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Microsoft Businesses The Media

NBC Purchases MSNBC Rights From Microsoft 209

flatt writes "Ending a sixteen year partnership between the now Comcast-owned NBCUniversal and Microsoft, the website has been immediately renamed to Both parties note that the integration between both parties is deep and will require 2 years to complete the decoupling. For the immediate future, NBC will continue to provide news content for and Microsoft will continue to be the advertising provider for the site. Content control, brand confusion, and partisan content are cited as reasons behind the breakup. Microsoft sold its 50% share in the MSNBC TV rights to NBC back in 2005."
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NBC Purchases MSNBC Rights From Microsoft

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  • Partisan content? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mpoulton ( 689851 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:08AM (#40661181)
    Does that mean that Microsoft didn't like MSNBC's political bias, or that NBC didn't like Microsoft's insertion of political bias on
    • Re:Partisan content? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:21AM (#40661201)
      Or maybe MS wants to focus on other things. Also the venture for MS may not have been profitable. The summary is partially correct: in 2005, MS sold 32% of its 50% stake of the venture and gave up control as well. MSNBC from them was probably partisan from NBC's control not MS.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        It simply means the way forward for M$ is to let MSN forge ahead. M$'s biggest failure was to choke off the development of the MSN network behind incompetant management decisions coming out of Uncle Fester and the Ballmerites. Those backward loons choked off the creativity of MSN, tried to squeeze monopoly like profit margins out of it only to send it into loss and turned away the market they had. M$ basically gave away Google to Google, MSN had it all, only to see Ballmer choke the chicken.

        There is no r

    • by dintech ( 998802 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:22AM (#40661373)

      Whenever I see any MS 'news' content, it seems to be mostly celebrity drivel. I suppose I get what I deserve for having a hotmail account. :)

    • If Microsoft doesn't like the political spin that NBC puts on news, it just goes to show you that corporate news is not about providing information, but providing corporate propaganda. Corporations don't want proper news organizations, but organs that promote their point of view.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Or it could be that they thought that a "proper" news organization like MSNBC shouldn't be so buddy buddy with the left, that they even report on their own website [] how skewed they are: identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two g

        • Re:Partisan content? (Score:5, Informative)

          by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:44AM (#40661619) Homepage

          MSNBC isn't objective, neither is CNBC, NBC aims to be objective.

          CNBC covers financial news from the perspective of a the small stock / mutual fund investor. You'll rarely hear news on CNBC from the perspective of professionals or control investors.
          MSNBC offers opinion journalism from the perspective of the left.
          NBC tries as best as possible to offer traditional journalism, i.e. news from the perspective of the Washington rulership.

          • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @11:17AM (#40663077)

            "NBC aims to be objective"

            You're talking about the same NBC that edited the Zimmerman tape []? The same NBC that edited the Romney video [] to change the context? Right?

            • by jbolden ( 176878 )

              Andrea Mitchell Report is an MSNBC show. But yes, the Zimmerman tape. Attempting to be objective is not the same as achieving perfection in every regard on every issue. Here is a list from Media Matters for America which includes the NBC tag:


              You can see the left has complaints as well.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by DesScorp ( 410532 )

            MSNBC isn't objective, neither is CNBC, NBC aims to be objective.

            CNBC covers financial news from the perspective of a the small stock / mutual fund investor. You'll rarely hear news on CNBC from the perspective of professionals or control investors.
            MSNBC offers opinion journalism from the perspective of the left.
            NBC tries as best as possible to offer traditional journalism, i.e. news from the perspective of the Washington rulership.

            No, MSNBC isn't objective, but they're honest about their slant now. Good, I prefer it that way. Be up front about it. For all of the craven shilling MSNBC does for the left at times, they still have more integrity than NBC because they're honest about it. NBC doesn't "aim to be objective". NBC aims to cloak their biases under the blanket of objectivity, and increasingly, people aren't fooled.

            The Brits had this figured out years ago in their press system. The Guardian doesn't pretend to be unbiased. Neither

        • Several things. First, that report was over the media landscape entirely. They identified CNN, ABC, Fox and yes, their own as giving political donations. This is precisely the reason what got Keith Olbermann in trouble in 2010/2011. He made donations to Congressman Grijalva of Arizona to the tune of 2,400 bucks. Thus his suspension, then firing from the network. He was also MSNBC's biggest draw.

          The other point is that when talking about MSNBC's biases, you've got to look at life before and after Keith

        • They shouldn't be buddies with either "side" and they shouldn't have a pro-corporate bias either.

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:57AM (#40662355) Journal

          Or it could be that they thought that a "proper" news organization like MSNBC shouldn't be so buddy buddy with the left, that they even report on their own website [] how skewed they are:

          There's a word for "they even report on their own website". It's called "disclosure" and it's something MSNBC is doing that Fox doesn't do, CNN doesn't do, and ABC doesn't do.

          Never mind that their prime time news personality (Chris Matthews) used to be Chief of Staff for the Democratic Speaker of the House during the Reagan years - yep, that engenders political objectivity...

