The Huffington Post Media Group (NYSE: AOL) is partnering with Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso for the launch this year of an Italian edition, paidContent has learned. The partnership, to be announced today, follows a pattern already in place for the French edition debuting Monday and for the Spanish edition due to launch in March: team up with at least one major national media partner and tap into its existing network to create a new entity using the HuffPo model with localized branding.
The partners for Le Huffington Post France are The Le Monde Group and Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendante. For El Huffington Post Spain, it’s El Pais.
In Italy, Indépendante Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso publishes national daily newspaper La Repubblica and newsmag L’Espresso, 18 regional dailies plus is in radio and TV. The national daily’s Repubblica.it is the most-visited Italian news site.
Arianna Huffington’s ambitions for an international brand predate HuffPO’s acquisition by AOL last year. While AOL has trimmed back considerably internationally, the merger with a larger global company gave Huffington Post a foundation for that expansion and the ability to achieve scale. Huffington Post UK and Huffington Post Canada launched last year as solo efforts with an emphasis on being purely digital.
The local media partnerships offer a different kind of expansion help. Instead of being the outsider jumping in to fill a gap or do X, Y or Z better than anyone already on the scene, HuffPo is the outsider working with entrenched insiders to blend aggregation, original reporting and local blogging in a true national edition.
Update: The plans for the Italian-language edition were announced this morning.