Case Study: Revamping MSNBC

As I’ve said all semester long, I’m going to examine a few case studies about user-generated content and television. First up, NBCUniversal’s recent acquisition of MSNBC.com. With that acquisition, they now have iVillage, something that NBC Digital Chief Vivian Schiller promises to make a more prominent part of NBC’s revamped online presence.

The purpose of the iVillage is to give users an outlet to voice their opinions as well as to peruse content already posted. Social media is a great way to reach out to your audience, and a great way to hear back from them as well.

Schiller seems to hint that iVillage is really aimed at all types of content, as it aims to re-launch as a “community-driven platform surfacing the most important perspectives on topics that matter most to women.” An important thing to remember with blogs and user-generated content sites that are similar is that it’s okay to exclude people, as long as you narrow down your focus but execute it well.

Looking at iVillage, their about page says they reach 30 million different visitors per month- a lofty number for a website that has just revamped itself completely. This isn’t citizen journalism for television in the traditional sense, because it’s not just a website where you submit stories or photos and that’s it. Their main idea of connecting is through message boards. There are many different conversation topics that you can choose from by just simply creating an account and joining the conversation.

Looking at MSNBC.com, one of the most prominent features is a “Speak Out” tab at the top, which immediately indicates to viewers they have the ability to vote in polls and discuss things going on in the news. By voting in a poll, these numbers often show up in MSNBC’s news broadcasts, so this is just one outlet where people can express their opinions. There is also an option to join a group and discuss current situations going on. Currently, the three most popular groups listed are “American Progressives,” “Up to Here,” and “UP to Politics,” which you can join by creating an account.

The top of MSNBC.com, showing where viewers can join the conversation. Photo credit: Eva Buchman

The top of MSNBC.com, showing where viewers can join the conversation. Photo credit: Eva Buchman

MSNBC is really putting in a lot of work to revamp their online presence and including more people in their conversations and appeal to a wider audience.

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