MSNBC’s Daily Implementation

April 24, 2015


Starting in early 2015, MSNBC has implemented Microsoft Pulse (formerly “Bing Pulse”) daily during their daytime and primetime programming to engage their viewers at home. On average, MSNBC has 375,000 M-F daytime and 800,000 M-F primetime viewers. For two hours of news programming a day, Pulse drives audience engagement and illustrates insights on the day’s news. MSNBC integrates the technology into their show multiple times per hour in order to see audience sentiment change and respond to their segments.


MSNBC can track voter sentiment throughout the program, analyzing reactions by respondent group (men vs. women, or democrat vs. independent vs. republican, and other relevant attributes). Results and insights are shared in real-time on air.

Via Pulse, MSNBC is able to track changes in sentiment by group over the course of the program, analyzing how live interviews and segments generate a shift in voter response throughout the show. Beyond sharing insights, MSNBC incorporates Pulse into guest interviews by asking panelists to respond to the Pulse question of the day and sharing viewer responses instantly with them, creating rich a discussion that gives viewers a seat at the table.

By tailoring content in the moment, MSNBC retains editorial control and keeps their viewership engaged with the day’s key questions and themes.

The Microsoft Pulse data API is integrated directly into MSNBC’s graphics system. MSNBC also annotates the Pulse graphs with commentary throughout the program. The social media team shares these insights and video clips via Twitter and Facebook.


MSNBC delivers up to 6 segments a day using Microsoft Pulse on-air and over social media. Since early 2015, viewers have engaged with breaking news in real-time, casting over 1.5 million votes.

MSNBC has implemented Pulse outside of their daily programs as well. Pulse has driven insights during live press conferences, special coverage, and other news programs.

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Sample insights from Thomas Roberts Live

On August 18, Thomas Roberts Live asked the viewers “Do you agree with Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship?” After 17,000 votes, final insights included:

  • Caucasian voters disagreed with Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship.
  • Hispanic voters and voters of other races agreed with Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship.
  • African American voters were neutral.
  • Overall, 44% of voters agreed with Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship.

Sample insights from the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

On April 25th, MSNBC implemented Pulse during their broadcast of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. During this annual event, the President joins notable journalists for a lighthearted evening filled with jokes and a comedy performance. Viewers at home were able to let the world know if they were laughing along with President Obama and comedian Cecily Strong by using MSNBC’s “Laugh Meter,” powered by Microsoft Pulse. After 70,000 votes, final insights included:

  • Democrats enjoyed President Obama’s jokes the most, and Independents also found him funny. Republicans thought some of his jokes were just okay.
  • Republicans didn’t enjoy the President’s joke about the Koch brothers or the Luther anger translator bit as much as Democrats and Independents did.
  • Voters thought Strong’s joke about Hillary Clinton was only “meh,” though they found the rest of her performance made them “LOL”.
  • Overall, voters thought Cecily Strong’s jokes were funny, but they didn’t resonate as well with viewers aged 18-24.
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