Unlike popular news ranking sites Digg and Reddit, which link to existing news sites, much of Newsvine’s content is written and reported by its users. The acquisition marks a deepening acceptance of “citizen journalism” by major media outlets.
Founded in 2005, the site has grown to about a million users per month — a substantial number for such a young site, albeit far fewer than MSNBC’s 29 million. Citizen journalists sites received a lot of attention — some would say hype — back in 2005 and 2006, though the fascination appears to have worn off somewhat. Other sites like NowPublic (our coverage) have popped up, too, resulting in increased competition and raising questions about how many sites can thrive. The deal closed Oct 5.
MSNBC, a venture jointly owned by Microsoft and NBC, also happens to reside in Redmond, near Newsvine’s Seattle homebase.
The terms of the acquisition weren’t announced, but likely represent a significant profit for Newsvine investors. The site only took about $1.5 million in funding during its year and a half of existence.
The purchase price was likely several times higher. For comparison’s purpose, Fox Interactive acquired Newroo, another news startup, for between $5 and $10 million in March 2006. An article about the Newsvine acquisition on MSNBC notes that similar buyouts have been for as much as $75 million.
Newsvine will retain its own separate operations, although both companies said the site’s staff may grow. The acquisition was MSNBC’s first.