          You're a big supporter of every company where you used to work? You think Burger Village is the best food in town just because you flipped burgers there and got to be assistant manager when the previous assistant manager left to have her father's baby?

          Go take a look at the pundits and talking heads on every network. They all used to do something. They all voted one way or the other (most likely) and they all have a sexual orientation, a religion (or not) and probably prefer either Apple or Android.

          It's really not hard to discern who's ringing the bullshit bell (and for whom it tolls) if you have half a brain and the willingness to check your own bias once in a while. Also, check a fact now and then. Do it yourself. If you are checking a media outlet's facts against what another media outlet's "fact checker" says, your running in a circle, so don't rely on "fact checker sites" to be your ref because now every two-bit Right Wing (or Left Wing depending upon your own in-house bias) outfit has it's own "fact check" site that is supposedly telling you how full of shit the other side is. Yes, it gets confusing, but if you act in good faith, and (I'm not kidding about this) have a heart that is pure you'll be able to figure it all out easily enough.

        • Yeah and their morning host was a Republican member of Congress! Oh wait...
      • So, you equate **not** liking political spin, in other words, **bias**, with propaganda? I find that logic less than satisfactory. Political spin is, by definition, biased, and a therefore a close cousin of propaganda.
    • Everytime I installed windows 95/98 and having to get rid of that stupid icon from the desktop and then from the ie bookmarks which were included even up to win 7. FInally that stupid icon is going to die away.

    • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:35AM (#40661579)

      It means the two most evil entities in their respective industries are separating to focus on being more effective at being evil in their respective industries.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      I know the NBC is comfortable with the bias. As they see it, MSNBC is a cable station that has established a strong niche regular viewership. A dedicated viewership in the millions is gold for a cable station it means reliable ratings i.e. advertising dollars day after day, week after week, year after year. And MSNBC's ratings are likely to double under a Republican administration. Moreover "news junkies" are a good demographic. Further this split allows NBC news to do important journalism with less po

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lilfields ( 961485 )
      When did Microsoft insert political bias into You think NBC would care anyhow? Have you watched MSNBC? It's like the Fox partisan line-up on steroids.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Surt ( 22457 )

        While MSNBC is skewed to the left, to suggest they are skewed further from reality than fox has to be either misinformed or disingenuous.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:01AM (#40661695)

      It is kinda funny, when MSNBC started it was considered a Right Leaning, new organization, then Fox News came out, making it seem much to moderate. So to survive, it went to more left leaning then the other stations. So in terms of Cable News you have these options...
      Fox News, News for Right Wing Nuts, Fare and balanced if you are right wing nut.
      CNN, News for those people who really don't care, in an attempt to be moderate it doesn't really go into any depth.
      MSNBC, New For Liberals, Hard hitting on the liberal agenda.

      I am a political moderate myself and I don't care for any of these sites, I seem to switch to NPR, While it is left of center, and I am right of center, I found that NPR puts a little more depth in its coverage compared to the others, and doesn't really jump on the insanity.

    • No, it means Microsoft was dead weight for NBC. It didn't contribure anything useful to the partnership. Microsoft is not really respected for its online offerings. Its always been a step or two behind other companies.

    • if I'd have to guess, the "political bias" was made up polar opposite for Fox News, so partisans of both sides get run by the same RIAA/MPAA sponsered group. Its an illusion of choice or difference.
  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:29AM (#40661221)

    Wait, I'm confused. This story suggests that this sale of the Microsoft share of MSNBC is a recent thing, but the summary says the sale happened in 2005. Is this old news, or did Microsoft have additional ownership that has recently (like within this calendar year) been purchased as well to finalize the split?

    • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:48AM (#40661279)

      It's a bit confusing. There were two MSNBCs: MSNBC the cable channel, and MSNBC the website.

      Microsoft divested itself of MSNBC the cable channel in 2005, which is what TFS refers to. MSNBC the cable channel has been owned and operated solely by NBC since then.

      MSNBC the website is what today's news is about. Microsoft has sold off their 50% share of MSNBC the website to Comcast/NBC. As a result NBC now has full control over MSNBC the website - content, technology, and (most importantly) advertising.

      NBC now owns both MSNBCs. Ultimately in 2013 there will be a single TV/web MSNBC entity just like CNN and FoxNews today. Meanwhile the current MSNBC the website will become NBC's news website.

    • One set of shares were for the TV channel, and the other more recent set of shares were for the website - two separate independent transactions for two separate entities.

  • So, if I read this correctly, NBC is its own owner again, and therefore also in charge of its own contents. Independence is important for a news provider.

    • Every Cabloid news channel is lying and manipulating and propagandizing the news. There is no real journalism going on, just laundering of corporate agendas and government talking points. CNN and Fox Noise have had their viewership go down by half and 20% respectively, over the last year. I believe the rapid decline is due to the fact that people know they're being lied to and have done to get the real news somewhere else, or have just stopped caring and tuned out. The world is depressing enough already w
      • by jonwil ( 467024 )

        Is there such a thing as actual TV news in the US anymore instead of the so-called "news" put out by entities like Fox, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC etc?
        I think "The News Hour" (on PBS in the US and SBS in Australia) is watchable but how does it go on bias and agendas?

