MSNBC Liberal Makeover Phil Griffin
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MSNBC’s two newest programs won’t be seen first on the cable-news network.

In the latest example of so-called “traditional” news outlets casting about for audience in new ways, the NBCUniversal-owned outlet will produce two daily videos that appear on Facebook before they surface anywhere else.

MSNBC is teaming up with NowThis a distributor of digital video in which NBCU has a stake. One, “Sound Off,” will focus on a breaking story in the morning that users can discuss and debate. The other, “FacePalm,” will appear toward the end of the day and examine one of the most shocking or frustrating events in the news cycle. The videos series will be released through NowThis’ and MSNBC’s Facebook pages.

“If we’re serious about reaching younger audiences where they are, we have to create content in the formats that work for the platforms where they live,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a memo sent to staff Thursday. “And we also must seek out other partners and content creators who are experts at doing this, and share our interest in compelling storytelling and innovation. “

Griffin cited data from Pew Research Center showing close to half of all 18 to 29 year olds in the U.S. watch news videos online, and that among Facebook users 18 to 29 year olds get their news from the social-media outlet at the highest rates.

The concepts for the daily Facebook series were jointly developed by MSNBC and NowThis based on NowThis data showing the type of content that performs best on Facebook at different times of day.

MSNBC  and NowThis are also planning to co-produce daily content for Twitter, Vine and Snapchat, Griffin said, while making use of the videos on MSNBC’s own venues, including its cable network.

The network has placed more emphasis on digital media in recent months. In December, it launched a streaming-video site, “Shift,” that features new online-only programming. MSNBC’s digital outreach comes as it has worked to correct significant ratings declines on its cable network.

It isn’t the only TV-news purveyor reaching out to younger viewers in new ways. CBS News recently launched the CBSN streaming-video report and ABC News earlier today expanded a content and distribution partnership it has with Yahoo.

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