Fox Business News vs CNBC

Rupert Murdoch spoke at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit yesterday, announcing that the Fox News Channel will have a Fox cable business channel competing with CNBC on the air by the fall.

This part of the story was especially made for the WTF? file:

"At a media conference in New York yesterday, Mr. Murdoch said the Fox Business Channel would be “more business friendly than CNBC,” which he said was quick to “leap on every scandal,” according to a report on his remarks by, whose parent, McGraw-Hill, sponsored the conference.

In a separate interview, Mr. Ailes elaborated. “Many times I’ve seen things on CNBC where they are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be.”

He added: “We don’t get up every morning thinking business is bad.”

Talk about shooting the messenger: Its not the media that falsified option records, engaged in fraudulent accounting, had corrupt research, stole from investors, or any other of a long laundry list of corrupt, illegal and shareholder-hostile actions. They just reported it.

The biggest complaint about CNBC, especially during the late 1990s, was the tendency to get caught up in the positive momentum and cheerlead a bit.

What about the scandal-ridden companies that so dominated the headlines at specific periods of time? Back to Ailes:

"Asked whether that meant that Fox would go easy on its reporting of the
type of corporate scandals like Enron and WorldCom that cost individual
investors millions of dollars when those companies collapsed, Mr. Ailes
replied: “We will be as ruthless in our coverage of business scandals
as we have always been.” He said that while thousands of companies have
publicly traded securities, “only 9 or 10 are in trouble” at a given

The question I am curious about: Will this be a journalistic enterprise, with real investigations into significant issues, or will this merely be a stylistic exercise? Will content be an afterthought, as they attempt to be the anti-CNBC?

The most interesting aspect of this competition — at least from a media business perspective — will be the demographics of FBC. Neither the NYT or the WSJ mentioned this. While Fox has long outpaced CNN in total viewers, they have never really captured the more desirable demos; Fox does not charge nearly as much as CNN does for advertising time. Some sources have quoted ad rates at CNN 3X those of Fox (this is unverified).

A major advertising exec I know has said that "Fox viewers are more Chevy buyers than BMWs." Hence, lower ad rates for Fox than CNN. That same demo may dog FBC versus CNBC.

The business channel could be seen as an attempt to go upmarket. CNBC’s viewership is high net worth, extremely coveted by advertisers. Will Fox be able to improve their demos and capture advertisers like Lexus and Mercedes? The answer may very likely depend on how similar or different Fox Business Channel will be to Fox News. I wonder if it will be a real business channel — I picture it as  Bloomberg with attitude.

Or, will FBC be like the Fox Saturday Business block, essentially politics wearing a business suit and tie?

There is a lot more to this demographic tale, and I suspect it will make for some great theater over the next 12 months . . .


Also of note: Traders will be glad to know that long missing Alexis Glick will be director of business news for Fox
Business Channel, and I assume, an on-air personality. She was a favorite of many trading desks. Neil Cavuto — a former CNBC anchor and now longtime face of Fox (and a genuinely nice guy) will anchor and oversee content.


My disclosure:  I’ve been a guest on numerous shows on both channels, but since becoming a pretty regular guest on Kudlow & Co., I have not done a Fox show in a while . . .


Fox to Begin a ‘More Business Friendly’ News Channel
NYT, February 9, 2007

News Corp. Builds Toward Business TV
WSJ, February 9, 2007; Page B2

Murdoch ready for CNBC fight, ‘Borat’ sequel
Paul R. La Monica, February 8 2007: 6:24 PM EST

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  1. Craig commented on Feb 9

    To me they will be sides of the same coin.
    I see CNBC as a Foxy version of Bloomberg with a more timely volume generated ticker.
    They are too political and not enough journalism. Frankly, I don’t give a crap what Joe Kernan or Kudlow think, or of they think. They are either unaware of their bias or they simply don’t care.
    I have taken to watching Bloomberg lately. Better reporting and very aware of bias. Bloomberg is business journalism, CNBC is more political business entertainment. Fox will be the far right of CNBC, even more politicized business entertainment.
    I won’t take it anymore as journalism than their Saturday AM political shows masquerading as business news. Neil may be a nice guy, but he’s nothing more than a political whore for $ on TV. The FOX Sat. AM political news premise has gotten so rediculous I watch it for a laugh. Most of the stories have no actual link to their premise and are stacked 2 to 1 with right wing whackos. The only honest one is Pat Dorsey and I wonder why he bothers.

  2. Chad commented on Feb 9

    I hope they just put Erin from CNBC via Bloomberg TV on 24/7. Then I would definitely watch it.

  3. Nova Law commented on Feb 9

    The success of Fox News Channel shows that institutionally, News Corporation is capable of putting together an attractive package that people want to watch. I doubt very much that Roger Ailes is going to create an echo of CNBC; the success they’ve had with FNC shows that contrasting yourself with your competitiors brings in viewers.

    Competition between Fox and CNBC should be good for us, the consumers.

    As an aside, Bloomberg has never really developed into a high-level player in the Biz TV sweepstakes. I wonder if the addition of a third player will energize them or put them out of business.

  4. lewis commented on Feb 9

    Actually, I am an ROBTV fan (Mainly Squeeze Play with Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary now that Kevin no longer seems to do his own show). Always found it gave me a outside looking in perspective, kind of like watching BBC instead of the nets. But hey, if Fox is gonna have shows like “Eat my shorts (and my longs)” I might watch some.


  5. dblwyo commented on Feb 9

    Barry – thanks. Don’t pay much attention to TV anymore particularly after CNBC went political and entertainment. This is really sad though that somebody could seriously think that CNBC is business hostile. Granted Murdock needs to establish a market differentiating position but how ’bout the one you’re reflecting. Business is better served by honesty.

    I hated Dallas for many reasons – but the key one it wasn’t the type of business I wanted to or did work in. Unfortunately the headlines since might challenge that argument.

    Could we function in any market without some profound abilities to rely on the other end of the deal ? How much money flows on trading desks every day on phone calls ? Granted a large number of sharpies and (according to Cramer) maniuplators but still…

  6. metroplexual commented on Feb 9

    If FNC passes for a news organization, I hate to see what their version of business news will be. As Kieth Olberman has said the “N” in FNC stands for “Nothing” because that aint news that they put out on the air. I am thinking FBC where the “B” stands for the BS they will lay on thick.

    BTW, isn’t Cavuto the one poopooing the housing bubble? He has lost me as a credible source for business news on thast basis alone. To him it was a forgone conclusion.

  7. dark1p commented on Feb 9

    Agreed, metroplexual. Fox News, oddly enough, has the firepower to cover news, which they sometimes show on their channel. But of course, they’re best known for wingnuttiness and apologias for the current administration and those downtrodden Christian folks who make up most of the country. I expect their ‘business news’ will be the same type of thing, though how they go right of CNBC will take a little doing. Maybe they stand up for the rights of poor downtrodden robber barons and monopolists whose hands have been tied by government so they can’t pollute and hire 14 year olds to work six days a week in unsafe conditions. Damn Democrats.

  8. Fat Finger commented on Feb 9

    Barry: Alexis Glick worked the floor (NYSE) as a trader I feel if one hasn’t spent dues on the CBOE or CME or NYSE or Harrys’ bar your are nothing!!!
    Cleveland Gary

  9. Estragon commented on Feb 9

    I’ll stick to Bloomberg for the most part. They seem to let guests make their point in complete sentences. On Fox, issues have to be distilled down to a two word answer before the host or another guest shouts the speaker down.

  10. paul commented on Feb 9

    More corporate friendly means giving CEOs a chance to say what they want with few critical questions – the model Fox has for Republican officials.

    So, I’d expect it to be all in favor rolling back Sarbanes-Oxley, anti-any regulation, anti-minimum wage increases, go very (very) slow on global warming, tax breaks for businesses to stay competitive, tax breaks for the top 1% of wage earners, and a pool of people to minimize the misdeeds and scandals of corporations.

    This would be the place Ken Lay would have gone to answer softball questions about Enron, just as VP Cheney goes there now to answer softball questions about everything.

    It’s value for people investing money will be zero.

    The Fox version of Cramer will be a hedge fund type who is the updated version of Godron Gekko, played by Michael Douglas on Wall Street: “Gregg is good. Greed works.”

  11. Teddy commented on Feb 9

    I always liked Alexis Glick who is atractive, smart, and knowledgable. I stopped watching CNBC at about the same time she “disappeared”, but will not be watching her Fox report from the hen house.

  12. annew commented on Feb 9

    I read an article yesterday which implies that FOX wants to be the New York Post of business news.

    Anybody that wants to make money or be aware of what trends are emerging (the type of people that watch financial news) may not be well served from watching an “all positive, all the time” business channel.

    I can just imagine what the advice / in depth stories they will cover, stuff like…now is the time to buy home builders stock!! They had a very soft landing (due to the skillful management of the White House) months ago. Or weekly topics, like how is Nancy Pelosi going to try to ruin the economy today?

  13. Chief Tomahawk commented on Feb 9

    “Or, will FBC be like the Fox Saturday Business block, essentially politics wearing a business suit and tie?”

    I watched that Saturday morning business block once last summer. There was a panelist who said “the reason why the market was going up was because the market wants the U.S. to attack N. Korea.” Scary that actually came out of the mouth of an adult.

  14. John F. commented on Feb 9

    CNBC not sufficiently business-friendly?? How is FBC going to handle stories involving reporters, executives, and corporate jets in a business-friendly manner?

  15. Chief Tomahawk commented on Feb 9

    Oh, how could I overlook the analyst disclosure graphic CNBC puts up on the screen, where conflicts are made public and presumably frowned upon? On Fox Business Channel, it will read “Has stock in company, Has seat on Board of Directors, Has stock in Fox News, Is paid for appearance, Is talking up book…” (essentially all of the boxes will be checked.)

  16. RMX commented on Feb 9

    I can at least understand why people would watch bullshit political news on FOX in order to reaffirm their own wingnut viewpoints. But why would anyone be interested in watching bullshit financial news? Makes about as much practical sense as watching a weather channel where the forecast is always “sunny and warm”.

  17. VJ commented on Feb 9

    This will be just another in the list of vanity fake news media outlets:

    It will join the ‘Fox News Channel’, the ‘New York Post’, and the ‘Weekly Standard’ magazine, which are also subsidized by Rupert Murdoch.

    The ‘Washington Times’ and ‘UPI’ are subsidized by the Moonies. Richard Mellon Scaife underwrites the ‘Pittsburgh Gazette’, ‘WorldNetDaily’, ‘NewsMax’, and the ‘American Spectator’. The Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the Carthege Foundation and others, underwrite various publications and outlets, such as the ‘National Review’ (magazine and online), ‘Policy Review’ (Heritage Foundation), the ‘Western Journalism Center’, and ‘Regnery Publishing’. That’s a short list.

    William F. Buckley once remarked, during one of his famous panel debates, that all of the RightWing media is subsidized, including his beloved ‘National Review’, and that if the subsidies were ever withdrawn, they would all fold up and close their doors the very next day.

  18. costa commented on Feb 9

    Can they take Bob Pasini too.

  19. Francois commented on Feb 9

    “William F. Buckley once remarked, during one of his famous panel debates, that all of the RightWing media is subsidized, including his beloved ‘National Review’, and that if the subsidies were ever withdrawn, they would all fold up and close their doors the very next day.”

    Quite a testament to their intrinsic value as media outlets isn’t it?

    PS: There are a couple a simple, legal and legitimate ways the next Democrat Administration could make that happens…(*evil grin*)

  20. Scooter Libby’s Crutches commented on Feb 9

    Neil Cavuto, along with his occasional guest Jonathan Honig, are among the worst people on Earth.

    Maybe they’ll give that bloodthirsty scumbag his own show: Killing And Bombing Other People IS Good For The Economy.

    In a just world, they’d both be castrati. Instead, millionaires.

  21. VJ commented on Feb 9

    “Quite a testament to their intrinsic value as media outlets isn’t it?”

    Doesn’t quite comport with the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”, “stand on your own two feet”, “rugged individualism”, and the “efficiencies of the market place” we always get from this crowd, eh ?

  22. Jason M commented on Feb 9

    Fox News has always been bullish on the economy as it served the Bush Presidency. We’ve all seen it, many times: they spin market rallies as proof that “the Market likes Bush’s re-election” or pullbacks as proof that the markets are upset about John Kerry or democrats or whatever.

    Clearly, Murdoch sees the writing on the wall. Fox News Corp can no longer draw such direct lines between an issue and Republicans, because Bush and Company are snakebit and bring a negative connotion to everything they touch.

    So, the new approach will be to cheerlead the economy in an ostensibly non-partisan way, in the hopes that continued upbeat views about it will benefit Bush and the Republicans as Election ’08 nears.

    Think about it — the economy is the only possible issue they have to run on in ’08. That’s it. Everything else is a gigantic clusterfrak.

  23. seamus commented on Feb 9

    FNC attracts white, Christian, middle-class people who seek validation that Hillary Clinton and university-educated eggheads want to turn their kids gay and ban all religion except Islamic fundamentalism.

    Who do they think is going to watch FBC? These same people? Serious investors?

    Quick, better run out and buy some homebuilders’ stock! David Lereah says so.

  24. commented on Feb 9

    Todd Thomson Might Beg To Differ

    So, News Corp. is going to have its own business channel, yada, yada, yada. Aside from being immune to self-inflicted irony—yesterday at a press conference announcing the venture, Rupert Murdoch shamed future rival CNBC for being quick to “leap…

  25. BDG123 commented on Feb 9

    Carl, I read that twice and laughed harder the more I read. Are you ok? LOL.

    I have a question Barry. Is that advertising exec the same one who appears regularly on CNBC. Works for CNBC. Has a show on CNBC? Maybe met him while you were over there? Any conflict in his statement that Fox watchers are trailer trash and CNBC types are elitists? Just curious. lol. Btw, he sure knows how to read an audience. Loved that Super Bowl ad. Really hit the market with all of those laid off auto workers and those suffering because GM and Ford are in serious shape.

    Btw, I find the reporting on CNBC anything other than professional. At least on Fox, as it pertains to Cavuto, he’s the consumate professional. More than I could every say for the ratings ravenous CNBC crew of loonies.

    Bloomberg and RobTV have it all over on CNBC and if Cavuto is any indication of what Fox will put forward, they’ll eat CNBC’s lunch IMO.

  26. Bob A commented on Feb 9

    We can only hope Larry Kudlow will be recruited. It’s where he belongs. On the Propoganda channel.

  27. donna commented on Feb 9

    I guess Helicopter Ben was jealous that Tony Snow had his own channel and wanted one, too….

  28. Norman commented on Feb 9

    1)I won’t have to put up with Maria’s lisping with a mouthful of oatmeal.
    And maybe:
    2)we’ll be done with the babes and others trying to show us they know about finance.
    3)we’ll be done with all of those stupid gottcha questions.
    4)there will be more programming to actually educate folks. CNBC’s answer is Cramer, the clown. People, managing your money is serious, serious business. Its about valuations not about the what’s hot around the corner. Wait until GOOG hits $100 and you’ll see what Cramerica does to CNBC’s viewership.

  29. Mike G commented on Feb 10

    Cavuto, he’s the consumate professional.

    Cavuto? The hack whose show features such headlines as, “Is the Stock Market Patriotic Enough?” and “Bush: The Best President Ever?”

    The puppet-string mouthpiece who proclaimed on his show, “You were repulsive then, and you are repulsive now”, about people whose politics didn’t slant the same way as his?

    We can look forward to Fox bringing the same sense of integrity *cough* and respect for accuracy, facts and evidence *cough* to financial information as the Fox News Channel. If you want the ultimate contrarian indicator, check what stocks FBC is pimping.

  30. Steve Goulet commented on Feb 11

    Depew is hilarious. I like this differentiator:

    8. Once a quarter, before market opens, Roger Ailes will appear live on camera and eat a poor person.

  31. BettinaZ commented on Feb 11

    Well, any respect I ever had for Alexis Glick is GONE. I can’t believe that ANYONE who is not a scumbag Republican would EVER go to work for that channel. Sorry Alexis, but GUILTY by association. I will NEVER listen to you again.

  32. dukeb commented on Feb 13

    Wow! Almost knocked my morning socks off with this: “Neil Cavuto — a former CNBC anchor and now longtime face of Fox (and a genuinely nice guy) will anchor and oversee content.”

    Every time I have the great misfortune of happening across Neil Cavuto content, I’m left with a very dirty sensation that makes me want to shower. Still remember his uber goofy attack (via CNBC a few eons ago) on the Frugal Gormet for among other things recommending a specific brand of pots & pans and rumors that he was difficult to work with. Wow, thanks for that ground-breaking report, Neil! But wasn’t it supposed to be an interview about the guy’s book? And exactly which pots should I buy now?

    And today I was treated to a feed via SmartMoney to Cavuto’s inane and failed attempts to lead Robert Kiyosaki into Democrat bashing. My favorite part is Neil’s wimpy head-bowed rebuttal to Kiyosaki’s light-hearted comment about Neil being on of the rich.

    Cavuto is a “genuinely nice guy”? Not. I’m really hoping the financial analysis on this site is A LOT better than its psychological analysis.

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