Microsoft Leaves MSNBC TV
Microsoft has officially quit MSNBC TV, finally ending long-running speculation about that breakup.
Ending a partnership that soured long ago, Microsoft and NBC announced yesterday that they would dissolve their joint ownership of the cable news channel MSNBC, with NBC taking control. NBC has completed a deal to assume majority control of the channel immediately, with an 82 percent stake, and it will become the sole owner within two years, NBC executives said yesterday. The two companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal. But the partners will continue their 50-50 ownership of the MSNBC Web site, which, partly as a consequence of its affiliation with Microsoft, is the most-used news site on the Internet.
The news channel, which began in 1995, has always been more of the problem child in the partnership, almost always trailing the other two news channels, Fox News and CNN, in audience ratings.
Executives at NBC News professed enthusiasm about the opportunity to run the channel on their own. Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, said in a statement that the deal would permit NBC to “fully integrate the channel into our news operations.” But NBC executives have said for years that Microsoft never had any editorial control of the channel.
Aside from the elimination of whatever bankrolling Microsoft was giving the venture, it’s unclear what the impact of this move will be. My guess is that it will be rather minimal, except presumably a name change.
Previously at OTB: