Microsoft launches MSN homepage aggregating content from ‘1,000-plus’ publishers has flicked the switch on its new Australian homepage, which is expected to have a major impact on former joint-venture partner Ninemsn’s traffic.

The new MSN offering which launched globally a month ago, has secured Optus as a launch sponsor and is aggregating content from “1,000 plus sources” for news and content around the globe, including Fairfax mastheads, Seven, Nine and Ten, the ABC, and international players like The Huffington Post and The Guardian.

Whilst Nine Entertainment Co bought out Microsoft’s share of the joint Mi9 venture nearly a year ago, Ninemsn has remained the default log out page for Hotmail, providing a substantial amount of traffic for the news site. Nine will also handle the sales for the MSN site.

In the last Nielsen Online rankings Ninemsn was the third most visited news site with a unique audience of 3.161 million. CEO David Gyngell has previously flagged traffic to the site could fall up to 35 per cent as a result of the change.

From launch MSN will be the default homepage and log out page for Australians using Microsoft products including Windows 8, Internet Explorer, Skype and Outlook, a change is expected to dramatically impact the current traffic going to Ninemsn which had been at around third in the Nielsen Online Ratings. 

“In terms of the traffic currently around one third of the traffic that is now on Ninemsn will move across to MSN”, said Tony Wilkinson, Microsoft’s director of advertising and online division. “The remainder will be on Ninemsn and obvously there is a great audience there which have loved the content that has come from NEC and that will continue but we see an additional opportunity for providing an additional option for consumers so they have get content from a range of different sources.

The site claims to be totally customisable for users, featuring news, sport, lifestyle and integrate access to social media sites including Facebook and Twitter and will have an editorial team of 20, headed by Microsoft executive producer Andrew Hunter.

“From day one we are going to have the same audience we have always had but we have a set of opportunities to grow our audience and the combined audience of Ninemsn,” he said while noting that Nine’s digital division Mi9 will continue to sell ads for both Ninemsn and MSN.

Alex Hayes and Nic Christensen 


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