In its last earnings report, AOL revealed that it poured $40 million into its hyperlocal news platform Patch in the quarter. It’s no secret that AOL, Arianna Huffington and CEO Tim Armstrong have high hopes for Patch. And today, the company is announcing that that Patch will launch 33 new sites in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina —the first three states to hold primaries in 2012. In addition, Patch has announced the launch of the first Patch Military site: Camp Pendleton Patch.
The 33 new primary state sites aims to provide a platform for citizens, candidates, and influencers to discuss local issues and events, including the impact of national and state issues on the local landscape heading into the 2012 election season. Patch’s journalists will cover issues on the sites and the hyperlocal news sites will also aim to serve as a non-partisan forum.
“With its hyperlocal focus, Patch has the ability to be the eyes and ears for what is happening at the grassroots level all across the country,” said Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group. “By expanding to key primary states, Patch positions itself squarely on the front lines of the presidential campaign and will be able to deliver a real-time snapshot of how pivotal communities are reacting to candidates – as well as immediate feedback on whether the issues that matter most to these towns are being addressed.”
Patch’s first Military site will cover news coming from Camp Pendleton Patch and neighboring Oceanside, CA. AOL says it will be launched additional Military focused sites in the coming year. And Patch’s Latino-focused sites will also be rolled out later in the year. Patch is now in over 800 communities in 18 states plus Washington, D.C.
While we are over nearly a year away from from the primaries for the 2012 elections, clearly AOL is eying this election season as a lucrative time to draw page views and advertiser dollars. Already presidential candidates are throwing their hats in (and out) of the ring, and AOL, with its aggressive content strategy, doesn’t want to be late to the coverage game.
Disclosure: TechCrunch is a part of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.