MSNBC.com will turn into NBCNews.com. For anyone with a long enough memory in the media business, that means you can forget about what the letters "M" and "S" mean before "NBC."
For 16 years MSNBC and MSNBC.com built brand name awareness. Those in the media-know could figure out that "M" and "S" came from the Microsoft Corp name.
Right or wrong, the MSNBC name now has a separate -- and some say bigger -- appeal and brand notoriety than NBC News. In cable news, we kind of understand what we are getting with MSNBC, as well as from Fox News and CNN.
The bigger question remains, “What does this change mean for consumers and advertisers?”
NBC and Microsoft's divorce started in 2005 when Microsoft un-partnered itself from NBC with the cable network. Now the divorce is complete with its separation from the website.
NBC does not disclose specifics when it comes to advertising and affiliate fee revenues from either the MSNBC cable network or MSNBC.com. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the TV network still brings the big lion's share of revenue. SNL Kagan estimates the MSNBC network pulls in more than $400 million a year.
It seems that Microsoft will still get some brand association from all this. Going forward, there will still be news content connections with Microsoft's MSN digital area.
You might think NBC gave the store away all those years ago by taking on 24-hour cable TV news and giving Microsoft shared branded equity in a media area it knew nothing about.
Take a look at a wannabe sports cable network now under the wing of NBCUniversal -- the network formerly know as Versus under the Comcast Corp. reign. It is now called the NBC Sports Network.
In that vein, had NBC really been brand-smart a decade and a half ago, it might have called its cable news network something like the "NBC News Network". Would that have been better?