Cable Technology Feature Article
Comcast Makes the Move to Acquire MSNBC.com
By Monica Gleberman, Contributing Writer
The cable giant, Comcast (News - Alert), recently announced that it purchased all of Microsoft’s stock in new site, MSNBC.com for $300 million. This deal marks the end of a 16-year partnership between the two companies that dates back to 1996. The new agreement will give NBC News full editorial and business control over MSNBC.com, which will be re-launched as NBCNews.com.
“Today we’re taking on a new name – NBCNews.com. While our name is changing, our commitment is not,” said Jennifer Sizemore, editor-in-chief of NBCNews.com in a letter posted on the company’s website.
This sale will release Microsoft (News - Alert) for the first time from having to provide all of its new content to one location. Now, the company can work to form content sharing agreements with other new outlets other than NBC. Microsoft hopes that this change will allow it to compete better with huge corporations such as Google (News - Alert).
Analysts responded to the announcement saying this could be a great deal for both companies. Besides Microsoft’s new freedom, Comcast will also now have an ability to expand. “NBC (51 percent-owned by CMCSA) already bought in MSFT’s stake in the cable channel MSNBC in 2005, and now NBC can more effectively cross-sell advertising of the unified brand on TV and online,” said David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Tabak.
Comcast has said that it has plans to also sell its stakes in other joint ventures with partners such as A&E Television Networks and Disney (News - Alert)-ABC Television Group. Although the company has made mention of plans to sell, Comcast has not released any further details on when that sale might happen.
In the meantime, Microsoft plans to unveil a new version of its portal in the fall, according to a recent statement. “It will be singularly focused on online consumers, harnessing real-time signals produced by social networks using the power of search to deliver breaking updates based on relevant topics,” said Microsoft. “MSN will utilize advanced technologies to mine real-time information from the web to keep users constantly up to date and in the know on the latest breaking news and trends across the Internet.”
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Edited by Brooke Neuman