Msnbc.com Acquires Newsvine

I grew up in an NBC household. Some of my earliest TV memories were sitting in the living room at 6pm with my parents and watching the nightly news with David Brinkley, John Chancellor, and later Tom Brokaw. I didn’t always understand what was going on in the world, but it was my half hour nightly glimpse into life beyond Pacific Palisades, California, where I grew up. Old habits die hard when it comes to news network allegiances and I continued to turn to the peacock for news into my teen years and through college.

In November of 2000, that all changed. Although politics have never interested me in the least bit, the Bush/Gore election and the epic amount of controversy that resulted from it turned the news world upside down. In my mind, that was the beginning of the 24/7 news cycle, at least in the United States. I found myself instantly wanting more than the standard 30 minutes of national news NBC gave me every night. During this frantic period, many people turned to cable news for their 24/7 news fix, and that’s when I found MSNBC.

Suddenly, whenever I turned on my TV, there was election coverage available. Who was this Ashleigh Banfield girl? I didn’t know, but I liked her. Where did all of these reporters suddenly come from? And whoa, what’s this? A double-length version of the Nightly News anchored by Brian Williams? I’m in!

Fast-forward several months later when everyone thought the 24/7 news cycle might have peaked, and then came September 11th, 2001 — the most shocking event that anyone alive today has ever witnessed and probably ever will. News activity was completely off the charts again. And who was right there with the best 24/7 coverage again? MSNBC. For the next several years, as the incident slowly turned into the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, I found myself still turning to the Micro-Peacock — both online and off — for my most important news consumption. It is still the source from which most of my mainstream news comes from.

It is therefore with great pride, that I can announce the company I co-founded two years ago, Newsvine, has just been acquired by msnbc.com.

Wow, I’ve been waiting a few months to say that. It feels great to finally make the news public.

Msnbc.com is one of the most decorated, highly trafficked news sites on the web, and is ranked as one of the top news site overall, according to virtually every measurement service. More than one billion page views a month strong, and run by some of the smartest people in the industry, msnbc.com represents a lot of what online news ought to be about: immersive interactive news experiences, award-winning journalism, stunning photography, thoughtful UI, and scalability a startup like Newsvine could never dream of achieving on its own. It is a separate company from the TV side of NBC News and MSNBC the cable channel, but all the organizations work together to complement each other online and off.

Msnbc.com, the news site, has always been a daily visit for me. They were the first to have a professionally typeset cover story when they launched their legendary Roger Black design back in the 1990s. They’ve also produced some of the best interactive news experiences like The Darkest Day (9/11) and Rising from Ruin (Hurricane Katrina). Throw in the stunning photo galleries, a wealth of news video, and an impressive army of award-winning print journalists and it’s easy to see what makes the site so special.

So why would an independent, cost-efficient, growing startup like Newsvine which has taken very little venture capital want to join a huge organization like msnbc.com? The answer comes down to global impact. Our goal at Newsvine has always been to spread the ethos of participatory news as far and wide as possible, and what more dramatic way can that be accomplished than with a partner who reaches 85 million computers a month and has an offline presence on nearly every television set in the country?

We never set out to prove that grassroots media was better than mainstream media or vice-versa. The theory, in fact, has been quite the opposite: that given the right environment, an ecosystem where big and little media make each other stronger can be developed. This has been proven out on the Newsvine site itself since we launched about a year and a half ago, and it’s now going to go prime time. We’re so excited.

One the most important aspects of this deal for both organizations was that Newsvine will continue to run independently, from a brand and operational perspective. They are two different sites with two entirely different brand expectations. That said, we’re thrilled to be working with a parent who resides right across Lake Washington from us, a mere 20 minutes away. Of all the companies who’ve come knocking since launch, never has a relationship of such geographical advantage matched this one. It’s a win for the Newsvine community, a win for msnbc.com, a win for our investors at Second Avenue, and a win for the Seattle region as well.

Wish us luck as we continue our mission of evolving online news.

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84 Responses:

  1. Man, congrats to everyone involved! This. Is. Awesome!

  2. [...] Mike Davidson, the developer of Newsvine, blogs about the sale in this post. [...]

  3. Robin says:

    Congratulations!

  4. ManxStef says:

    Wow, that’s great news! Congratulations to you Mike, and the rest of the Newsvine team :)

  5. [...] Newsvine’s Mike Davidson has posted about the acquisition on his personal blog. “So why would an independent, cost-efficient, [...]

  6. Alex Beard says:

    Very impress Mike. Congratulations!

  7. danny says:

    your team has genuinely moved the news industry forward. congrats to the whole squad for building such an impressive and inspirational service.

  8. Ryan Pitts says:

    Awesome! Congratulations, Mike.

  9. Congrats Mike! Here is my post in case you are interested:
    http://www.centernetworks.com/newsvine-acquired-msnbc

  10. Congrats Mike! :)

  11. gb says:

    Woah, crazy… I was just in Seattle visiting msnbc HQ a few months back. It’s quite a place. Well, of all the online news giants to get gobbled up by, you chose a good one (though the main office area does remind me of some sort of video game).

