There’s been a whole swath of stories like this one about the Microsoft + NBC split where MSNBC as you know it will cease to exist and be replaced by NBCNEWS.com instead.
Before continuing, for those wondering if the cable channel brand of MSNBC will continue to live on, the answer is yes – at least for now.
When Microsoft and NBC decided to team up 16 years ago to create MSNBC, it was in fact a really good idea and very far ahead of its time, because in 1996 there were many who thought the internet was just one big fad that would go away quickly. Obviously, that wasn’t the case and the internet has proven to be wildly successful. In so many words, it was a rather ballsy maneuver by both Microsoft and NBC to give it a go.
What media giants have discovered however is that there’s still a very thick line between television and internet entertainment when it comes to branding.
For most people, internet is internet and television is television, and the two just don’t go together. And for just about every instance where corporations have tried to mix the two, it just didn’t work and ended up causing a lot of brand confusion among the masses.
To the US audience, when I say “NBC”, you don’t think “internet”, you think “television”. And you will always think that because that’s what NBC is primarily.
When I say “MSNBC”, you’d be surprised at how much confusion this causes. Some people think it’s just a cable channel, while others think it’s just a web site. MSNBC was in fact both, but the masses just didn’t see it that way even after it existing for 16 years.
Will the rebranding of MSNBC to NBCNEWS work? I seriously doubt it, because you can’t just erase 16 years of branding overnight. It takes years to firmly establish a brand, and it takes even longer to erase an old brand identity (hence the reason why so many brand names are reused because famaliarity is always easier to sell than a new name from scratch).
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