If msnbc.com was a bookmarked favorite, you may want to reconsider where you get your news. As of today, all of NBC News will be redirected to nbcnews.com while msnbc.com will be strictly about the MSNBC Cable Network. Confused? So will the users of the website and the cable network. Isn't the cable network also owned by NBC? Yes, but the website was co-owned by Microsoft. The challenge lies in the ownership and with it comes the revenue model as it relates to other non Microsoft owned properties. So now NBC properties can get full value of their web based synergies with their TV brands. Today Show info will no longer be on msnbc.com; rather, clips from the network will be on nbcnews.com. And the result, NBC can keep 100% of the digital revenue.
So MSNBC the cable network, a left leaning political site will point to msnbc.com while NBC News, the Today Show, Rock Center and other news properties will point to nbcnews.com. And hopefully, the web surfer will add a new bookmark and notice the change. Otherwise, the concern will be how to recapture the lost web traffic.
One thing that I haven't seen addressed, what happens to MSNBC the cable network? "Microsoft’s stake in the cable channel was dissolved in 2005. But NBC came to feel handcuffed by the Web arrangement; an increasing number of advertisers wanted to buy ads both on its TV newscasts and its Web sites, a strategy called cross-media sales, but it could not respond effectively because Microsoft ran the ad sales part of the business." It seems the next step is a name change for the cable network itself, further distancing itself from MSN and embracing the NBC News brand. I expect that a name change is sooner than later.