Huffington Post has finally unveiled its Los Angeles site, which could represent another challenge for the struggling LA Times. The launch of HuffPost LA follows similar efforts focusing on Chicago, which has been up for more than a year, New York, which went live this past summer, and Denver which went up two months ago. While the LA site has been touted for months as a way for HuffPo to extend its brand and capture the still growing local online ad market — an idea that media operations like NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) and ESPN (NYSE: DIS) have been focusing on — HuffPo is reticent on the next steps. A rep for the company said that the company was not “ready to reveal any forthcoming plans.”
For the moment, it looks like HuffPo wants to concentrate on developing the three existing local sites. If it can point to some early successes with traffic and ad revenue, it might decide to accelerate its local initiatives. After announcing the arrival of ESPN’s LA site, ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer told an audience at the Reuters (NYSE: TRI) Global Media Summit that the company had no other plans to build additional local properties after its New York-centric destination is released early next year.
The site is being managed by senior editor Willow Bay, who has been with HuffPo for two years, and editor Billy Silverman, who was previously with Imagine Entertainment. The LA site will otherwise be populated by a bunch of regular HuffPo contributors, as well as some new star-studded bloggers, including Drew Barrymore, John Cusack, Larry David, Ari Emanuel, Barbara Boxer, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Eli Broad and Michael Govan.