Sarah Ellison and Dennis K. Berman are reporting in the Wall Street Journal (a Dow Jones publication) that in recent weeks General Electric and Microsoft were in discussions about offering an alternative bid to News Corp’s proposed acquisition of Dow Jones from the controlling Bancroft family. Apparently GE and Microsoft couldn’t reach an agreement and GE may look for another partner to make a bid. It isn’t really clear what part Microsoft would have played in the deal other than providing a fat wallet and experience in partnering with GE in MSNBC.com and the MSNBC TV cable channel.
MSNBC President Rick Kaplan is leaving the third-ranked cable news network after more than two years on the job, according to company e-mails obtained on Thursday.
Kaplan informed employees of his departure in a note sent late on Wednesday, noting that prime-time viewership at MSNBC grew 25 percent during his tenure. He did not elaborate on his decision to leave or his future prospects.
MSNBC is majority-owned by General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal after NBC increased its stake in the joint venture with Microsoft Corp. in December.
As always, MSNBC TV is separate and distinct from MSNBC.com. The December deal was mentioned previously here. No successor to Kaplan was named immediately. As for where MSNBC stands in the industry:
But with an average nightly audience of 143,000 people aged 25 to 54, it (MSNBC) still lags far behind Time Warner Inc.’s CNN with 201,000 viewers and News Corp.’s Fox news channel with 375,000 viewers.
No real news, just a press release to say they’re doing great:
With MSNBC.com’s tenth anniversary coming up in July, the site has solidified its position as both the leader in news consumers’ minds and the leader in the industry. Not only does the site continue to dominate the Nielsen//Net Ratings against all other broadcast and cable news websites, it is regularly recognized as the best news and information site within the industry, most recently in the “Best Online Publishers” issue of MediaPost’s OMMA Magazine. In addition, recent research by JupiterResearch shows that MSNBC.com has outperformed the competition over the past year.
According to a study by JupiterResearch on the future of news, MSNBC.com is the most trafficked TV news site on the web and is in the enviable position of showing the most significant growth of any TV news site over the last year. MSNBC.com captured 30 percent of total news category traffic and 40 percent year over year growth, two combined statistics no other site can match. In comparison, total online news category traffic grew by seven percent. Competitors such as CNN.com and ABCNews.com who capture 24 percent and five percent of total traffic respectively, each showed below-average growth.
MSNBC.com is still equally owned by Microsoft and NBC and is separate from MSNBC TV which Microsoft largely divested in December.
And now for some breaking news from MSNBC: Microsoft doesn’t know jack about media.
Unlike the nascent move towards content creation by competitors Yahoo! and Google, Microsoft raised the last of its media white flags Friday, agreeing to sell a controlling stake in MSNBC to the eponymous other half of the cable news partnership.
The MSNBC investment marks another in a long line of failed content forays by Microsoft, which has spent billions, particularly through investments in cable companies, attempting to diversify its revenue stream — but to no avail.
Also mentioned are AT&T Broadband, Slate, and Expedia. There is some backhanded praise for the serendipitous investment in Comcast.