Lean Forward

MSNBC.com's Brand Identity Crisis

Despite a brand name that has created the third-most-popular news site, the two parent companies of MSNBC.com are discussing changing the name of the website to separate it from it from the cable channel. NBC Universal and Microsoft have determined the brand name of MSNBC.com—which has news from all of NBC News, not just the cable channel—is often confused with the left-leaning cable channel. MSNBC.com President Charlie Tillinghast wrote in a memo that “naming them the same thing is brand insanity.” The channel and the website are already separate companies, and were formed in 1996 by NBC and Microsoft. In 2005, NBC bought out Microsoft’s stake in the cable channel but the two companies remained together for the website. In recent years, MSNBC has shifted to the left with shows anchored by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, while the website has remained nonpartisan.