    Congrats. Good to hear you won’t have to make the drive to Redmond as part of the deal as well. :D

  12. Vladimir says:

    Wow! Congratulations Mike! Consider yourself a made man. Now I have to go write up a piece on my blog about how envious I am of you. :D

  13. Philip says:

    Dude you sold out!

    Just kidding :) Way to go Mike, congrats!

  14. Wow, congrats Mike!

  15. Mark says:

    Congrats Mike and Team… well played.

  16. Does this means that stories form MSNBC are more likely to be “homepage” stories than stories from other sources? It just seems like MSNBC would be sensitive to promoting be stories from competitors through a website that they actually own.

  17. Ben says:

    Congrats! But… isn’t it a Microsoft company? (It’s called (MSN)BC.)

  18. Jeff Lanctot says:

    Congratulations, Mike. It’s nice to see that you and the Newsvine team have been rewarded, and now have a partner that will help the company continue to grow.

  19. Congrats Mike. It was a real pleasure working with you, Calvin, Josh, Tom, Mark, Lance, and Jim this summer. You guys have put in so much effort into this thing — it shows, and you couldn’t deserve this more.

  20. [...] story on the acquisition is here, and Mike Davidson’s thoughts on the deal are here. Rafat Ali at PaidContent says that his guesstimate of the purchase price is between $5-million and [...]

  21. [...] story on the acquisition is here, and Mike Davidson’s thoughts on the deal are here. Rafat Ali at PaidContent says that his guesstimate of the purchase price is between $5-million and [...]

  22. Congratulations Mike! You and everyone else at Newsvine deserve this level of success for all the hard work that has gone into creating such an excellent product.

    Reading your post, you never once mention Disney, ESPN or ABC News. Maybe you didn’t want to get into any of that on this occassion. But in light of your past, I find it mildly intriguing that there was no mention of this here or anywhere else. Whether oversight, irrelevance, avoidance, or whatever the case, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about this aspect of your new affiliation with Microsoft and NBC Universal.

    Again, congratulations and best of luck to you and everyone at Newsvine. The people at msnbc.com are fortunate to have you working with them.

  23. Congratulations man. You deserve it. Now don’t let those Redmond guys push you around :)

  24. Congrats Mike. That’s awesome.

  25. Tammie says:

    Wow! Congratulations!

  26. Joshua says:

    Congrats Mike, it’s been fun to watch!!!

  27. Texpundit says:

    Brother…as a fellow entrepreneur and developer…and newswhore…I fully applaud your in your decision. Some people may call you a sellout (I haven’t read the comments, yet) but those are just jealous people.

    Now, if you would have sold to Fox News, my comment might have been different. But probably not much. ;)

    Just to say, it’s good to see a fellow dev get ahead in the world. I wish you all the best…and will still be reading your “drivel.” :)

    Good luck, brother.

  28. Rob L. says:

    Wow. This is huge. Remember when you posted about the still-top-secret, awesome domain name you’d managed to score? What would you have said if someone had told you it would turn into a company that you’d sell to MSNBC by October 2007?!?

    Congratulations and all best for what’s ahead.

  29. [...] There’s still hope for all those guys who spent the last few years building stuff to be bought (They say Mike D wasn’t looking to sell out. On his blog he says he did it for the ‘global impact’.) [...]

  30. [...] CEO Mike Davidson explains the deal on his personal blog: So why would an independent, cost-efficient, growing startup like Newsvine which has taken very [...]

  31. Congratulations Mike and crew. MSNBC certainly does have one of the best news sites, so you picked a good parent. Best of luck for the future!

  32. Great news, congratulations!! I was actually teaching my in-laws about the concept of “RSS” (very gently) and showed them on MSNBC – saw the news and exclaimed with excitement “Way to go, Mike!” to startled stares.

  33. Dan Croak says:

    Congratulations, Mike! This is really great news.

  34. Joel says:

    Congrats mate.

    Hope the editorial policy stays!

  35. Awesome news Mike. I just wanted to say congratulations. I saw the headline on MSNBC.com and I’m like “holy crap”, I know that guy. I worked with that guy. That guy has given me good references in the past. I remember the good old days back and Sherpas and I always knew good things would come to you guys. I really learned the value of hard word from y’all and for that I’m glad. I’m proud for you. Again, awesome news and good luck.

    -Jeremy Wilson

  36. Josh says:

    Wow, that’s great news! Congrats!

  37. kareem says:

    faaan-tastic news mike! congrats to you, mark, lance, and the rest of the team!

  38. Congratulations Mike & the rest of the Newsvine team! Great to hear you were able to work out a deal that allows you to operate independently. Best of luck!

  39. Bre says:

    Congrats! This is awesome news!

  40. Gabe says:

    Mike! ‘grats! For now on, it’s MSNNBC 2 me!

  41. Frank K says:

    Mike

    Is it true the buy-out was for $54 million?

    Congrats!

  42. Devon Shaw says:

    Wow, congratulations! That was quick.

  43. Congratualtion Mike and team!

  44. Harry Fear says:

    Mike, 101 Congratulations to you! Well done!

