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MSNBC To Launch Today


The cable service will launch with 14 hours of live daily programming; repeats will begin at 11 p.m. There will be no newswheel, Harrington said. Beyond top-of-the-hour headlines, "the primary job is to pick the big and complicated stories of the day and explore them," he noted.

In prime time, MSNBC plans to telecast a block of four one-hour programs featuring Jane Pauley and other high-profile hosts.

On the Internet, MSNBC will draw stories from NBC News, CNBC and NBC broadcast affiliates. At Microsoft, MSNBC will capture video from 80 feeds and 400 stories a day to incorporate online. Microsoft said it's also working to give affiliates the tools they'll need to supply Internet content.

MSNBC Online has hired another 100 employees and will create stories at about the same clip as the cable news staffs. Downloading video clips will await the introduction of broadband technologies like cable modems, Microsoft said.

The online service will primarily expand on news from NBC, as well as produce original content. "TV will be both a source and a complement," said Peter Neupert, Microsoft's VP-strategic partnerships.

"All 25 bureaus and 1,200 journalists will be interacting with this [Microsoft] facility," NBC News president Andy Lack said. "Fifteen to 20 of our top people will be online every day, and the same will be true on the cable side. NBC is absolutely in charge of editorial content."

MSNBC Online will "launch as a totally ad-supported service, largely dependent on the volume of viewers we get," Neupert said. "The investments are so large that most sites will have to find ways to garner subscriptions, as well as advertising."

One possible example: subscriptions to NBC archival material.

Harrington said the companies have begun to make joint cable and online sales calls to advertisers.

Lack said the investment could break even "within three to five years."


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