MSNBC's Web Site Ponders Potential Name Change

After 14 years of calling itself, the Web site's management wants a name change -- because the political slant of its related TV network doesn't jive with the site's more straight-ahead news service.

Good luck trying to rebuild yourself in the next 14 years.

Media platforms should look to diverse content -- some opinionated, some not. I'm wondering whether doesn't jive with the Fox News Channel's interest. Does the print version of the New York Times have a different ideological slant than the Web site?

Both the MSNBC and Fox Web sites are pretty much straightforward news. Both TV networks are dominated by big-time prime-time personalities -- one leaning more liberal/Democrat, the other leaning conservative/Republican. (As in "leaning forward" -- that's MSNBC's new marketing tag line).



But here's what's missing: While both are opinionated, those networks also have time periods where they ALSO do pretty much straight news -- especially in the daytime and overnight time periods. Of course, it's prime time where the big network marketing images carry a lot of weight.

What are senior executives really worried about? Advertising. The reality is, many TV advertisers don't buy Internet sites and traditional TV networks the same way -- or in packages, irrespective of how those brands are perceived.

For example, there aren't many combination TV/Internet deals --- buying TV commercials on a TV channel, and mostly static advertising messaging on Internet site. Pricing is way different, as are the audience metrics. is thinking about changing to a plainer moniker -- Since 2005, NBC Universal has been the majority owner of the cable network (with Microsoft owning a small stake). They had been 50-50 partners for the network's first nine years of its existence.

But the MSNBC Web site is still 50-50 owned by NBC and Microsoft, as well as it being a part of Microsoft's MSN digital area. Perhaps making matter more complicated are MSN's other content deals. For example, it also has one with Fox Sports.

Still, to come -- a company called Comcast and its opinion. With the deal not yet closed, the new majority owners of NBC Universal may not have a say -- right now anyway.

But things could change. Lean forward -- or maybe sideways -- and observe.

2 comments about "MSNBC's Web Site Ponders Potential Name Change".
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  1. Chris Nielsen from Domain Incubation, October 8, 2010 at 3:23 p.m.

    Why is it that large corporations seem to have such problems and make awful missteps so often. "Lean Forward" is a slogan, but not a very good one since it brings to mind a thin sports team member. "" was also a really bad choice in my opinion,since there were two Cs that already have firmly established brands (Crosby and Cherries). I don't ever see myself asking "Did you Bing that to see if you can find it?".

    A non-native English speaker friend actually asked me what the meaning of "lean over" before I heard about this news. Not having any context, I thought he heard it said with the same meaning as "bend over".

    Since "Lean Over" can only be seen as one of the worst possible choices, I have little doubt that it will be used. That's usually the way things like this go...! :-)

  2. Chuck Lantz from, network, October 8, 2010 at 10:59 p.m.

    Since "leaning left" and "leaning right" are already in common usage, "Leaning Forward" sounds like a perfect choice of slogans for MSNBC.

    As for the article itself, I'm crossing my fingers, burning candles and considering sacrificing some small animals in the hope that MSNBC's TV programming stays as it is.

    With Fox doing a lot more than just leaning far-right, and the once-great major TV network news programmers (including PBS) cowering under their desks in constant fear of offending anyone, MSNBC offers the only clear progressive view. And even that view is diluted a bit by some MSNBC programs; "Morning Joe" being the obvious example.

    Personally, if MSNBC didn't exist, most likely I'd be typing this from somewhere in Canada.

    And by the way, you can "bend" over, and "lean" forward, sideways or back, but you cannot "lean over".

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