Microsoft could sell off its stake in MSNBC.com

Remember how Microsoft and NBC teamed up to form the MSNBC cable news network? Nowadays, most people are not even aware that Microsoft had anything to do with MSNBC. Indeed, NBC bought out Microsoft's stake in the cable network several years ago.

While MSNBC is now fully in NBC's hands, the odd thing is that MSNBC.com is still partly owned by Microsoft. That could change later this year. AdWeek.com claims it has heard from a number of unnamed sources that NBC and its parent company Comcast are in talks with Microsoft to buy the stake in MSNBC.com that it doesn't already own.

The website is extremely popular; the article claims that according to ComScore, MSNBC.com has 55.7 million unique visitors per month. However, part of that traffic comes from Microsoft's MSN.com site where MSNBC has some prime real estate. If NBC does buy out Microsoft's portion in MSNBC.com, the article speculates that NBC could ask to keep that placement on MSN.com.

So far, neither Microsoft nor NBC have commented on any MSNBC.com deal. We do think this will happen eventually; Microsoft has already moved on with its media tie-in plans via its Xbox business and it could see MSNBC.com has something that's a bit old school for them to deal with.

Via: The Verge
Source: AdWeek.com

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17 Comments

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If they do this, MSNBC isn't even an applicable name anymore, as the MS is for Microsoft. (Hi, Captain Obvious at your service...)

Now my head is spinning for new names. Gahhh

seebaran said,
If they do this, MSNBC isn't even an applicable name anymore, as the MS is for Microsoft. (Hi, Captain Obvious at your service...)

Now my head is spinning for new names. Gahhh

It'd just be renamed to NBC News or something similar

I thought they started this whole process years ago? I sware I read they where going to sell their stake in it like 5 years ago when they started being less active in the channel due to differences in opinnion in its operation

neufuse said,
I thought they started this whole process years ago? I sware I read they where going to sell their stake in it like 5 years ago when they started being less active in the channel due to differences in opinnion in its operation

They sold their stake in the channel. The website is still partially owned, which you can determine in the first 4 sentences of the article.

rev23dev said,

They sold their stake in the channel. The website is still partially owned, which you can determine in the first 4 sentences of the article.

and you didn't read what I wrote, I said started this process, aka transfer all their stake not just the cable venture... years ago when they started that, they talked about selling eventually the website also

MS and NBC came together and founded MSNBC and msnbc.com as joint venture. (It was back in the days when AOL and Time Warner also merged). Later in 2005, Microsoft sold most of its shares in MSNBC to NBC and soon after offloaded all of their shares.

However MS still remains as 50% owner of msnbc.com

Jerid said,
It was all about Countdown with Keith Olbermann

The article is not even about MSNBS - the TV channel. Microsoft offloaded its MSNBC shares back in 2005.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
There aren't very many people outside his house watching it either. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.c...dnesday-may-23-2012/135600/

This is a common point made by those in support of Fox 'News', often times to support a position of legitimacy for it as a news network... other times to try and de-legitimize networks like MSNBC. A simple look at ratings without context is insufficient... for starters it fails to reveal that Fox 'News' is available to more people than MSNBC. Partially because it's carried on more service providers, but also because it is almost always included in basic programming packages, while MSNBC is more likely to be part of extended packages that cost more.

Some other points worth noting:
- Anyone who possesses a basic understanding of the numbers you linked to can see that while MSNBC does indeed trail Fox 'News', their numbers in the key demos that are used to actually sell advertising are solid. Not all viewers are the same... for example, the older demo (65+) have a much lower value, as they're much less likely to purchase advertised products.

- The numbers you linked to are just cable news... they never want them compared to network evening newscasts, which absolutely crush all cable news networks in the ratings. Even the local newscasts tend to smack cable news networks (obviously I'm talking about the respective timeslots, since network and local newscasts aren't on 24-hours a day).

- Higher ratings do not equal more accurate reporting. I personally don't trust a 'news' service that argued for (and won) the position that they had the right to knowingly deceive (Lie) in a court of law. This is the reason they cannot expand up into the Canadian market... because Canada legally prohibits news services from intentionally lying.

- Finally, while there generally seems to be some sort of gratification gained through ratings comparisons by those who support Fox 'News', they generally fail to note that Fox 'News' is beaten by a significant margin every day by Nickelodeon, TNT, and the Disney channel (just in the cable TV world).