NBC News has acquired full control of its website, msnbc.com, making its split from Microsoft official.The corporate divorce gives NBC the opportunity to rebrand its nonpartisan news site — formerly msnbc.com — as nbcnews.com, while the cable channel continues to broadcast its brand of liberal political commentary.
ABC News and CBS News both have websites that match their network news operations, but NBC News’ website long carried its cable channel’s branding. Microsoft and NBC launched the cable channel and site 16 years ago. At the time it was seen as a pioneering partnership in the early days of on-line news. In 2005, NBC completed a deal to acquire full control of MSNBC TV, but Microsoft retained its 50-percent stake in the website.
For now, according to NBC News President Steve Capus, only the news website’s URL will change. “There’s nothing wrong with what’s there,” Capus said in the network’s story announcing the deal. “There’s nothing that needs to be fixed.”
Eventually, though, msnbc.com will be home to the cable channel’s liberal personalities and commentary, separate from NBC News content. Charlie Tillinghast, the head of MSNBC.com, said the split will help align the broadcast and web elements of the separate news brands. Jennifer Sizemore, editor-in-chief of the digital network, added that the separate sites would give NBC News correspondents a sense of ownership of their work online.
While NBC did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, The New York Times reports that Microsoft will receive about $300 million for its stake in the website.
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