  45. [...] Social Networks — kegill @ 2:13 am Rex sent me a note earlier Sunday about the Newsvine purchase, but I didn’t blog it because I was watching TV. Then I forgot. So here’s the NY Times [...]

  46. Congratulations! That’s terrific for you.

  47. Wow, congratulations! Following the secrecy, the birth and then the success of Newsvine, I’m thoroughly happy for your sake!

  48. Congrats. It’s very well deserved, and an incredibly exciting thing for both companies.

  49. [...] MSNBC acquires Newsvine. [...]

  50. Ryan K says:

    Just read about this on News.com – congrats!!!

  51. anon says:

    Congratulations, you deserve it. Hopefully, you’ll influence MSNBC.com because I for one think it’s one of the worst of the major news websites out there. I rarely if ever visit it. Maybe that will change now.

  52. Congratulations, Mike! A great outcome to some phenomenal work in a relatively-short period of time. I’m excited to see what comes out of it.

  53. [...] Mike Davidson – Msnbc.com Acquires Newsvine [...]

  54. Jeff says:

    Cha-Ching!

    Congrats!!

  55. [...] Congratulations Mike! Spread the word! [...]

  56. Congrats Commish!

  57. [...] the popular news site has been acquired by MSNBC. That’s quite impressive for a “grass roots” news site that has only [...]

  58. Willi says:

    Congrats!!! Nice job. Great execution.

  59. Jason says:

    Wow! Way to go Mike!

  60. Congratulations Mike! Very cool stuff. Hope it’s all you want it to be…

  61. Congratulations, whats next?

  62. [...] the social news site, has been acquired by msnbc.com for an undisclosed all cash deal. Now that Newsvine is part of the mainstream media, the whole “we are different” selling point is over. [...]

  63. That’s awesome Mike! Congratulations.

  64. Elliot Y. says:

    Well done, Mike! Congrats! You’ve come a long way from our ESPN and Sherpas days together! :) Keep up the good work and thanks, as always, for being a great mentor!

  65. Congratulations.

  66. Ryejayd says:

    CONGRATS! Very proud of you dude. Life somehow keeps getting better…

  67. Charter says:

    Mike,
    Nice work! Now you will have more time for golf and skiing.
    It has been fun to follow Newsvine’s progress.
    Charter

  68. [...] uutistuotannon airut Newsvine on myyty msnbc:lle. Newsvine on pienin merkittävä sosiaalisen median sivusto, joka on suhteellisen tunnettu, kasvava [...]

  69. [...] Mike Davidson, Newsvine.com, and over a dozen other sources have all been blogging today about the acquisition of Newsvine.com by MSNBC.com. [...]

  70. Nice work Mike! Let’s toast to the news next time you’re in NYC. I’ll bring the saltines. – Hop

  71. [...] Mike Davidson – Msnbc.com Acquires Newsvine “So why would an independent, cost-efficient, growing startup like Newsvine which has taken very little venture capital want to join a huge organization like msnbc.com? The answer comes down to global impact.” (tags: newsvine msnbc.com journalistik den_sociala_webben mike_davidson) [...]

  72. Khoi Vinh says:

    Congratulations, Mike, I hope it’s the beginning of a terrific new chapter for Newsvine. Of course, this means we can’t be friends any more.

  73. Wow, congrats Mike! Sounds like a great match.

  74. Congrats, Mike – good things come to those who create. Well deserved.

  75. Don says:

    Well I guess that John McCain prank got you noticed and you closed the deal. Hope you made enough to justify giving up independence.

  76. [...] at NBC negatively effect what is essentially built as an open source news model. Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson has publicly promised for the site to continue to operate independently of its new [...]

  77. That’s great news Mike… I remember over two years ago how you described the process you went through to buy the Newsvine domain name and I predicted to myself at the time “I’ll bet he sells that domain in a couple of years time”… yep, I was right :-)

  78. MrQwest says:

    Woah, Congratulations to you Mike & the whole Newsvine team. I hope the future’s bright for you all :)

  79. Will says:

    Hey Mike!! Congrats and I wish you all the best of luck!

    But ahhh, I didn’t know how to contact you, but something is seriously wrong with your myspace hack code!!! Everyone who is using your code has their profile all jumbled up, including yours! Please take a look at it?? We’d all really appreciate your help!! I guess MySpace has been fooling with their coding…please help!! THANKS MIKE!!! :D

  80. Eric says:

    Congrats Mike! I have been following your progress since the beginning and a user of NV ever since it launched.

  81. [...] научих от блога на Майк Дейвидсън, че Newsvine е продадена на [...]

  82. Collin says:

    Wow, congrats. It’s the dream of every Internet entrepreneur to create something, water it, let the sunlight get to it and then sell it to the highest bidder. Good job.

  83. [...] months now and the deal was finally at the point to make it public. You can find out more over at Mike Industries, on Newsvine , TechCrunchor even on the MSNBC web site about [...]

  84. [...] controversial speeches to the newsroom about audience participation.When the transaction closed on October 5th, 2007, the team began a long, successful journey helping modernize an already modern news organization. [...]

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