The portal has a massive global audience of more than 600 million according to Microsoft. Different countries will have somewhat different looking MSNs, which it turns out is the source of roughly 45% of Bing’s query volume. Thus MSN is critical, at least for now, to Bing’s continued success. If MSN grows and gains users Bing will presumably gain and grow query volumes.
One of the very nice features of MSN is the “local edition” area, which contains news and other local information. The Local Edition now will include news and video content from NBC Local Media and Hearst Television. According to the press release:
Through partnerships with NBC Local Media and Hearst Television, we will receive around 3,000 news video clips a week across 36 local media markets. While anyone in the US can receive comprehensive local information from MSN Local Edition, we’re pleased to partner with these industry leaders to offer more compelling and relevant local video clips to customers in 35 markets. The new video content will be available in January 2010.
This local content and information will help create loyalty and valuable ad inventory for MSN, which in turn will benefit Bing as suggested above. Yahoo is also beefing up its local news assets.