Now That’s Ambitious: MSNBC and BermanBraun To Reinvent The Toughest Content Category?

Among all the major categories of premium digital media, political news may be the toughest to make money on.  It’s incredibly fragmented; it has no endemic advertisers; the content is often unpredictable, sensitive and/or polarizing; and it relies highly on original reporting, making it especially costly to produce.

With all those black marks that make it both especially difficult and especially rewarding, it’s refreshing to see MSNBC take up the experience revolution challenge:  According to Mike Shields at Media Week, MSNBC is talking with BermanBraun about launching a new politics site with an out-of-the-box concept.

Based on the innovative work they’ve done for MSN’s Glo and Wonderwall, it’s a safe bet that if BermanBraun takes on the case, politics won’t look the same after this makeover as it did before.

And that’s a good thing.  We know the old model is increasingly challenged to stay afloat.  So we need someone in the industry to take some big risks and try their hand at a new approach to the category – which will hopefully not only increase engagement, but monetization.

While I don’t expect that this will significantly replace any of the existing and valuable political coverage out there today, it does have the potential to inspire other news publishers to revolutionize their own experience for consumers – which is exactly what’s necessary to improve the health of their business.

2 thoughts on “Now That’s Ambitious: MSNBC and BermanBraun To Reinvent The Toughest Content Category?

  1. I think it would be very cool to have a customized experience around different issues that I want to track, e.g. Gov't Reaction Oil Spill, Election, Finance Reform, etc. The site could bring in different types of information — video, pictures, breaking news, opinion, most popular relevant tweets from fellow readers, etc. and combine it into an (interactive?) experience. The different information around each issue could be presented in a visually striking way, e.g. WonderWall, and overtime the site could learn and recommend new issues for me to track. Maybe I organize my life a bit by saying I want to track ten issues at a given time, so when a couple phase out of relevance, more are added to the mix. I don't know much about this topic, but it seems like monetizing on something like “Politics: Opinion” would be very difficult. Maybe part of the solution is reorganizing information around specific topics/issues that allow for more effective ad targeting. Riffing off the cuff…

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