HuffPost Live Partners With AXS TVStreaming Content Coming to Cable With Six-Hour Daytime Block 4/29/2013 8:55 AM Eastern
HuffPost Live, the streaming network of The Huffington Post, is coming to cable via a partnership with AXS TV, the companies will announce at AOL's Newfront event on Tuesday.
The content distribution deal will have HuffPost Live's original content air Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET starting May 13, making it available to AXS' 40 million subscribers. The daytime programming block will encourage real-time participation, with an on-screen viewer comment stream unique to AXS viewers and a HuffPost Live on AXS TV second-screen app planned for this summer.
HuffPost Live launched in August 2012 with coverage encompassing news, current events, pop culture and lifestyle. After maximizing its internal distribution within AOL, president and co-creator Roy Sekoff started taking meetings with cable operators including AXS, the former HDNet which re-launched in July 2012 with backing from Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, AEG and CAA.
Sekoff was impressed by Cuban's decisiveness and how quickly he was willing to move on HuffPost Live's goal of expanding distribution. "Mark is maybe the only cable executive who is really of the Internet and could see how these two things could work together," he said, noting the response from traditional distributors was more timid.
Cuban, founder, chairman and president of AXS TV, said the addition of live daytime programming was a big step in its road to becoming a 24/7 live network. "With the unique social participation components Roy and his team at HuffPost Live have built exclusively for AXS TV viewers, we are also underscoring our commitment to form a direct connection with our audience thru our programming and to increase the footprint of social television," he said.
Sekoff disputed that the AXS partnership would cannibalize HuffPost Live's online viewing, saying that the same viewers may consume it on both platforms throughout the day. He added that no equipment or studio upgrades were needed to make the move to cable as the program is already shot in high-definition.
The partnership will also allow Huff Post Live to tap into AXS' roster of guests like musical artists that have proved popular on the streaming site. "Their commitment to doing live music is a perfect fit," Sekoff said.