NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If Verizon (VZ) and AOL's (AOL) Huffington Post seem like an odd couple, think again.
Sure, the liberal-leaning, politically-focused HuffPo would seem like a cultural misfit inside the button-down, broadband-services empire that is Verizon, the country's largest wireless provider.
And then there's that little matter of the Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules, regulations passed in February to oversee the Internet that the Huffington Post enthusiastically supported and Verizon vociferously opposed.
But bringing the Huffington Post and the always opinionated Arianna Huffington to Verizon is all about the advantages of owning content, amassing new user data and then allowing AOL's automated advertising platform to sell space around that content. For Verizon, that means using HuffPo, and AOL's other web sites, to learn more about the online preferences of its more than 120 million subscribers nationwide.
"The whole idea for Verizon was to get content and the advertising technology that AOL has," said Porter Bibb, managing partner of Mediatech Capital Partners, a New York-based boutique investment firm specializing in media. "It gives them the real global reach that they never had with AOL."
Questions about HuffPo's future were raised almost immediately after Verizon announced plans last month to acquire New York-based AOL for $4.4 billion. Observers were quick to note that the telecom provider and the news and entertainment website have often taken opposite sides in the high-profile debate over freedom of information flows online.
Yet Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo reaffirmed this week that it has no plans to spin-off HuffPo as part of its agreement to purchase AOL. In explaining the acquisition to investors, Verizon said it plans to expand advertising revenue and strike partnerships to make more original video content available through its pay-TV and mobile offerings.
Indeed, in the May press release announcing the AOL deal, Verizon called the AOL's advertising model "a key tool for us to develop future revenue streams." In particular, AOL owns Adap.tv, a company that specializes in what marketers call "programmatic" ad sales or using software to buy and sell video spots in multiple mediums in real time.