Next TV: NBC's Schiller: Audience Loyalty More Important Than High Traffic

Exec Calls Move from Portal System with Microsoft Is 'Long-Term Proposition'
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New York -- A ranking of the top news sites by comScore in February saw that, which had previously been at the top during its partnership with Microsoft, had slid down to fourth, behind ABC News, which partners with Yahoo.

Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and chief digital officer, NBC News, said the move away from a portal system -- NBCU bought out Microsoft's 50% share of the MSNBC Digital Network, which includes,, and, last summer -- is more about building a loyal following rather than blind page views.

"What you get with a portal is a huge [influx] of traffic and you see a lot of unique visitors," said Schiller during a keynote discussion with B&C programming editor Andrea Morabito as part of B&C/Multichannel News' Next TV Summit here Thursday. "But the bounce rate is extremely high... It's not really going to be your loyal, engaged audience."

While Schiller is mindful of the ranking, she argued that for most people outside the industry, the comScore ranking has little meaning. "I think that how you measure success is changing," she said. "It's about finding your niche, finding your quality and tapping into what you can do best."

Schiller called building that relationship with their audience "a long-term proposition," noting that she already sees a push to have a smaller, but more engaged following. "There's clearly a steady move away from portals and creating your own network with what you're interested in," she said. "That's what makes Twitter so successful."

Schiller has no regrets about the move to take over complete editorial control and made sure to tout Microsoft as a great partner. "It was a fantastic relationship," she said. "The joint venture out-lived its usefulness."