by Roger Pynn
It almost seemed this story passed without notice yesterday, but then again perhaps that’s because anyone who had watched the Microsoft/NBCUniversal partnership knew that NBCU had the right to buy back Gates & Company’s remaining shares of MSNBC.com.
Frankly, I never quite got the connection between Microsoft and NBC’s news operations … other than the software giant’s ability to underwrite some of the costs associated with building a robust news website. If the folks from Redmond were driving the technology, it never seemed blatantly obvious … which would make me wonder if the marketing guys ever questioned the ROI of the investment.
Sponsorships are tricky enough. When they are tied to capital investment they become even more complex. If this was advertising, this comment from one person in response to CNET’s story raises the ROI question pretty clearly: “I never even knew Microsoft had a stake in the site/channel, I though it always meant Money Street for the ‘MS’ part.”
If you’re going to lend your brand to a global venture, you need to be sure what you lend speaks clearly.