Bloomberg vs CNBC Video: Bleccch

Yesterday, I noted how pokey and bug laden the videos are on, saying "I sure wish CNBC would get hip to embeddable flash media, like
BrightCove. The klunky old windows media players crash all the time. (I
don’t understand why they went with this 10 year old technology)."

Turns out there is an even worse Video feed from a major news organization than Its

At least CNBC — crash-prone, buggy, ugly and slow — will play on a Mac.

The Bloomberg video — also  crash-prone, buggy, ugly and slow — is Windows only! I can play the video, but not the audio, on a Safari or Firefox browser for OSX.

And speaking of bugs, Bloomberg is the one of that odd collection of web based video that can’t/won’t be captured by a screen grab on a Windows machine. That means that any Bloomberg video you see here (like this one) is the result of watching and coding it on a Dell in the office, than grabbing the (silent audio) video part on the Mac at home, and combining the two.

Don’t you want people promoting your brand and your content?

Its not like Bloomie doesn’t know what embeddable flash is — if you go to this page, their promotional video is not WMP — its flash based! No loading delay, no glitches, just straight up video.



Hey &

You folks are paying for the shooting, editing, storing, hosting and bandwidth usage of all this video. I assume you actually want people to see it — to sell subscriptions, to roll adverts, to brand your product.  You are spending all of this money for a product that sends people  running in the opposite direction. 

Every time I post a video from either of your sites, I get email telling me it crashed their browser, or even worse their computer. It is slow, ugly and to be blunt, unprofessional.  Your online video product is in fact damaging your brands. (CNN/Money’s video auto roll is another bit of annoyance, but we’ll save that for another day).

Of all the major  Financial media that run video, only WSJ and NYT seem to have gotten it right.

Um, its 2008. Can we get with program?  The embeddable flash video is circa 2006. Can you find it
in your business models to only be 2 years — not 10 — behind the
technological adoption curve?



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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. BG commented on Mar 27

    While we’re talking of CNBC, I think Dennis Kneale should leave Squawk Box and go to Larry’s show. I think that is a much better fit.

  2. blin commented on Mar 27

    That’s telling ’em!

    I had to go to Grant’s website to view the video clip. At least his website let’s you watch on Apple software.

    You can imagine how many blogger’s were unable to watch the video…and didn’t even mention it.


  3. njdoc commented on Mar 27

    Bloomberg video plays on explorer for mac. If you still have it.

  4. Steve Barry commented on Mar 27

    Dennis could be like Ed Mcmahon…

    Barry: a suggestion for the blog, maybe others can chime in. I saw your blog entry on the Fed’s Nightmare and thought, “great entry…timely, important, there will be great comments on it”…then you write a new thread about windows media on CNBC (a nice topic, but I don’t think the debate on this is crucial to our very futures). What tends to happen (not your fault) is people coming to the blog will gravitate to the newer entry and stop commenting on the slighly stale topic. Perhaps there can be a way to have a main topic(s) for the day and side comments for you to vent on other things.

  5. geo commented on Mar 27

    THANK YOU for making this post. You are absolutely correct.

    Jeez, talk about communications company not wanting to communicate…..

  6. VennData commented on Mar 27

    The FT’s videos are even worse.

  7. macsaf commented on Mar 27

    Yes, I’ve noticed for a long time now that Bloomberg videos don’t play with sound on Safari or Firefox. They do work on the old Explorer, but who wants to go back to that? Anyone reading from Bloomberg? Please do something about this annoying problem. Your videos are no good without sound on our Macs!

  8. wnsrfr commented on Mar 27

    You Mac users are always so obviously smarter than everyone else, but then complain whenever a web site is incompatible.

    While your complaints have some validity, how about noting that Apple could help you out with some better compatibility.

    After all, if the technology is 10 years old, WHY CAN’T APPLE MAKE IT WORK?

    Maybe they are too “smart” and “cool”?

