MSNBC.com is owned jointly by Microsoft and NBC Universal, which each own 50% of the online property. (While similarly named, the cable company MSNBC is a separate business entity now controlled by NBC Universal, with Microsoft owning only an 18% minority share.) According to Newsvine’s website, its mission is “to bring together big and little media in a way which respects established journalism and empowers the individual at the same time.”
Mike Davidson, the developer of Newsvine, talks about the sale in this post on his blog.
“So why would an independent, cost-efficient, growing startup like Newsvine which has taken very little venture capital want to join a huge organization like msnbc.com? The answer comes down to global impact. Our goal at Newsvine has always been to spread the ethos of participatory news as far and wide as possible, and what more dramatic way can that be accomplished than with a partner who reaches 85 million computers a month and has an offline presence on nearly every television set in the country?”
My fellow-Rex, Rex Sorgatz is the Executive Producer of MSNBC.com. On his personal blog (the one I always point to), fimoculous.com, Rex explains the MSNBC.com perspective on the acquisition:
“I’m convinced that Newsvine represents a different way of thinking about traditional media — as merger of gathering, interacting, and consuming. By positing news as an ecosystem rather than a hierarchy, the philosophy of Newsvine is actually an old one. News has always been conversational, but only recently have we begun to rediscover the tools to bring it back to its networked mode. Mike and his team have built an amazing site, and we are excited to turn some of our large audience onto it.
For me personally, it’s a moment I have been anticipating for years: seeing how a big news outlet can interact with its audience, how it can learn from its audience, how it can cede control to its audience. And ultimately, how “audience” isn’t even the right word anymore.
I’ve been working for big media for over a dozen years now. And to be honest, I am always close to giving up. While all my nouveau riche Silicon Valley friends cash in their start-ups, I’ve been preparing the epitaph on my days working in this industry: “Mainstream media is hard.”
In addition to the great personal-perspective posts from Rex and Mike, Read/WriteWeb provides a great deal of background and analysis:
“What is MSNBC getting, other than a slick and feature-packed website? Newsvine is also a thriving Citizen Journalism community, with solid stats. In our July review of Newsvine, we noted that Newsvine gets about 1.2 million unique visitors per month and it has grown at an average rate of 46% per quarter. Newsvine community members view an average of 21 pages per day and spend an average of 143 minutes per month on the site. The site gets about 80,000 comments a month and 250,000 votes a month.