Tired Of Facing ‘Brand Insanity,’ MSNBC.com Considers Name Change

With the contrast between *MSNBC* the cable channel and *MSNBC.com* becoming more stark, executives at the site are considering changing the name of its domain and brand. One candidate to separate the NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) properties: NBCNews.com. According to memos featured on the NYT‘s MediaDecoder, the discussions have been underway for months.

In case you only look at one or the other, the cable channel has been able to beat CNN in the ratings with its primetime lineup of left-leaning punditry in the form of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, while the site serves up objective reporting with a greater emphasis on social media and partnerships with outside companies. Considering that the site and the channel are operated as separate companies, MSNBC.com president Charlie Tillinghast was driven to say in a March memo that “naming them the same thing is brand insanity.”

The back and forth has been happening for months over whether and when to issue a different domain and brand name for the website. But there seems to be more urgency now given the new “Lean Forward” branding campaign for the cable channel. The campaign highlights the opinionated primetime bench that’s pummeling CNN in the ratings on the left while Fox News continues to squeeze the Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) network on the right.

Tillinghast’s memo said that the channel’s “Lean Forward” tag