MSNBC.com Helmer Shifts To New Role

Scott Moore, MSNBC.com's president and general manager of MSN news and information, has been tapped to lead a new group at the software giant as general manager, MSN Network Experience. In the newly created global role, Moore will oversee the MSN Home Page, My Page, and several smaller channels; coordinate custom publishing projects for advertisers; and lead efforts to create new customization features for the MSN service.

The new group that Moore will head will be comprised of about 180 people, drawn from a variety of groups within Microsoft. Its formation comes as MSN readies its own search service and flogs streaming video advertising. Moore says the new group is tasked with improving the overall MSN experience for consumers.

"Right now, we have a fairly standard home page; we want to make it more of an information management service for users with personalized, relevant content," Moore says. "Even for the average Internet user who happens onto MSN.com, we want to make the content relevant." And on My MSN, for example, MSN hopes to offer a page that tailors itself to the individual user's interests without a lot of work on their part.

Moore's group will be charged with building the custom advertising and solutions packages sold by the MSN ad sales team led by Joanne Bradford, vice president and chief media revenue officer. MSN is hosting an annual gathering of leading advertisers and agency executives on Thursday at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash. headquarters.

Charlie Tillinghast--vice president, sales and business development for MSNBC.com--was named acting general manager of MSNBC.com. Tillinghast is also a candidate for Moore's old job. Moore, who will remain president of MSNBC.com until the search for his replacement concludes, expects the process to last no more than three months.

Meanwhile, after nearly eight years, MSNBC.com is nearing profitability. Some industry and company insiders say that the division, a partnership with General Electric Co.'s NBC News, will be profitable by the start of Microsoft's new fiscal year on July 1. Moore declined to comment. MSNBC.com regularly attracts some 20 million unique visitors per month, helped by heavy promotion from NBC News broadcast properties.

As for the group he's leaving, Moore says: "MSNBC.com is in a terrific position today--it has the best news journalism on the Web, a fantastic team of editors and writers and tech people."

From a technology standpoint, though, Moore believes there's more work to be done. "We can take advantage of broadband and use technology to tailor the product we present to particular interests. We want to make it really easy for people to get relevant information," he says.

Moore cites Amazon.com's collaborative filtering method. For example, when searching for a book, a consumer is presented with further suggestions of books he or she might enjoy based on the initial query. Moore also believes that MSN can integrate search tools into MSNBC.com.

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