It had been known for some time that the change was coming, but as of today Microsoft is officially out of the cable news business.
According to a press release issued this morning, NBC bought out Microsoft's 50 percent stake in the MSNBC brand as of last Friday. The two companies partnered in 1996 to launch the co-branded news organization, and the MSNBC site became the central hub for all of NBC's online digital news platforms. MSNBC.com has now been morphed into NBCNews.com that will remain mostly the same as it is currently, but will fold in more local news from NBC's affiliates around the country.
The current plans call for everything to remain the same until an unspecified date in 2013 when a new digital home will be launched for all of the various properties.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is addressing the press today at noon PST, but no word has been given as of yet if this will be the subject of the conference.
NBC News Acquires Full Ownership of Msnbc Digital Network
Leading Television News Organization Takes Control of Its Digital Businesses to Become an Integrated Multi-Platform News Provider
Current msnbc.com Site Becomes NBCNews.com; MSNBC TV Gets New Home on the Web in 2013
NEW YORK, July 16, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NBC News President Steve Capus announced today that NBC News is now the full owner and operator of Msnbc Digital Network, which includes msnbc.com, TODAY.com, NightlyNews.com, BreakingNews.com, Newsvine.com, EveryBlock.com, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. On July 13, 2012, NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, acquired from Microsoft its 50 percent share of the joint venture that was formed in 1996. All of NBC News' digital businesses, including Msnbc Digital Network properties, theGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, EducationNation.com, social media and all of the network's digital initiatives, will combine to form a new division entitled, NBC News Digital. Under the NBC News umbrella, NBC News Digital joins the news network's television properties including "TODAY," "NBC Nightly News," "Meet the Press," "Dateline" and "Rock Center"; its cable arm, MSNBC TV; its radio and mobile arms, NBC News Radio and NBC News Mobile; its educational arm, NBC Learn; its production arm, Peacock Productions; its NBCUniversal partners, CNBC, The Weather Channel and Telemundo; and over 200 of its local affiliate stations across the country.
As part of the transition, the current msnbc.com site is now NBCNews.com, and the site will continue to provide users with the highest quality news and information from the network's trusted on-air and online journalists, editors and producers. NBCNews.com will also provide access to a new, expanded and higher-quality local news experience by partnering with NBC's Owned Television Stations–providing users a wide offering of local, regional, national and international news.
MSNBC TV will launch a new digital home in 2013. The digital presence will be an extension of the MSNBC TV on-air brand, creating in-depth content and a community for the passionate audiences of MSNBC TV programs. Until then, MSNBC TV's digital content will continue to be available on its current platforms.
Msnbc Digital Network properties will be fully incorporated into NBC News' current operational structure, and some staff will be co-located at NBC's headquarters in New York in order to create unified multi-platform teams, and promote the sharing of resources and
cross-platform reporting between the network's broadcast and digital properties. NBC News plans to keep a substantial presence in the Seattle area, building what will become the "NBC News Innovation Center." This center will focus on digital innovation and technology, and incubate new ideas for NBC News and NBCUniversal.
As the teams begin to combine, NBC News will continue to invest in the growth of its digital businesses, focusing on a model of user engagement through social networks, and creating more premium content with an emphasis on video.
"When msnbc.com launched 16 years ago, it set the standard for how people consume news online–creating trends and leading the
marketplace. Today, NBC News enters a new phase of its history better positioned to compete and grow in a digital environment, as well as deliver consumers and clients a multi-platform news experience unlike anything else in the industry," said Capus. "We'd like to thank Microsoft for everything they've done for this partnership and for helping us build these properties into what they are today."
In the coming years, MSN will remain an important distribution partner for NBCNews.com, featuring NBC News links to content on the MSN homepage and other properties.
"After years of working together with NBC to successfully build msnbc.com into a leading online news outlet, we are excited to explore future innovations, relationships and opportunities that will continue to provide the most relevant news and conversations at MSN," said Bob Visse, general manager of MSN. "We are looking forward to seeing how the msnbc news team thrives under NBC, and we will continue to feature the great stories from NBC News as well as expand our news offerings to best serve the evolving interests of our broad global audience."
NBC News Digital will be overseen by Vivian Schiller, Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer of NBC News. Charlie Tillinghast will continue to oversee the legacy Msnbc Digital Network properties, reporting to Schiller. The current NBC News Digital sales team will now report to Marianne Gambelli, President of NBC Network Ad Sales, and work closely with John Kelly, Executive Vice President of NBC News Ad Sales.
"This deal represents so many opportunities for NBC News, including the ability to better align television with digital, innovate around how we deliver content to consumers, and fully integrate digital into everything that we do," said Schiller. "Through this new structure, we'll grow by engaging users with our content directly, and on every platform. This is a different model from the rest, and given where the future of online news is trending, we see it as a model with staying power."
About NBC News Digital
NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and visually engaging stories on your platform of choice. NBC News Digital features world-class brands including NBCNews.com, tv.msnbc.com, TODAY.com, theGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, NBCPolitics.com, EducationNation.com, NightlyNews.com, Meet the Press, Rock Center, Dateline, Newsvine, EveryBlock, Breaking News and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We provide something for every news consumer with our comprehensive offerings that deliver the best in breaking news, segments from your favorite NBC News shows, live video coverage, original journalism, lifestyle features, commentary and local updates. NBC News Digital reaches an audience of more than 58 million unique visitors who generate more than 1.2 billion page views and 140 million online video streams each month. [press_end]