NBC News Digital to see more social and user-generated content

By Alex Weprin 

A year ago today, NBCUniversal completed its acquisition of MSNBC.com, picking up the half of the company owned by Microsoft. In an email to NBC News staffers today, NBC News Digital chief Vivian Schiller looked at the past year, and previewed what is coming down the pipeline. In addition to new looks for NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com, Schiller revealed that there are a number of new changes coming soon, including “big social media platform initiatives.”

For starters, iVillage will be seeing changes, as it relaunches “as a community-driven platform surfacing the most important perspectives on topics that matter most to women.”

There will be a new more customizable app for Breaking News, with “Today” getting a new app with “groundbreaking split-screen functionality that enables users to watch video while simultaneously browsing articles and photos.”

More information in Schiller’s full email to staff, below.

Dear Colleagues,

Exactly one year ago today, NBC News took full ownership of its digital businesses from Microsoft and launched the NBC News Digital Group.

And what a year it has been. Here’s just a snapshot of what we accomplished:

– Digital became a formal part of the newsgathering fabric of NBC News. We integrated digital and social into the newsdesk, and the .com editorial teams now work hand in hand with our shows, as well as the enterprise reporting units.

– TODAY.com rolled out a new seamless reading experience called “Sliders,” shooting user engagement up a whopping +25%.

– NBCNews.com brought in talented new journalists to join the already stellar team, and began offering more original reporting and analysis from our on-air and off-air reporters.

– msnbc.com built an impressive digital newsroom and set off on an ambitious roadmap to own the progressive audience online.

– iVillage joined the NBC News Digital Group, chartered a new course for its product, and is on track to turn a profit in the next year – the first time ever since the site was acquired by NBC in 2006.

– NBC News Digital Sales was built from the ground up with veteran staffers from NBCU and around the industry. In just a few months, they closed innovative deals on third-party platforms, as well as unique native opportunities on our own sites.

– The operations and technology team ensured business continuity despite the complicated transition off of Microsoft services.

– The social media team created smart and engaging content around big news events such as the SCOTUS decisions, the royal baby, and more, while working with our shows to expand their second screen offerings on zeebox. Year over year, NBC News and MSNBC’s collective presence across social platforms has grown 84%.

– We created a formal strategy and staffing plan around growing our online audience and set aggressive goals for increasing traffic in both traditional and non-traditional areas.

And we’re just getting started. Here’s what the next six months looks like in the world of digital:

– The mobile team will ship a brand new app for TODAY with groundbreaking split-screen functionality that enables users to watch video while simultaneously browsing articles and photos.

– Breaking News will also launch a new version of its app that includes first-of-its-kind options to personalize breaking news feeds.

– We’ll usher in a completely new digital property, msnbc.com— the digital destination for smart and engaging dialogue, opinions and perspectives.

– iVillage will relaunch a new as a community-driven platform surfacing the most important perspectives on topics that matter most to women.

– NBCNews.com will relaunch with a new look and feel, to better reflect the editorial strength and passion of the news division.

– We’ll move from the Microsoft campus into a home we can call our own at the beautiful Columbia Center building in Seattle.

– The digital technology group will work together with our colleagues at O&TS to restructure our technology platforms for the future.

– The Social Media team will support NBC News’ integration with big social media platform initiatives.

– We’ll prepare for the kickoff of “TV Everywhere,” which will forever change the way we distribute our television content by enabling seamless, real-time delivery of our shows on every platform.

This is a long list representing significant complexity, but these changes are essential to the future of our business. Everyone should be incredibly proud of the work that’s been done and the direction that we’re headed as we reimagine the future of news, together.