HuffPost Live, our new live streaming network, is launching August 13. One of our goals is to create the most social video experience possible. And that's why we're putting you, the HuffPost community, front and center in everything we do, including having you join us live on the air -- an integral part of the dynamic, ongoing conversation that is the heart and soul of HuffPost Live.
The days of media gods sitting up on Mt. Olympus telling us how things are have been over for a while. But now we have reached a critical mass where millions of people have a seat at the table and can join what has become a global conversation. People are tired of being talked at; they want to be talked with. The news is no longer about a few people telling everyone else what happened -- it's about everyone telling everyone what's happening right now. And now. And now...
This shift from presentation to participation is what fuels HuffPost Live. It took the Huffington Post six years to reach 100 million comments -- all pre-moderated to ensure a non-toxic atmosphere. And that was amazing. But just six months later, we had reached 150 million comments -- and we are now on track to hit 200 million after just another three months. The HuffPost community is growing exponentially and HuffPost Live will take it to another level. Looked at another way, at HuffPost we average about five comments every second of every day (and, at the height of our traffic spike following the Supreme Court's health care ruling, we were averaging 32 comments per second!).
Drilling into our stats, we saw that 70 percent of all comments being left on our site are responses to other comments. So you are not just commenting on HuffPost. You are having conversations -- and forming communities around your passions and interests.
We decided to double down on engagement and make those conversations the focus of HuffPost Live. It became the North Star that we followed in making every subsequent decision -- from our editorial approach, to the hiring of our hosts, to our tech platform, to our design, to how we've decided to launch the new network.
We realized that merely flipping a switch and unveiling HuffPost Live would contradict our "community-first" approach -- it would feel too traditional and top-down.
So our launch will be in two phases. Phase one, which we have dubbed "HuffPost Live 3, 2, 1..." starts today. It will allow us to reach out to our community members and begin a dialogue with you about what kind of network you want to be part of, as well as what kinds of stories you want to talk about. The goal is to have you be real partners in what we are building.
HuffPost Live is built on a platform that includes many innovative features that we would like you to learn about before we go live. That way, when we move to phase two -- the launch of the network on August 13 -- you'll be as prepared as our hosts and producers.
We also want to find out which of our community members want to join us live on the air (we hope all of you will!). The first step is going to our "3, 2, 1..." section and recording a video sounding off on what you are passionate about, what ticks you off, or what topics you'd like to see us cover. The most engaging submissions will be posted on the "3, 2, 1..." page -- and those who left them will be invited to become regular guests on HuffPost Live.
The "3, 2, 1..." section will also feature lively conversations led by HuffPost Live's new hosts, behind-the-scenes footage of the HuffPost Live production team -- including a continuous 24/7 video feed showing the new HuffPost Live studio and newsroom being built in New York -- and a countdown clock ticking off the seconds until our August 13th launch.
HuffPost Live aims to be as disruptive and groundbreaking in video as HuffPost has been in the way news is delivered, consumed, and engaged with. But we can't do it without you. So check out "HuffPost Live 3, 2, 1...," sign up, and join the conversation.
Meanwhile, here's an FAQ about HuffPost Live:
What is HuffPost Live?
A live-streaming network that uses the HuffPost universe -- the stories, editors, reporters, bloggers, and community -- as its real-time script.
When is it on?
Always. At launch, HuffPost Live will live-stream 12 hours of original programming, 5 days a week -- with highlights showing overnight and on weekends.
What hours will it be live?
HuffPost Live will be live Monday through Friday, 10 am until 10 pm ET.
When does it launch?
Where will the network be based? Where will it broadcast/live-stream from?
HuffPost Live will operate out of state-of-the-art studios we are designing in New York and Los Angeles, with a satellite studio operating out of HuffPost's Washington, D.C. bureau.
Who will be the hosts/on-air talent?
At launch, we will have a rotating team of 8-12 hosts, each of whom will work overlapping shifts. We've hired a group of smart, dynamic, social media-savvy people who both have something to say, and are equally -- if not even more -- interested in hearing what the HuffPost community has to say. They include: Marc Lamont Hill, Abby Huntsman, Alicia Menendez, Mike Sacks, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Jacob Soboroff, Janet Varney, and Josh Zepps.
What kind of shows are you going to feature? What will your lineup be?
There won't be any shows in the traditional sense. Our programming will be built around segments spotlighting the biggest, hottest, most engaging stories HuffPost is covering at any given moment and using them as the jumping-off points for conversations, commentary, and comedy. These segments will be as long -- or as short -- as they need to be. We won't be limited by the usual time constraints of TV.
Instead, HuffPost Live will emulate the online experience. No one looks at their watch and thinks, "It's 10 a.m., time for some celebrity news, I think I'll log on to HuffPost!" Instead, readers come to our site to catch up on what's happening in the world and wind up getting caught up in the wide array of compelling stories we offer. You may start with a story on the upcoming presidential debate, then find yourself drawn to some celebrity news, followed by the latest viral comedy video and a segment on the benefits of napping.
So is it going to be one long news show?
No. HuffPost Live will cover a wide variety of topics and areas of interest, focusing on the most popular sections and sites on HuffPost. HuffPost currently has over 60 sections, covering everything from current events to entertainment to tech to comedy to parenting, style, food, fitness, health, good news... and even divorce. HuffPost Live will cover them all.
What about guests? Will you be featuring familiar talking heads?
We'll take advantage of new media technologies to bring different voices to the conversation. We won't find our guests using a traditional Rolodex. We will reach out via social platforms, see who is tweeting and Facebook posting something interesting on our chosen topics and contact them, asking if they want to come on HuffPost Live and expand on what they said.
And location doesn't matter. Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can instantly join us live. Picture a conversation about parenting with mothers in Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Kentucky, talking to us and to each other and to our users live via Skype or Google Hangout.
And we won't be having standard TV talk. On most shows, you do a pre-interview, get in a car, go to makeup, sit in a green room, then go on and say the pre-planned things. HuffPost Live will be more relaxed, more free-flowing, and much more spontaneous and interactive. And why worry about getting someone to your studio; if they have a tablet, a smartphone, or a webcam -- they can be on with us at the click of a button.
Where will people find HuffPost Live? Will it be its own website?
No, HuffPost Live will be a part of HuffingtonPost.com. You will find it like you find any of HuffPost's sections -- plus, clips from the network will be turned into stories that will be featured on HuffPost's home page, as well as on all relevant sections. These clips will also link back to HuffPost Live. In this way, the site feeds the network and the network feeds the site.
It's important to note: we aren't trying to create a new brand. This isn't separate from HuffPost -- it is HuffPost transferred to a different medium: video.
Who is in charge of running the network?
HuffPost Live was co-created and developed by HuffPost's founding editor Roy Sekoff. Sekoff serves as President of HuffPost Live, overseeing all aspects of its ongoing development, production, and programming. HuffPost Live was co-created and developed by Gabriel Lewis, who now serves as its Executive Editor. The third member of the senior management team is Mitch Semel, Executive Editor of HuffPost Live, who joined the project from The Onion, where he was General Manager.
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