MSNBC Announces Shift, New Digital Programming Platform

Shift   ScheduleMSNBC announced shift today, a new digital video platform. shift launched today and features three new original shows a day. The shows are an hourlong and most focus in on one topic. Unlike MSNBC which has doubled down on political coverage, the shows on Shift tackle sports, technology, and pop culture among other topics. Although, Luke Russert hosts The Briefing, every Monday and Friday morning. The Briefing does focus in on politics. The Cycle co-host Krystal Ball hosts a Wednesday morning program called Krystal Clear. Ball hosted MSNBC’s digital midterm coverage earlier this year and had a digital show earlier this year on what was called MSNBC2 at the time. At the time, Ball’s show was described as a pilot. However, not all of the hosts come from MSNBC. So Popular! is hosted by Janet Mock, a transgender rights activist and former People Magazine editor. Three Cents is hosted by Josh Barro, who writes for the New York Times’ Upshot blog in addition to his role as a MSNBC contributor. Earlier this year amid slumping ratings, MSNBC head Phil Griffin told reporters that he and the network were “experimenting.” Griffin said that part of his strategy to increase viewership was to diversify the voices that MSNBC features.

The move comes as MSNBC tries to reassert itself in the digital space. MSNBC and were originally launched as the result of a NBC News-Microsoft partnership. However, Microsoft eventually separated from the television venture, leaving the online and television arms quite different. Then last year, MSNBC relaunched and the site was in the same veil as the television network. The website allowed readers to explore various news topics while also having the ability to express their opinion about various causes and stories. shift also emphasizes viewer interaction with a comment section running next to the live stream. The comment section also allows voting on said viewer comments.

shift comes as MSNBC’s competitors stake out their positions in the digital video news world. CNN has launched CNNgo which is an online, on-demand version of CNN which features all of CNN’s coverage from the past two days. In addition, the news network started CNN Digital Studios, which prioritizes original digital programming. CNN Digital Studios has launched two series, Hambycast with CNN Digital Politics reporter Peter Hamby and StreetFood with Roy Choi. In addition to standard online news reports, the group says that more series are on the way that will be built around the various CNN personalities. In addition, CBS News has started CBS News Channel. The twenty-four hour channel is exclusively distributed on the web, mobile apps, and digital media players. The channel features anchors at a desk and reports from various CBS reporters and personalities.

Read the MSNBC press release:

NEW YORK – December 15, 2014 – Today MSNBC announced a new digital destination, shift by MSNBC. Combining live news events with original show franchises on culture, sports, economics, and more; shiftmarks MSNBC’s inaugural venture into web-only programming.


Featuring a sleek and user-friendly design, shift allows the audience to seamlessly move between live events, new shows, original short documentaries, and videos from their favorite MSNBC shows. Shift also promises to be a fully interactive experience for the user. With prominent live commenting attached to the video player, viewers will now have a “single screen” view that allows them to watch live news events while simultaneously engaging with other members of the MSNBC community.


Living on, Shift will extend msnbc’s content offerings with new topics and talent. Fifteen digital shows will go in-depth on a wide range of subjects– from politics to sports, and from tech stories to pop culture. Online audiences can also follow shift on Twitter @shiftmsnbc, and join the conversation using #shifthappens.


Running Mondays through Fridays, each one-hour program will showcase explanatory journalism with intelligent, yet informal discussions, and allow viewers to interact via the live commenting section and instant voting. The week will kick-off with The Briefing in which Luke Russert will look ahead to the week in politics, and end with his week in review. Other highlights throughout the week include: Road Map, a look at the backstories behind international headlines with new MSNBC Contributor Ayman Mohyeldin; Krystal Clear in which Krystal Ball discusses pressing women’s issues in the news; So Popular!, a look at the week in popular culture with Janet Mock; Left Field, which explores the controversies and the business of sports; Three Cents, a fast-paced look at the economy with MSNBC Contributor Josh Barro; and Code Forward, in partnership with Re/Code.


Shift showcases a seamless playback experience leveraging cutting-edge HTML5 technology, a custom-developed Live Commenting component powered by cloud-based infrastructure, a next generation live-to-VOD workflow, and a newly developed state-of-the-art video platform providing mid-roll and other advanced digital video production and advertising capabilities.


“We are excited to take this bold step into digital programming with shift,” said MSNBC President Phil Griffin. “It’s a great introduction to msnbc for a whole new audience. Between the state-of-the-art technology and 15 new hours of shows, shift opens the aperture of msnbc across the digital map.”


Shift by MSNBC is another leap forward in NBCUniversal News Group’s commitment to creating highly engaging, original digital video and providing premium opportunities for brand advertisers to reach those viewers,” said Scott Schiller, Executive Vice President, Digital Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal. “We are excited to extend MSNBC’s expert reporting experience for our viewers wherever they consume it.”


“This is the next phase in our integration of digital experiences with video,” added Richard Wolffe, Vice President and Executive Editor of “We’re extending the reach of msnbc by experimenting with new types of video in front of a new, younger audience, wherever they are. Now our users will have the opportunity to get smart and get social without interrupting the viewing experience.”

About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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