        • Yeah, it's the BBC World News Service available on NPR and BBC America.

    • So, if I read this correctly, NBC is its own owner again, and therefore also in charge of its own contents. Independence is important for a news provider.

      Hope the OP was aiming for a "funny" mod.

      NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC are all owned by NBCUniversal (as in Universal Studios; the two merged in 2004), which is in turn owned by GE and Comcast.

      CNN is owned by Turner, which is in turn owned by Time Warner.

      ABC is owned by Disney

      Fox is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, owned by News Corp

      Independence doesn't exist in modern media- at least not in the television space.

  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:38AM (#40661411)

    When this transaction first happened in the 90s, it didn't make sense to me. Why was MS starting a news channel and a news website, when NBC was already there, and MS really had nothing to bring to the party. I know, that was the era of Friends and Seinfeld, which made NBC far more attractive than Fox, ABC and CBS. However, MS made itself look like a shill for the Left in the eyes of Conservatives, even while it was being investigated by the DoJ for its monopolistic practices.

    And these days, do too many people go to these sites? I'd imagine that they go to blogs that have the news about their subject of interest, and go there. This is different from the days of first Usenet, and later, web sites of news organizations. Nowadays, people just throng to the websites they trust, and follow whatever news they want there.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:48AM (#40661637) Homepage

      Microsoft started MSNBC along with Slate and other such programming because they wanted a focus on internet delivery. They wanted to shift the American audience from consuming media on television to consuming media on computers. Which would lead to widespread broadband adoption and at least one and often multiple computers in every home. Seems to me their plan made quite a bit of sense.

      • Microsoft started MSNBC along with Slate and other such programming because they wanted a focus on internet delivery.

        Delivery? More like they wanted a say on the content. If they wanted merely to deliver the Internet, then it would have made better sense if they signed up a bunch of different media companies (and not just one) to create a news portal. MS would be their presence on the new-fangled WWW while they continued as cable and broadcast companies (a deal that would be impossible to broker today).

        • by jbolden ( 176878 )

          Well first off they did do that, it was called Microsoft channels and was a key component of I.E. 4. Pointcast and Avantgo ended up offering better alternatives but yes Microsoft did do that.

          With the other line, they wanted exclusive content. Microsoft was of the opinion, that the internet allowed for styles of journalism that couldn't exist on print and broadcast. For example offering the depth of good newspaper articles but being updated constantly like cable news. They wanted to be much more than jus

    • Everyone was doing it. Remember AOL-TimeWarner, perhaps the worst possible name for a company possible?
    • by glebovitz ( 202712 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:03AM (#40662011) Journal

      I'd like to take the replies one step further. In the mid 1990s Sun, Oracle, AOL, and others were claiming the death to the PC and all desktop computers would become internet devices. The web or network would become the computer and Microsoft would be irrelevant. In response, Gates realigned the company, refocused on the Internet and released Internet Explorer for free. I believe MSNBC partnership was a service side hedge against what Microsoft saw as a Web assault on their business. NBC, Time Warner, and other television a cable outlets also feared the Web. They was the potential for movie, programming, and music companies to reach consumers directly cutting the media giants out as distributors. I was in the Cable business in 1999 and 2000 and heard this directly from a Time Warner content manager. An NBC / Microsoft offering made sense.

      By 2004/2005 the partnership no longer made sense. Time Warner / AOL didn't take over the world and media was shifting to individuals through blogging and a trend towards media streaming. YouTube appeared on the scene in 2005/2006 along with Google Video. The trend towards individual contributions has continued to change the nature of news reporting.

      I think the biggest change was the movement of news channels from delivering news to providing news entertainment. IMHO Fox, MSNBC, and CNN are now entertainment assets. This goes beyond the original vision of MSNBC as an Internet news outlet.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:43AM (#40661423) Journal

    No way, I can't believe it. I thought MSNBC was completely free of bias.

  • I would have guessed they'd have backronym'ed MSNBC due to its name recognition, but apparently the brand was so toxic as to require a rebranding as soon as the ink was dry.

  • I've always been uneasy about Microsoft, I mean Microsoft, being in control of a news network.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:28AM (#40661803)

    I am still waiting for CNNBCBS, a division of ABC. That would be the worst channel ever.

    • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:31AM (#40661827) Homepage Journal

      They are all already the worst channels ever.

      A U.S. citizen has to go to a foreign news source to get any facts about what is happening... and most won't bother as they have to keep up with the kardasians.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        I actually did that after 2001. I read mostly foreign sources from late 2001-7 almost never touching domestic news, except for local & state issues. However, the media IMHO has gotten way better today than it was then. With blogging, news aggregation and opinion oriented journalism there now is a pretty good menu of domestic news sources for just about any need.

    • why not NBC NEWS so it's like FOX NEWS

  • I suspect that the real reason that MSNBC is breaking up is because Ballmer through a chair through his TV set over some news story, vowing to "destroy MSNBC."
  • I don't see where this makes any difference. I don't watch any NBC channels, try to do as little business with Microsoft as possible, and would go back to dialup before touching Comcast again. May they all rot in hell.

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