Thursday, June 30, 2005

Challenges at MSNBC

Mark Glaser at OJR interviews MSNBC GM Charlie Tillinghast. Some excerpts on the "challenges" at MSNBC:
Microsoft and NBC Universal have been trying to get out of their TV joint venture for more than a year; the MSN portal's traffic growth and vision have lapsed; and four key people -- including the president and editor-in-chief of -- have exited.

Still, the site has a lot to smile about ... Despite traffic falling off at over the past year, has boosted its traffic by 12 percent to lead for the past three months. And's new redesign adds a unique recommendation engine that highlights similar stories depending on what articles you've viewed before.

"There's no doubt they're still in the game despite Yahoo's advances," said former founding editor of Merrill Brown.
And, some quotes from Charlie on MSNBC's experiments with personalized news:
You'll see a box in the middle that has either Editor's Choice or Recommended Stories. After you click on seven or so stories, that will switch over to Recommended Stories. The Recommended Stories will be based on what you've been looking at ... This is an effort-free use of personalization.

If you click on "What's This" link next to the Recommended Stories on the front page, this page will tell you what was recommended and why they're recommended.

It's not that different from the experience on commerce sites now, like Amazon, where you're shopping for products and they say 'Here are recommended products for you,' or 'People who bought this book also bought these books.' The concept isn't new, but it's new to news.
As MSN experiments with personalized news, it will be interesting to see if Yahoo News and Google News follow suit.

See also my previous post, "MSNBC Recommended Stories".

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