itself as a mix of news and opinion.
The announcement must be a reminder to newspaper executives of what they might have done online. Aside from The New York Times (NYT), internet revenue is still modest at most newspaper companies. Huffington was started with a small handful of people and did not have the resources available to most major newspaper chains.
As print revenue falls at companies like Gannett (GNI), management might be wise to spin-off small groups of writers to begin opinion sites of their own. A few successes by entrepreneurs within these large companies might help them get back in the game. A game that is almost over for them if they do not find some solutions.
Douglas A. McIntyre