The 11-year-old "Huffington Post" (HuffPost) a massive American online blog and News aggregator announced 9 September that they are venturing into Sub-Saharan Africa. There is a ballooning demand in South Africa and within the rest of the SADC region for digital news. They will join forces with "Media24", a large South African newsgroup who already have a handle on local content in the region. "News24", which is part of the "Media24" stable reportedthat "'The Huffington Post' already has a large audience in South Africa, with nearly three-quarters of a million unique visitors per month according to comScore."

Digital news demand is rising exponentially in Africa

The figures are set to grow exponentially, as South Africais trending towards more than 35 million internet users by 2018.

HuffPost's CEO Jared Grusd enlarged on the potential market as he explained in a statement to announce the launch in November, that apart from ordinary internet demand "the digital video demand is expected to grow by more than 29 percent." The number of registered mobile phone users in the country is close to forty-one and a half million.

This is not thefirst time that an attempt has been made to pull "HuffPost" into the country.

A few years agoAlec Hogg, founder of "Moneyweb" and "Biznews" tried to interest "Huffington Post" in the South African market. "Business Tech South Africa" reported that this was unsuccessful as at the time, as the region's internet users were considered just too small for "HuffPost" to bother. After discussions with "Huffington Post's" founder, Arianna Huffington, Hog told "My Broadband" that Huffington felt the South African market was "too small relative to other geographies." Nevertheless, Hogg predicted that "HuffPost" would move into the market in time.

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For "HuffPost's" Jared Grusd, the move is more than just a business deal and a good potential market, it is a kind of homecoming too. He told "News24" that he was born in South Africa and "to launch an edition there is a coming home of sorts for me."

The global "HuffPost" draws millions of people across the world who love the engaging content of the site which is currently ranked at 145 on Alexa. "Media24" already has more than 16 million unique visitors every month, so they will handle the local content and the advertising and sales side of the partnership. "HuffPost" will contribute theinternational content and its technology platform.

The 17th market in 6 continents for 'HuffPost'

Andreij Horn of the South African "Media24" group said that it is an "exciting time" as there is a "relentless demand" in the country for the simplicity that high technology is able to deliver via digital media. "Media24" is the biggest digital media publisher in South Africaand the joint venture with "Huffington Post" in their 17thmarket which spans six continentsis likely to benefitthe two companies and bring international news to a hungry audience.

"Crain's New York Business" reported in 2012 that "The Huffington Post" became the first commercially run United States digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize.

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