  9. Sergio commented on Mar 27


    Here’s how I get Bloomberg video to play on a Mac. Admittedly, I have to be really in the mood to do so:

    1. When you hover over the “Watch” link you’ll see in Safari’s status bar that it points to a javascript, e.g.:


    Copy the link (right-click or Ctrl-click > Copy Link)

    2. Extract the video ID part following vid=. In this example: v6QFMDUQYtg8

    3. Fire up Windows Media Player (I’m assuming you already have this installed)

    4. Piece together a URL that WMP will be able to open by inserting the video ID into: ID here].asf

    Note: To make this work for me, the URL has to start with http://, not mms://

    You should have a URL that looks like:

    5. In WMP, choose, File > Open URL…

    6. Paste in the URL you pieced together

    7. Enjoy both video and audio

  10. grace commented on Mar 27

    works for me. maybe your mac is the problem.

  11. jbiesi commented on Mar 27

    Or better yet…

    use H.264 video, which is not only compatible with the latest Flash Player (ver. 9) but also with iPhone! (and supported on Cisco video phones)

    check out, for some very high quality examples.

  12. Bill Gates commented on Mar 27

    Even though, I agree that WSJ videos quality are the best vs. CNBC and Bloomberg; nevertheless, I have never ever had any “crashing” problems viewing their videos on my Vista OS computer.

    Apple’s Safari is a crappy browser (worst than IE-7, Firefox, and Opera). Please try using Firefox or Opera with your MAC if you do not want to try our fantastic and cool IE-7 (if you decide switching to Windows and to use our IE-7, do not forget to add very useful and cool free add-ons to it, like IE7Pro and Inline Search).

    Good luck with your MAC, your Tiger or Leopard, and your Safari! You will need it.

  13. larster commented on Mar 27

    On my HP w/Vista all I get are stops and starts w/ Bloomberg, as it continually “buffers”. Hope they listen, Barry.

  14. Taylor commented on Mar 27

    Mac users have the option of using the Parallels virtualizer to run Windoze software. I have been quite happy with Parallels.

    Windoze as an operating system is a joke, but it does have a lot of software written for it.

  15. dblwyo commented on Mar 27

    Here, here. We’re hitting a major wave of neat innovation in anywhere, anytime, anything video that’ll change the media industries. HULU is a great example technically but very thin on content. Check out what Comedy Central did on the archive calender for Jon Stewart. The Charlie Rose site is another exemplar.

    As for Bloomberg the only way I’ve found to post with some reliability is while watching to goto Properties, extract and copy the resource address, post a screen shot and then link the extracted address to that screen shot. Rather mimics the Mac aficionado’s procedure in fact. For a company that made it’s bones as (partly) a tech innovator this is all rather sad.

  16. JustAGuy commented on Mar 27

    The reason some video choices do not work on a Mac is because some proprietary companies try to push proprietary non-standards that only play nice with those companies’ products. It’s not a problem with Apple, it’s a problem with Web sites which choose to ignore Web standards in favor of proprietary locked-down non-standards.

    On the Mac there are always ways around it. In the spirit of the Web, you shouldn’t be forced to work around proprietary non-standards.

  17. gunthestops commented on Mar 27

    Just my opinion, but I think the Bloomberg’s Website is a lot better then CNBCs. It is clean, uncluttered, and easy to navigate. CNBC is more about promoting viewership then providing detailed financial information. CNBC is a major provider of financial porn that targets the emotional retail investor..

  18. j commented on Mar 27

    This curmugeon would like to declare how much he hates embedded video. I never watch them because 95% of them suck. Either because they display badly, or because the experience of watching them adds nothing to the content they’re conveying.

    Web browsing at work is a reading experience, not a multimedia one. In addition I can’t imagine anything worse than watching two guys talk to each other.

    TV is TV, web sites are web sites. You can teach a pig to dance, but it’s still a pig. . .

  19. Travis commented on Mar 27

    You know what else? No RSS for Bloomberg. I realize there may be a smaller audience for RSS than for video, but why on earth would you block people from pulling your content into their aggregator? Do you not want people to read your content? Because that’s sure what it seems like.

  20. Chris commented on Mar 27

    All bow to the MAC and its superior platform. Where more money buys you status, yet less interoperability. Lets all blame windows for our closed operating systems problems.

  21. mhm commented on Mar 27

    Chris, your rant comes as close as possible to the mindset of the revolutionary thought. And this is not a compliment.

