NBCU-Microsoft Divorce Can’t Happen Soon Enough

12 Jul

Back to the Future Probably because the divorce and its effects are still ongoing (but imminent), but what will happen to MSNBC.com, when NBC Universal and Microsoft part legal ways?

The deal, if consummated, could result in two separate websites, NBCNews.com and a reworked MSNBC.com, according to an NBC News staffer.

Inside NBC, there has been talk of a new website for weeks. The site is believed to be NBCNews.com, which would serve as a news hub, as well as the online home for programs like “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press” and “Rock Center.” MSNBC.com would probably serve as the home for the cable channel’s politically-focused programming and news.

One of the big sticking points inside of the company was the fact that MSNBC.com wasn’t able to capitalize on the TV news organization’s personalities or scoops as well as some of its competitors. While NBC News and MSNBC programs and stories have always had a role (sometimes even a prominent one) on the site, there wasn’t the flexibility to feature certain stories or videos as CNN has with CNN.com, or ABC has with ABCNews.com.

Shields notes that whatever the site ends up being called, it would likely receive prominent placement on MSN.com, which serves as a major traffic driver to the site. Fox Sports is a content partner for MSN, so it would not be that crazy for NBC News to have a role in a similar capacity. It isn’t clear what would happen to MSNBC.com staffers, some of whom work out of NBC News bureaus in New York, Washington and elsewhere, and many of whom work out of Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters.

Great, now I can ignore NBCNews.com completely. This all looks like the slow-motion death of the older network TV model, where the NBC, ABC, and CBS brands were right there in your face. On the other hand, I get my news from RSS feeds and other people on places like Twitter. I identify with the “Up with Chris Hayes” brand, for instance, not MSNBC.com. An effect of this is the frustration I have navigating the “Up” website, which changes every week and for some reason doesn’t allow me just to access the entire two-hour program without some staffers editing the show into clips for me. A little aside: I would love to hear the music everyone else listens to before and after commercial breaks. Why do I have to suffer through a commercial, to listen to a tune? The old white guys have to get with the times.

It’s important, however, to understand how these corporate “marriages” affect how I get my information, a process which is fraught with the opaqueness of corporate journalism. So many opinions (I have the same problem with think tanks), so little trust in my ability to evaluate information for myself.

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