RealTime IT News

MSN Bolsters CNBC Ties

Online financial sites continue to jockey for position, and even as Yahoo was crowing about a No. 1 ranking, Microsoft was expanding its CNBC on MSN Money site, adding features tied to the appearance of guests on CNBC.

At the same time, Yahoo Finance was claiming bragging rights as the most-visited Internet finance destination in the U.S., according to the Nielsen//NetRatings' MarketView report for June.

The newly revised CNBC on MSN Money site is scheduled to go live on Aug 2 at money.msn.com.

Microsoft and General Electric's NBC merged CNBC.com and MSN MoneyCentral after NBC's decision to shut down its online play, NBCi. The merged site was designed to offer new services letting consumers pay bills, track account balances and research investments, as well as stay abreast of market news and analysis from CNBC commentators.

The new features include a function that lets consumers monitor and analyze stock picks made by guests on CNBC TV, and an alert service that advises consumers via MSN Messenger Service, e-mail or mobile device whenever executives of companies they're interested in are scheduled to appear on CNBC television.

There's also an expanded mutual funds research area and a new Funds Transfer feature integrated with MSN Bill Pay that enables consumers to move money among checking, savings and brokerage accounts as well as between financial institutions.

The site also now has an alliance with Multex, a provider of investment information, so that investors can view chronological abstracts of key developments for a given company, including its earnings or product-related events.

Also this week, Microsoft said a buffed version of its MSN service is going into beta with enhanced features designed to put a dent in AOL's dominance of the Internet service provider (ISP) market. It will include some Money features, including the bill-pay service.

Yahoo, meanwhile, was talking about its No. 1 ranking (8.18 million unique visitors) in the "Finance, Investment & Insurance" category of the rankings from Nielsen//NetRatings. The MSN Money channel took the No.2 position in that category with 7.44 million visitors. PayPal, CNNMoney and Capital One rounded out the top five.

ComScore Media Metrix also ranked Yahoo Finance first for June, followed by MSN Money, CNN Money, the CBS MarketWatch sites and Motley Fool.

Rankings are important, as the financial services category is the No. 2 category behind retail goods and services in terms of garnering ad impressions. According to data from the Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance service for May, financial services captured 14.4 billion online ad impressions.

For June of this year, NetRatings said Yahoo Finance had 8.19 million unique visitors who spent an average of 44 minutes per month at the site.