MSN UK executive producer Peter Bale has told TechRadar that he has changed his stance on portal websites – and believes that they can continue to flourish as the internet changes.

MSN's UK version is one of the most popular internet destinations in the country, and the default homepage for those people who use Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

But former Times Online editorial director Bale insists that people have come to trust the site's blend of third-party content feeds (including TechRadar) and increasing amounts of bespoke content provided by the large editorial team.

"I think we beat ourselves up about being the default IE page," Bale told TechRadar. "But our real focus is on convincing people that there is no need to change.

"We know we are in a privileged position but we don't take it for granted and we are aiming to get our viewers to adopt and love our homepage for all that it offers."

Increasing role

Bale insists that 'best of the web' portal sites like Yahoo and MSN are increasingly important as search becomes more dominant on the web.

"When I arrived from Times Online I did think that the future was search and that portal sites had had their day," added Bale, "But I have changed my view.

"I think that the way people use the web has developed and there is a lot of competition from other 'best of the web' sites, but we make a substantial investment in proprietary content and I think we still say 'here is the richness of the web'.

"Search is incredible but it is not great for serendipity. I think you can personalise all you like but you can end up with an incredibly bland media experience."

We'll bring you more of this interview, including views on SIlverlight and UGC, later in the week.