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Future of TV NBC News

An inside look at Shift, MSNBC's 24-hour streaming channel


By Natan Edelsburg | SVP

September 21, 2015 | 4 min read

For nearly a year, MSNBC has been investing in and programming a 24/7 streaming news channel called Shift. This impressive venture is aimed at giving viewers news, documentaries and more in a digital environment with built in commenting and a social enviornment. Their videos are getting millions of views on Facebook each month and as the election heats up is only growing in popularity. Found Remote interviewed Sam Go the Editorial Director for about the channel.



Found Remote: Why was Shift launched and how has it been doing so far?

Sam Go: The digital streaming platform was launched in December. Shift by MSNBC is a 24/7 streaming channel featuring 10+ original, digital-first, weekly programs filmed LIVE in studio. Beyond the regularly scheduled weekly programming, Shift also showcases original, short-form documentaries and is a platform for live streaming of newsworthy events ranging from global aid concerts to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. People want to watch events live and Shift offers a rawer, more unfiltered view than traditional networks and on-demand clips.

Shift shows feature diverse topics, alternative formats, edgier talent, and intelligent dialogue, around the culture and lifestyle topics that matter to our audience. There are so many other interesting stories to cover that don’t make it to the main broadcast, and we love that there’s a home for it on Shift.

FR: What are the unique digital/social components?

SG: All our streams have comment modules running on the side for people who want to “talk” to each other, while they’re say, watching Donald Trump.

Because we live on the web, the conversations and coverage can be longer and deeper. We don’t have the same time pressures as broadcast.

And given the nature of Shift content, it simply performs well on social media. Shift generated 6.5M Facebook video views in May alone. Our Shift video experience has also been developed to drive social engagement. You’ll see a live commenting option on all streams.

FR: How has MSNBC tracked the success so far? What are some key highlights?

SG: Shift is generating approximately 500K video viewers per month. In addition, the content performs very well on social with over 6.5M Facebook video views in May alone. It’s still an ongoing experiment and we’re constantly looking for ways to maximize our viewership as more and more people turn to digital platforms to get their news and commentary.

FR: How does it compliment the linear broadcast?

SG: Content from Shift shows often make it to MSNBC broadcast and Shift hosts and contributors are often regular guests on-air. In addition, Shift has the ability to host multiple live streams. So when TV is covering multiple stories and moving between events, interested users can access the full live streams of specific events on Shift.

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