MS/NBC: By The Numbers

By Brian 

Today’s Wall Street Journal has the numbers behind the MS/NBC deal:

“The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction, and GE doesn’t break out results for the channel. But MSNBC takes in between $275 million and $300 million in subscriber fees annually and an additional $100 million in advertising revenue, according to a person familiar with its operations. The channel is profitable, even without Microsoft’s annual contribution to the venture of $30 million to $35 million, say people close to the channel. Moreover, it has special value to NBC because it allows its news division to toggle back and forth between its network and cable news outlets, a luxury its rivals don’t possess.”

More: “NBC has managed to get cable operators to pay a high license fee to carry the channel. MSNBC costs cable operators about 29 cents per subscriber, per month, according to people close to the channel. NBC was able to command that relatively hefty fee in part because the network carries a lot of NBC’s Olympic coverage.”

> Also: “NBC executives say the joint venture limited the company’s ability to invest in MSNBC’s talent pool and promotional budget, which trails its rivals.”