MSNBC.com has achieved its first quarterly profit in eight years of existence, benefiting from a sharp increase in advertising revenue, the company announced Monday.
The site, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News, recorded a profit “in the neighborhood of $1 million” for the quarter ending June 30, according to Charlie Tillinghast, general manager and publisher of MSNBC.com.
A company statement said the profitable quarter capped off a year that saw record annual revenue of nearly $45 million. It credited a diverse and growing advertising base for the improved financial performance, saying that more than 80 percent of the revenue was generated by 60 advertisers.
The company provided no estimate of how much money it has lost since its launch in July 1996.
Tillinghast said the news site could have achieved profitability sooner if it had not reinvested as much revenue into new technology — including a new publishing tool that made its debut earlier this year — and had remained committed to maintaining a large editorial staff to produce innovative journalism.
“We think that news consumers see the difference between sites that rely on wire services for their content and the rich mixture of content they get from MSNBC.com,” Tillinghast said.
In June, MSNBC.com won two prestigious journalism honors — an Edward R. Murrow award for best news Web site and a National Press Club award as the best online journalism site.
“MSNBC.com has used quality content and smart technology to build a mass audience, providing an ideal space for advertisers interested in brand messaging,” Tillinghast said in the statement issued Monday. “Bringing this vision from planning through launch to profitability is the direct result of our award-winning newsroom and technology teams working closely with the business team.”
Dean Wright, MSNBC.com’s editor-in-chief, said that “innovative multimedia strategies and excellent reporting” have made the Web site the No. 1 source for breaking news and information.”
“In a time of tight marketing budgets, advertisers continue to choose MSNBC.com because of its ability to consistently attract a sought-after audience segment — hard-to-reach news users who wield substantial influence in their communities,” he said.
In addition to its original content and wire service reporting, MSNBC.com offers consumers the best of NBC News, MSNBC Cable, Newsweek, The Washington Post, CNBC and NBC Sports. In addition, MSNBC.com has content-sharing agreements with Budget Travel, BusinessWeek Online, FT.com, Forbes.com, The Sporting News, Science Magazine, Slate Magazine, Space.com, and BET.com.