NBC’s acquisition of the former MSNBC.com is timed to allow the Peacock network to fight an online battle with Fox News as the lucrative fall campaign season nears.
NBC got 100 percent financial control of MSNBC.com over the weekend and switched its online address to NBCNews.com by Monday morning.
The New York Times says Comcast, which owns NBC, paid $300 million for the remaining half of the Web site. It is the fourth biggest news website in the U.S.
According to the AP, both NBC and MSNBC walked away from the 16-year-old venture with what they want.
NBC can now full blend the personalities and attitude from its MSNBC cable channel, which competes head on with the popular and lucrative Fox News network, into NBCNews.com.
That might be a bigger factor this fall, when record-shattering political spending is expected online and on television due to the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
In turn, Microsoft will set up its own independent news portal website that will compete with Yahoo! News, CNN and others.
In the past there were reported concerns within Microsoft about MSNBC’s political stance, which was in contrast to the non-political nature of Microsoft’s consumer business.
MSNBC.com was one of the first major online efforts to report a broad spectrum of news. By the late 1990s, there were disagreements over the site’s direction, and the legal nature of the joint venture held both companies back from more partnerships.
The split had been expected for some time, especially after Microsoft sold its stake in the MSNBC cable TV channel in 2005.
Now, both companies can explore partnerships with other major online websites.
After the election, NBC will launch a separate standalone website for MSNBC.com that is dedicated to the left-leaning cable TV channel and its personalities.
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