AOL’s acquisition of The Huffington Post and subsequent installation of Arianna Huffington as content queen has already had repercussions throughout the media world.
To wit: conservative columnist Matt Lewis has already announced his departure from AOL’s PoliticsDaily, saying he is uncomfortable “with the notion of being permanently affiliated with an overtly left-of-center (sometimes activist) outlet.”
He’s moving to The Daily Caller, where he “look[s] forward to learning from its founder and editor in chief, Tucker Carlson, and working alongside the terrific team he has assembled. The Daily Caller and Tucker Carlson personify iconoclastic conservatism, and so I am hopeful I will quickly fit in.”
So far no other conservative AOL writers have departed, but we shall see.
And another possible fallout of the deal: some advertisers wonder how Huffington’s left-of-center style will mesh with their brands.
“All advertisers aren’t open to all things,” Catherine Warburton, executive vice president of national buying for Universal McCann, told the WSJ.
“If [the Huffington Post] were to become the full voice of AOL editorial, then I think, yes, that would risk alienating some people,” said Christian Juhl, a president at Razorfish.
Other advertisers couldn’t care less. A Kraft Foods exec: “We are not making commitments yet, but we think that the level of engagement that the Huffington Post gets from communities is impressive and therefore something that we like to think about more.”
AOL’s quarterly ad revenue has dropped about $200 million in the past two years, so “something we like to think about more” is surely tempting.