Know in the news industry at least as the side of the Microsoft-NBCU online-cable joint venture that succeeded, MSNBC.com is trying to rise above the online news crowd backed by a $4 million branding campaign. That’s just the amount being spent outside NBC-owned networks, points out the WSJ. A little history: The two founded in 1996 as a 50-50 JV. MSNBC the cable net moved under NBCU’s control last year; MSNBC.com, which has benefited as the top news source of one of the largest portals, is still 50-50. Despite its success, MSNBC.com has struggled at times for identity beyond the news tie-ins with NBC and its role as news anchor for MSN.
The tagline for this campaign — “A Fuller Spectrum of News” — encompasses its own breadth and depth, as well as that of partners Newsweek.com and WashingtonPost.com. MSNBC.com needs to stand out in an increasingly crowded news site universe — and it needs to gain more traffic that comes directly to the site. As the Journal points out, CNN.com draws a smaller crowd but 17.8 percent of its users went directly to the site versus 7.8 for MSNBC in February, according to comScore.
— NBCU Takes Full Control Of MSNBC; Web Site Remains Joint Effort