@ AOP: Washington Post Eyeing European, Multi-Lingual Expansion

Washingtonpost.com plans to ramp up online operations in Europe. Kicking off today’s AOP Online Publishing conference at the London Hilton, WPNI CEO Caroline Little said: “We have advertising offices in the UK. In terms of content, we’re not looking at hyperlocal content outside of our home market, you’ve got to do what you know. But we’d like to do more in Europe and we have some plans to do that.” Asked if the company would launch editions in other languages, Little said: “We are talking about doing a few, but probably not a full version.” For example, Washingtonpost.com will translate some articles to Spanish for America’s Hispanic audience.

Audiences: Washingtonpost.com gets 60 percent of its revenue from just a tenth of its audience. Little said just 10 percent of the site’s readers contribute 90 percent of its page views: “We really didn’t know we had an international audience until about six years ago – we did some research and found that people were coming to us because they remember Watergate. We said: ‘That’s difficult for our ad sales teams, but it’s a huge opportunity’.” So WPNI developed both local and international versions of the Washingtonpost.com homepage.” “It’s thinking about each audience as one business – our local audience as another business – because the audience behavior is extremely different.” But: “I anticipate that there will be more changes. It’s not perfect. We base it on your zipcode and country and you can go back and change it but it’s not easy, it needs to be better.”

Future: “We are really far behind on global compared to Europeans and that’s one area we’re focusing on right now.”