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The Huffington Post South African Edition Launches, Breaks Ground in Sub-Saharan Africa

by Staff Writers | The Web Writer Spotlight: Sep 17, 2016

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The Huffington Post( HuffPost) and Media24, a South African publisher with interests in digital media and services, newspapers and magazines, recently announced a new partnership that will see a local version of the American news aggregator and blog launch in South Africa. HuffPost South Africa, the first sub-Saharan African edition, will go live in November.

“South Africa is an extremely exciting market for the company, as internet users there are expected to grow to 35.4m by 2018, digital video is expected to grow by more than 29%, and overall mobile phone users to 41.5m,” said HuffPost CEO Jared Grusd, who was himself born in South Africa, in a statement announcing the news on Media24’s website News24.com.

As part of the agreement, HuffPost will provide international content and its technology platform, while Media24 will provide the local content and handle advertising sales. HuffPo South Africa will be the 17th international edition of The Huffington Post site. It will comprise 14 editors, writers and sales executives, led by a general manager, editor-at-large and editor-in-chief.

 

HuffPost breaks ground in South Africa.

 

There have been previous unsuccessful attempts to bring HuffPost to South Africa. Several years ago a South African writer, broadcaster and media entrepreneur, Alec Hogg, founder of Moneyweb.com and Biznews.com, held discussions with Huffpost’s founder Arianna Huffington, but was unable to reach an agreement as South Africa was considered “very low in terms of the size of the online media market.”

“While they were initially very keen {to sanction a local version of The Huffington Post},” Hogg said at the time, “we are too small relative to other geographies.”

It would appear things have changed and South Africa, a key sub-Saharan Africa market, now offers better revenue opportunities for digital companies.

 

Sub-Saharan Africa, a new market for digital growth.

 

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with budding tech entrepreneurs in Nairobi.

More and more markets in Sub-Saharan Africa from South Africa in the south to Nigeria in the west and Kenya in the east of the continent are seeing a rise in internet usage. This is fueling demand for digital services across the continent as more consumers come online using mobile devices.

According to the GSMA, an organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, Africa tops half a billion mobile users, and is the world’s fastest-growing mobile market. The GSMA forecasts that an additional 168-million people will be connected via mobile in Africa in the next five years, bringing subscribers to 725-million by 2020. This is opening opportunities for survey digital entrepreneurs across the world.

Facebook, for example, is investing heavily on internet accessibility in emerging markets via initiatives like Internet.org that could pay huge dividends. The social networking giant recognizes it could stand to gain billions of new users if it can get more of the developing world on the Internet. Just last month Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise trip across Africa’s leading technology ecosystems, seemingly giving a nod to the rapid growth in potential and importance of the African market.

Although regional, political, geographical and economic challenges present high risks of doing business in Africa, the rewards equally compensate. The HuffPost already has a large audience in South Africa, with nearly three quarters of a million unique visitors per month, according to comScore. HuffPost joins Entreprenure.com that already has a local version of its business site in South Africa that launched in 2006.  

“We are delighted to launch a South African edition of the highly regarded HuffPost,” Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman said. “It is one of the most-exciting digital media companies in the world and we are proud this pioneering international media brand has chosen to partner with Media24. We are going to do great things together.”

See Also: Arianna Huffington Leaves The Huffington Post to Focus on Her New Health and Wellness Site.

 

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