What is CNBC.com Thinking?

I spent most of my vacation in a rather blissful CNBC-free zone. Other than catching Kudlow on a rainy Thursday night (Very nice tie, Larry!), I pretty much avoided the channel all week.

Cnbc_kudlow_kass So when Doug Kass sent an email linking to clips from his Friday appearances, I thought — what the hell — let’s see what I missed last week.

Except I couldn’t.

Those clips appear to be subscription only; It appears that most of the clips that are on CNBC today end up behind the firewall eventually.

Subscription costs: They want $14.95 per month to view their clips. Or, if you subscribe for the full year, its $169.95 — an astounding savings of $9.45!

Am I the only one who finds that rather unbelievable?

Alternatively, I could subscribe to the WSJ.com for $79 and access to all of their video, or WSJ print edition plus the web version for $99 a year.


So here’ s my question: How many $169.95 subscriptions a year is CNBC.com gonna sell?




Incidentally, WSJ.com uses BrightCove flash embedded video, which is
vastly superior to the pokey old Windows media CNBC.com uses —
which will not play on my 1 year old, Windows XP, 2 gigs of RAM, Dell.

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jul 9

    And no, I don’t get paid a cent to promote the WSJ — I even have to pay for my own subscriptions . . .

  2. Contrarian commented on Jul 9

    I like to check out the CNBC Asia videos and noticed one day that I had been stone-walled by the subscription service. I have a DVR and can catch all of it for free.

    Additionally, the video plays very poorly on my new iMac. Rewinding barely works and the buffer clears when the video ends. It’s really not worth anyone’s time to deal with this.

  3. Tom C., Stamford,Ct commented on Jul 9

    They’re off their rockers over there. The site’s a confused mess. If they paid me I might subscribe.

  4. muckdog commented on Jul 9

    Barry, do the vids behind the $14.95 a month subscription fee have a Naked News format?

    Lets go to Rebecca Jarvis at the Nasdaq!

  5. GerryL commented on Jul 9

    This is typical of business with no creativity. They are unable to come up with any new good ideas so they take the same stuff, call it a new product and charge for it.

    Along the same lines I am waiting for the first month that I dont get an offer from American Express to get another credit card.

  6. Chief Tomahawk commented on Jul 9

    CNBC should’ve consulted with Bob Costas, NBC anchor for the Barcelona games in ’92.

    Does anyone recall Bob hawking upcoming programming and times on the blue channel? The white channel? The red channel? It was dreadful to listen to let alone make sense out of at the time. And it was all subscription based.

    CNBC.com ought to make do with 15-second advertizing clips at the start and finish of their video clips, and some website advertizing banners. The internet should be used to grow their product. $170 for a year when most of their market footprint gets it already via cable and satellite isn’t going to work.

  7. michael schumacher commented on Jul 9

    Silly Rabbits they are positioning themselves ahead of the FBC. When Ailes launches that thing I’m positive they will have a similar service for subscription.

    Pretty obvious that most channels are setting up for another competitor, that has too much money to throw at “news”.

    So you get a few people (who obviously do not own a DVR) to sign up and then you can create you’re own little fifedom of mis-information and deception. and now you can pay for it too……

    To answer the original question:


    That is ALL the thinking that they need to do.


  8. ndog commented on Jul 9

    they are dreaming. with my tivo and slingbox I can watch any and all of CNBC whereever I want. there is zero stickiness with their site. i watch bloomberg all the time on the web and love it.

  9. angryinch commented on Jul 9

    The CNBS website is about as good as the channel itself.

    I only watch CNBS when I’m traveling, usually sitting on the john if they have one of those TVs in the bathroom. I find it serves as adequate restroom fodder.

  10. OwnPuts commented on Jul 9

    Zero. I think there are some other sites on the internet where you can see video for free.

  11. michael schumacher commented on Jul 9

    OT but take a look at consumer credit released today. When this well runs dry…who or where to go then??

