Microsoft will reportedly receive get $300 million after the separation for its stake in MSNBC.com. The site will get a new URL and name and will be known as NBC.com. The giant software company’s portal, MSN.com, will continue to receive news content from NBC. The portal in turn will also send traffic back to the network to reciprocate the news site.
In an unspecified time, MSNBC.com will mirror the main page of NBCNews.com, which will eventually become the address of MSNBC TV, which means that the network will have its own dedicated address.
NBC News site has become one of the most successful online operations so far. It will become one of the parts of NBC News Digital and will be led by Vivian Schiller, the former chief executive officer and president of National Public Radio. Schiller joined the NBC News team last year. She envisions a strategic plan of combing desktop, TV, mobile, and iTV into a unified system, leading to the eventual sole acquisition of the news site, away from Microsoft grasp.
MSNBC has won prestigious awards in reporting and journalism including the coveted National Headliner Award for best television-affiliated site. Subscribers will not notice any difference in original reporting and the daily feed of hard news as the site promise to continue to practice the same things that created its brand of excellence.
The site is a 50-50 joint venture between Microsoft and NBCUniversal, which now own the majority stake of Comcast Corp. The deal signals the end of the partnership after 16 years. It was a perfect combination of video content with Microsoft’s technological edge and NBC News’ original reporting.
As about half of the website’s staff are headquartered on Microsoft’s place in Redmond, Seattle, the biggest challenge facing leaders will be to merge the NBC News staff based in New York and website staff.
NBC News President Steve Capus said he is confident that the transition will be smooth citing a similar successful launch of TODAY.com last year. TODAY.com attracted about 17.4 million visitors in June this year alone, way more traffic the MSNBC Digital Network has drawn during the same period. Using TODAY’s transition as a blueprint, according to Capus, is an excellent example of this type of business.
When msnbc website was launched in 1996, it did so together with MSNBC TV. After Microsoft sold half of its stake in the television channel in 2005, MSNBC TV has shifted toward political reporting favoring Democratic causes, potentially creating a clash with the website’s vision of producing only non-partisan reports.
Company executives noticed the leanings of both news sources and thus initiated the long search for a unifying solution.
The deal to end the partnership was also seen as a timely move for Microsoft, which long held the view that the editorial brand of MSNBC is slowly injecting partisan voice into its products.
Microsoft was said to have invested about $220 million for a 50% stake in MSNBC site.