HuffPo deal will change AOL Canada, says Moysey

The Canadian arm of the company adds 700,000 unique visitors to its network as part of the Huffington Post acquisition - and launches a sassy OOH ad too.

While the $315-million Huffington Post-AOL deal has been rocking the mediascape since the start of the week, there are several dozen questions yet to be answered. One of those questions is: what does this mean, if anything, for Canada?

MiC caught up with Graham Moysey, general manager, AOL Canada, to get the answer. Currently, the answer is, not much.

It will take a while for the deal to be ironed out and for changes to be instituted, but the Canadian ad inventory of HuffPo is expected to be handled by AOL Canada.

When asked if Canadian content is going to be living on the Huffington Post site, Moysey says, ‘The short answer is, ‘to be determined.”

He adds: ‘We’re still working through how the Huffington Post and AOL are going to integrate and how we’ll share content and brands, but I’ll say that as those plans are crystallized in the US, international is a big part of that rollout.’

According to ComScore numbers, 1.3 million Canadians visit the Huffington Post each month. About 700,000 of those visitors will be new to the AOL Canada network, increasing the company’s reach from 9.2 million UMVs to 9.9 million.

One thing seems to be certain: though it’s unclear when, and if, there will be an increase in CanCon at HuffPo, visitors to AOL Canada will be seeing HuffPo content.

Moysey says that AOL Canada is also looking this year at building on the business model being used south of the border, where AOL Patch, a network of community news sites, is picking up steam. There aren’t any Patch sites in Canada, but they are on the way.

‘The concerted effort over the past five months, and all of 2010 really, has been right-sizing the AOL Canada opportunity at a more macro level,’ he says. ‘We are well down the path of accomplishing that, and once we feel we’ve put a checkmark beside that, we will look at Patch and hyper-local because we believe very strongly in the business model.’

As part of that, AOL Canada is growing, and the company is advertising in the hopes of pulling candidates from other companies with a billboard at King and John Streets in Toronto that reads, ‘Come work for AOL before your boss does.’