When L.A. media figure Arianna Huffington and her partners launched an online news site seven years ago, it was far from certain her Huffington Post would conquer the blogosphere.

But its mixture of hard news, opinion and grabby headlines brought tens of millions of visitors – and a $315 million acquisition last year by AOL Inc.

Now, AOL and its Huffington Post Media Group is making its next big bet – this time to capitalize on the popularity of online video. HuffPost Live, an online news talk site that blends traditional talking heads with a web sensibility, launched last month out of studios in Beverly Hills and New York.

Roy Sekoff, president of the bicoastal venture, said the site will distinguish itself by keeping with the Huffington Post theme of allowing visitors to chime in with no formal expertise.

Some notable names, such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, already have made appearances, but the majority of talk – on topics ranging from women’s opportunities in college sports to living paycheck to paycheck – has been done by amateurs who use their personal webcams to debate one another as well as a host who moderates.

Read the full story in the August 27 issue of the Business Journal.