Keeping residents of the free world informed round the clock isn’t a mere task. That’s what MSNBC is known and revered for. Beyond America which happens to be the center of attention half way around the world, they also keep the rest of the universe abreast with world news via satellite TV.

MSNBC is a news cable and satellite television network based in America. They focus on the coverage of news, events and politics in and around America as well as other parts of the world. MSNBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

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The above video is MSNBC live stream broadcasting from their studio. Here, we take a concise look at their history, a comprehensive look at their programs and flaunt the ratings they’ve earned over the years.

It all began when General Electric’s National Broadcasting Corporation of America (NBC) and Microsoft decided to enter into a partnership. So the acronym – MSNBC is simply the aggregation of the names of both corporations; Microsoft (MS) and (NBC).

Tom Rogers one of the executives at the NBC played a key role in the merger and so in July of 1996, MSNBC was launched. James Kinsella, an executive at Microsoft assumed helm of the merger corporation. He served as the company’s first president and chief delegate of the tech giant in the joint venture.

It’s debut show was anchored by Jodi Applegate which featured interviews, commentaries and news. Other shows like the contributors trailed after the first. The Contributors would later be abrogated for reasons best known to the corporation. Some other shows like that of Mike Barnicle which began in January, 2001 were abrogated due to the pricey nature of its production.

As time progressed, the MSNBC would focus it’s lens on political analysis and declared itself a brand that’s on the move to making politics a brand. Things weren’t all sunshine and rainbows at the onset. In June of 2001, the then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had to admit that, he would have rescinded the decision to start the MSNBC if he had seen the challenge of attracting viewers coming.

A breakthrough in disguise for the corporation came in the aftermath of the September 11, attacks. The NBC decided to use MSNBC as an outlet to broadcast real-time updates on the unfortunate and unprecedented terror unleashed on American soil. Other channels like the CNBC and CNBC Europe broadcasted live from the staples of MSNBC for lengthy hours each day. Thus MSNBC got famed by the day following its role in providing updates on the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

It didn’t take long before MSNBC began acclaiming itself “America’s NewsChannel” while employing Alan Keys, Tucker Carlson and a few other opinionated host which would as the aftermath would reveal – a wrong move. The ratings of the MSNBC plunged deeply.

It is also worthy of note that from the onset, the news website was a different joint venture between the NBC and Microsoft. The website had its base at the campus of Microsoft in Redmond, Washington while the MSNBC was headquartered in New York City at the Rockefeller towers.

On the financial side of the partnership, Microsoft held unto a 50 percent stake in the cable television by investing $221 million. It also shared the financial weight of a $200 million newsroom for the in New Jersey. Microsoft would later bid it’s stake a decisive farewell in the MSNBC channel in 2005 and waited seven years to replicate same move in in 2012.

History of the MSNBC Ratings

MSNBC as a media global brand has come a long way since 1996, stretching its tentacles across territories, overhauling its programs and generally revitalizing itself. It has earned some bragging rights over the years. Bragging rights that was earned by giving CNN a good run for their fame, expertise and money.

The proofs are all over the place and here we flaunt some of the finest achievements of the MSNBC since inception.

  • The years 2007 and 2008 saw the primetime views of MSNBC scale upwards by 61 percent, that also influenced the increase of it’s Nielsen ratings.
  • During the presidential campaigns of 2008, MSNBC’s ratings rose up to 158 percent, thanks to David Gregory and Chris Matthews and Olbermann who were on the wheels of steel.
  • The success of the ratings in 2008 at the backdrop of the presidential campaigns forced MSNBC to depose CNN in ratings during the final three months of the campaign.
  • In 2010, MSNBC toppled CNN in primetime ratings as well as overall ratings. It didn’t stop there. They went on to defeat CNN in total adult viewership in March of the same year.
  • They weren’t done with CNN just yet, as the winning streak moved into the third quarter of 2010, beating their big brother – CNN in key adult demographic.
  • After beating CNN the fourth time in a row, they became only the cable news network to have their key adult demographic viewership soar in the previous quarter.
  • 2010 was indeed the glory year of MSNBC as they became the premier cable news network in primetime among African Americans and Hispanic viewers.
  • In 2017, MSNBC achieved the maiden feat of becoming Primetime’s highest rated American cable news network.


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