WASHINGTON POST CO. FORGES ALLIANCE WITH NBC

By: Karim Mostafa

Newsweek Will Relaunch Web Site With MSNBC

Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive just became a lot more interactive. In forging an alliance with the Web’s top online news site and one of the big three broadcast news outlets, The Washington Post Co. now has access to multimedia content that far exceeds the resources of a daily newspaper and a weekly magazine.
Announced yesterday, the deal between the Post Co. and NBC News is far reaching. The companies said they will share news, technology, and promotional resources among their various properties including MSNBC.com, MSNBC Cable, NBC News, The Washington Post , Newsweek magazine, and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive’s other Web sites.

Christopher Ma, executive editor of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, would not provide financial details on the agreement, but said there will be significant cross-
promotion across all the parties’ distribution channels.
Ma said the Post Co. has had exploratory discussions with potential partners throughout the year, but that focused discussions with NBC started in July.
By early next year, the companies will launch Newsweek.MSNBC.com, replacing Newsweek.com and becoming the exclusive location for Newsweek editorial content online.

Editorial content from Newsweek , The Washington Post , and washingtonpost.com will be available on MSNBC.com.
Ma expects journalists from the Post and Newsweek to start making appearances on NBC News and MSNBC Cable within 24 hours of the announcement. MSNBC Cable also is expected to broadcast co-branded segments based on magazine and newspaper reporting. As a result of this deal, The New York Times lost an arrangement where its reporters appeared on MSNBC’s program ‘The News with Brian Williams.’
Washingtonpost.com will remain an independent site and will continue its headline distribution deals with other Web sites such as AltaVista. Local news stories for the Washington, D.C., area will be shared by NBC4, the NBC-
owned and operated station, the Post , and washingtonpost.com. Details remain to be worked out.

MSNBC.com, in a constant battle with CNN.com to be the No. 1 online news site, gains a substantial national magazine partner. Owned by Time Warner, CNN has content deals with Time Inc. publications Time ( Newsweek ‘s big competitor) and Sports Illustrated .

Beyond the initial content exchanges announced yesterday, Ma said, ‘a great amount of discussion has yet to occur.’
And Howard Kurtz, the Post’s media reporter, quickly contributed his two cents in an online story: ‘Both sides say they will maintain editorial independence, but the thicket of joint ventures and cross-promotion raises questions about potential conflicts of interest. It means, for example, that the Post Co. is in business with a network that is owned by General Electric and partners with Microsoft, both major companies covered by the Post and Newsweek .’

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Karim Mostafa (karimm@mediainfo.com) is assistant editor for Editor & Publisher Interactive.



(c) Copyright 1999, Editor & Publisher

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