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NBC News is the United States’ leading television news outlet, consistently ranking as the most profitable network news division, largely because of revenue brought in by MSNBC.
NBC News is owned by NBC Universal, which is owned by the cable company Comcast, which bought a 51% stake in NBC Universal for $30 billion in January 2011. (It bought the remainder of the company from General Electric in 2013.) The deal was originally announced in December 2009 and received federal approval in January 2011 on several conditions, including that Comcast would add local TV news programming on the stations it owns, and partner with local nonprofit news organizations. The acquisition was criticized by some as giving Comcast too much power.
NBC has experimented in digital journalism, starting with Internet-based video reports in 2007. The network hired Mara Schiavocampo as its first “digital correspondent,” producing online video. In 2013, it bought Stringwire, a company that allows video to be streamed from eyewitnesses in the network’s control rooms. In 2014, it invested in and partnered with the social video news company NowThis News, and partnered with the tech news site Recode.
In 2007, NBC renamed its owned-and-operated stations NBC Local Media. NBC relaunched those 10 stations’ websites in 2008 and in 2009 implemented a “mood” application that tracked readers’ emotional reactions to the sites’ stories. In 2011, it announced that 10 of those stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia would begin sharing content with local nonprofit news outlets and ProPublica. Several owned-and-operated stations have also partnered with Instagram to solicit viewer photos to use on air and online. Nationally, it partnered with Newsweek and the Daily Beast on digital coverage of the 2012 campaign. In 2013, it began partnering with the global news organization GlobalPost on international coverage.
NBC has also indicated an interest in expanding those sites to markets with affiliated stations, potentially in conflict with those stations’ sites. Additionally, NBC provides news video clips to local pages on Microsoft’s MSN web network.
ESPN is a cable broadcaster that specializes in sports events, news and analysis. ESPN’s majority owner is the Walt Disney Co., which bought ESPN’s parent network, ABC, in 1995. Hearst Corp. owns a minority stake in the network. ESPN proclaims itself as the “worldwide leader in sports,” and it owns six cable channels, a biweekly…