    Something to be said for an increase of $12.9 billion when the “experts” predicted “only” $6.5. Article below

    Consumer Borrowing Jumps in May


    WASHINGTON – Consumer borrowing posted a hefty increase in May, reflecting the biggest jump in credit card debt in six months.

    The Federal Reserve reported Monday that consumer credit rose at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in May, far above the small 1.1 percent gain of April. The advance was about double what analysts had been expecting.

    The increase was propelled by a surge in the category that includes credit cards, which rose at a rate of 9.8 percent in May after having a tiny increase of 0.2 percent in April. The jump in credit card debt was the largest since a 14.5 percent rate of increase in November.

    The category of consumer credit that includes auto loans was also up in May, rising at a 4.4 percent rate after a 1.7 percent gain in April.

    The size of the increase caught economists by surprise, although they had been expecting a pickup from the sluggish performance in May, when the 1.1 percent rise in overall credit was the smallest gain since a 0.1 percent rise in October.

    The overall economy, weighed down by a steep slump in housing, grew at a lackluster rate of 0.7 percent in the January-to-March quarter, the weakest showing in more than four years.

    But economists believe strength in employment and consumer spending will help provide a stronger performance in the April-June quarter, with many looking for the gross domestic product to expand at a rate of 3.5 percent or even better.

    The report on consumer borrowing will provide support for the view that consumer spending has held up, despite the weakness in home sales and soaring gasoline prices during the spring.

    For May, consumers increased their borrowing by $12.9 billion to a record level of $2.44 trillion. Economists had been forecasting that consumer borrowing would rise by a much smaller $6.5 billion.
    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  12. michael schumacher commented on Jul 9

    pretty scary when you look at all of the “financial” sites and the headline are:

    “stock market close to record close”

    most have a variation of that one headline.

    But the consumer (which has been one of the reason given for the strength of the economy) is maxing out it’s credit resources. You’d think it would get at least a mention somewhere….


  13. John F. commented on Jul 9

    If CNBC is hoping to fund a technology upgrade with their fees, I think they might have better luck with a bake sale. Their site is truly unpleasant.

  14. Jeff Cauchy commented on Jul 9

    FWIW, Bloomberg TV is free of charge on Bloomberg.com.

  15. RosevilleBill commented on Jul 9

    I pulled the plug on cable entirely about 4 months ago and don’t feel I’m missing anything. I get plenty of information reading the blogs (especially TBP and Bill Cara). At the gym there are the usual mass quantities of TV’s scattered about. They have actually started to annoy me as I enjoy not being sold something constantly throughout the day. The straw that broke the camel’s back on deciding to unhook the cable was as I was watching CNN around 11:00 on a Sunday morning (after church) and a commercial came on promoting some erectile disfunction pill while my 8 year old daughter was nearby. Thanks for all the info and entertainment Barry.

  16. Polly Anna commented on Jul 9

    Didja ya hear what Maria just said on CNBC right now?


    Gosh, I remember Ron Insana when he was just another CNBC dot com knucklehead. Now he is a money manager.

    What next, Joe Kernan taking over for Hank Paulsen at the Treasury?

  17. Ralph commented on Jul 9

    About time some one took them to task on this! I have had nothing but troubles with their new site!

    You can charge me for your service, but I have got to feel like it is worth it. Cnbc, does at times have great content. I am sure lots of folks are interested as am I on occasion.

    However, you have to make it easy for me to get just the stuff I want and you have to make it work on a wide variety of platforms and tools.

    Navigation on the old site was horrible. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it is worse on the new site.
    Then when I could never actually get video to work right. I just left.

    Sometimes the video would just not work but most often all I could get was audio. The video was a solid gray block.

    My credentials. I am a techie! I am using a 1 year old PC with all the latest stuff on it. (not vista). I fix software problems for others all day long. So, it is not like it is likely that user error is at play here.

  18. Francois commented on Jul 9

    “CNBC.com” and “thinking” in the same sentence???

    Something’s wrong with that picture.


  19. jds commented on Jul 9

    There is so little of any merit on CNBC, that I never turn it on during the trading day. Too many self important talking heads, commentators and promoters to be of any value.

    Pay to watch CNBC retreads? Ha! There is nothing worthwhile to pay for. (sorry, Barry, but I can find your fine commentary right here)

  20. wstreetboy commented on Jul 9

    I love CNBC, the site’s a mess.
    For internet info, I go to wallst.net.

    On the podcast section: “Ahead of the Curve,” you can hear some of the guys you see on Kudlow or Cavuto, and they’re a lot smarter and more engaging.

  21. Christopher Laudani commented on Jul 9

    CNBC provides little, if any value.

    I would rather watch dogs skateboarding on YouTube all day than watch CNBC.

    I get more common sense advice from 30 minutes of Judge Judy than I do from watching CNBC all day.

  22. Leebone commented on Jul 9

    Doesn’t it make sense to buy “sling Box” at BBY for $300 or so, hook up to cable, router at home, watch any channel, any time at anywhere thru your pc or a notebook, with no subscription at all?

  23. dryfly commented on Jul 9

    So here’ s my question: How many $169.95 subscriptions a year is CNBC.com gonna sell?

    Does Larry come from a big family? Do they all get along?

  24. muckdog commented on Jul 9

    Doesn’t it make sense to buy “sling Box” at BBY for $300 or so, hook up to cable, router at home, watch any channel, any time at anywhere thru your pc or a notebook, with no subscription at all?

    No. It makes sense to go to Orb.com and download their software for free, and watch your cable, DVD or any other files on your PC (music, movies, etc) for $0.

    You do have to leave your PC on at home, though.

    I use Orb.com and have access to my PC from my cellphone, at work, and from the notebook. Comes in handy when I’m on the road.

  25. Leisa commented on Jul 9

    What’s interesting about the Ron Insana comment is that Erin Burnett made a mention of RI being a money manager last week, and Ron basically said that he never has talked about what he is doing and has no plans to talk about it. So today, they “talk” about it. I guess Ron has been outed. I do like think that RI has his head screwed on correctly and I appreciate and enjoy his commentary.

  26. Paul Peachin commented on Jul 9

    “CNBC provides little, if any value.
    I would rather watch dogs skateboarding on YouTube all day than watch CNBC”

    I have written you privately about your association with Larry Kudlow – and he isn’t worth mentioning again.

    Watching CNBC is like eating a bad steak

    I recommend a morning Buffet of:
    Trader Mike
    Tim Knight
    Wall St. Warrior
    Ron Sen
    Charles Kirk
    Trading Goddess

    At Night:
    Trader Mike
    Alpha Trends
    Trading Goddess

    and a few others. They all have a paragraph or two, maybe a short video
    and a few charts.

    We are talking folks who are writing straight without ego or projections
    possibilities and probablilites only.

    And if you like a great but rank Blog
    and I mean great and rank: The Fly!

    The above blogs are market talk at its best
    Larry Kudlow (use to be a bright man) has turn into something undesirable.

    Barry don’t “X” me here – you know all of whom I have mentioned and you praise them highly


  27. Larry commented on Jul 9

    I used my ability to block certain channels from my children and blocked myself for CNBC so I would not have to watch the crap. Talk about conflicting information. Sheesh!

  28. KirkH commented on Jul 9

    You and Jeff Jarvis should get together and start a new media company.

  29. Mike commented on Jul 9

    Zero – I terminated my trial after 3 hours.

  30. Robert commented on Jul 9

    CNBC isn’t worth a nickel. I don’t know any pro in this business who takes them remotely seriously.

    I cancelled my WSJ the day of the Murdoch sale as well.

  31. Trainwreck commented on Jul 9

    I have to say whilst watching CNBC one morning they did a great job of covering Paris Hilton’s exit from jail. Just so happens that was the first time (and last time) this year I watched that excellent news channel.

  32. mp commented on Jul 10

    Robert- I cancelled my WSJ the day of the Murdoch sale as well.

    I stopped reading that rag years ago. Stopped watching CNBC years ago. Got fed up with the hype.

  33. Lycurgus commented on Jul 10

    If our humble contributions once in the cable bill and once from watching ads aren’t enough to get still the greatest story that’s never been told, told, then heck yeah let’s pony up online too. With such high quality, fairy-tale-analogy-drenched analysis of the market available who wouldn’t? Barry do a podcast yourself instead of wasting time on that show; what do you lose, an hour, two with travel so you can get three sentences in?

  34. John F. commented on Jul 10

    I don’t know how anyone watches CNBC without TIVO or the sound turned off. If you eliminate commercials, repeat programs, predictable political yapping, and known dummies, you can fit a day’s worth of programming into about 2 hours.

  35. pete commented on Jul 10

    Speaking of FBC, Who’s going to be jumping over from CNBC? Maria? Kudlow? Cramer?

  36. sanjosie commented on Jul 10

    RobTV in Canada puts their content up for free.

    I prefer CNBC Europe. But the internet price is way too steep.

  37. Brian commented on Jul 10

    Ignoring CNBC is some of the investment advice out there. Signing up for the subscription is like paying someone to lose more money.

    CNBC is probably smart in charging that much though. Their target demographic is the affluent, and even if the majority don’t subscribe, they probably make a lot more off their subscription than just the ad revenues.

  38. Greg0658 commented on Jul 10

    Does anyone know how much the Simpson’s Movie will help purchase Ruperts latest endeavors?

  39. Strasser commented on Jul 10


    There is way too much free good content out there to fool with CNBC and their marketing talking heads…cannot watch or listen to them and have not watched for years. Prefer Bloomberg and reading! sites like yours of course :). We used to watch Kudlow (truly respect the man) until he became too obsessive in his dialogue.

  40. Ken M. commented on Jul 10

    The cable provider here in Las Vegas (Cox) is ignoring CNBC as well. They have an infomercial on for 45-50 minutes per hour, and CNBC is only on for about 11-12 minutes.

    Maybe someone with marketing / advertising / media expertise can comment — ?? is CNBC not providing the Cable with the proper fees ? … does CNBC suck so bad that they can no longer generate ad revenue?


  41. Bob A commented on Jul 10

    …and you expect more from the network that broadcasts Mad Money?

  42. Fuzz commented on Jul 10

    Well I like watching CNBC. I like when Mark bellyaches daily about GE shares (he knows the whole world is passing him up while his 401K rots). I like when Bob leans into us “folks” to strengthen his point (and it is?). I like when Bill announces 2 guests coming up that disagree (so I can ignore it). I like when Uncle Ben speaks because I know I’ll get to see the a-hole of easel afterward. I like when Maria stutters as she races to her next incisive question. I like when Larry talks over guests like Barry just as they are about to make their point. I like when the yelling guy looks like his head is going to pop.

  43. The Big Picture commented on Jul 10

    Media Appearance: Kudlow

    Its the regular appearance on Kudlow tonite: And, we’ve gotten the old band together — Marketwatch’s Herb Greenberg, and Dynamic Fund’s Noah Blackstein — everybody but Ringo (John Rutledge!) We will obviously be covering today’s market activity — Do…

  44. BP commented on Jul 14

    Could this arrogance mark the top for the CNBC hype machine?

    Like another poster said, Bloomberg TV is always free on the web and you rarely hear the anchors themselves woo-hooing and giving emotional cheers (like Maria Bartiromo when the Fed makes the “right” move).

  45. vickiben commented on Jul 14

    CNBC started with gratuitous noise on changing screens and now thinks they can have advertisers, cable subscribers, and online all pay—WRONG!
    I’ve started tuning into Bloomberg all day–less hawking from government syncophants and sometimes real news from anchors instead of uneducated opionions. Little House on the Prairie isn’t preparation for news analysis. I
    DVR Cramer and Fast Money and leave it at that.
    Every change CNBC makes is for the worse. Who is steering this ship or is it just ruderless?

  46. Ted Behrens commented on Jul 14

    It might be worth it if they promised no Cramer.

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