The former chief of NBCUniversal explains how he launched MSNBC, winning over the funding support and partnership of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates
Launching a business news cable channel, a 24-hour alternative to fledgling CNN, and pay-per view Olympics events in the 1990s were revolutionary precursors to today’s viewer choice havens Netflix, Facebook and Twitter.
Anticipating shifts in the ways people consume and pay for video was never a problem during my tenure at NBC. The difficulty was convincing network and TV station executives, and parent company General Electric, to try and embrace the unconventional. They wanted to protect the status quo; I wanted to shape its inevitable change.
Their ire nearly sabotaged some of my most enterprising ventures—from launching cable news channels CNBC and MSNBC, to making live Olympics coverage a paid per-view Triplecast, to creating companion online services for NBC’s national and local news.