  22. Ritchie commented on Mar 27

    Several years ago Google solved the problem of compatibility and interoperability for my company, (Charlie Rose was also a participant in this project). We sold highres, full size access to our catalog of anthropology videos (CR sold his interview programs). We had customers all over the world with most of the combinations of hardware and software you might imagine. They ALWAYS viewed the Google generated videos without problems–at least we have no record of anybody ever having difficulties (same for Charlie Rose, as far as we know). Sales of video versions were taking off like a rocket, for us, and doing well for CR. Then, literally, on one day, Google, having been in the midst of plans to take over YouTube, told us they would no longer be providing our videos for sale. The reason seems to have been one of how fast revenues were growing FOR THEM. We were completely satisfied about the growth rate for sales. It was a total solution for sales of video via the web. The customer’s access to our videos was via a 4K file on their system and a click of a link–then it ran, always! Google went with YouTube because it was more in line with their revenue model, advertising in parallel with content. We, and Charlie Rose, I assume, are looking for someone else to produce a similar solution.

  23. Steve commented on Mar 27

    As long as we are complaining about browser compatibility issues — why are the right navigation links still invisibile for IE 7 users on this website? Last time I brought this up it was suggested that I should start using Firefox (which I can’t/won’t do for several reasons).

    Barry – your right hand navigation is way more important than those silly CNBC videos! Show us Windows users some love or risk being labeled a hypocrite ;)

  24. mark commented on Mar 27

    I can view bloomberg videos — after a brief delay to buffer — on my Mac with Firefox. This was the case for both Tiger & now the recently updated Leopard 10.5. I have an older machine, dual, but not intel based dual. Saw the Grant video yesterday.

  25. Peter commented on Mar 27

    You need Perian. It is a plug-in for quicktime that supports nearly everything.

  26. Kuds commented on Mar 27

    Fox Business videos work fantastic in all platforms (I use Macs and PCs). Now, if there was something interesting to watch over there…

    Time for CNBC and Bloomberg to catch up.

  27. Orion commented on Mar 27


    Thanks for sharing your frustration with MAC and Bloomberg audio issues.

    Soon after getting my mac, I had same issues and even brought the computer back to the store so the “Genius” guys could look at it.

    They couldn’t figure it out either.

    Hopefully someone from Bloomberg will read these posts and DO something to fix it.

  28. SRQ commented on Mar 27

    H.264 please. I mostly read your blog from my iPhone.

  29. Patrick commented on Mar 27

    Hi Barry, I tried to post a workaround to get the urls and a viewable option for the CNBC videos including the URLS themselves, but the spamfilter ate them.

    Please check.

    You can just use Firefox(IE sucks for any kind of information) and choose “page info” for any of the video linked pages, however it MUST be the url without the &play=1 at the end.
    Then you will find under “view page info” and the media tab a link called “release dowt theplatform” etc pp. Copy and paste that into your seperate WMP and it works like a charm standalone.

    Take care,


  30. Kevin commented on Mar 27

    Right on the money!!! I can not believe how far behind these companies are. How can they leave out a superior system like Mac.

  31. Grodge commented on Mar 27


    I tried to send a link to one of Santelli’s rants about the fed– but the damn thing was impossible.

    Very poor reflection of the CNBC brand.

  32. Pete commented on Mar 27

    I agree. Your rhs nav links are screwed up.

  33. MrWoohoo commented on Mar 27

    Uh, Blin,

    “I had to go to Grant’s website to view the video clip. At least his website let’s you watch on Apple software.”

    URL for the rest of us?

  34. paul commented on Mar 27

    i can’t believe someone as smart as you uses a mac.

  35. MarkD commented on Mar 27

    I know I’m late to this party, but I’ve got to vent

    Back when I switched to Firefox for windows I went to MSNBC, and even the text pages would not display properly. Simple fix, never went back.

    I cannot fathom a corporation like GE lets their content be held behind a moat.

    Not directly on topic I recently got a sub to Steve Smith’s Options Alert from Thestreet,com and you can’t log on to the alerts from a handheld!!!!

    Tech support says we don’t support mobile devices!! It’s 2008 not 1998 guys

  36. oroboros commented on Mar 28

    I work in tech. People get used to what they used in the past. So until they’re told to change by higher-ups, techies usually won’t. Or, sometimes, the techies are right and it’s the higher-ups who tell them to change it because of an ad they saw, or because of what their niece said (who is, of course, an authority).

    While I don’t have any issues with Bloomberg, I do have many issues with video sites which ONLY stream their videos (like CNN or Comedy Central), rather than load them (like YouTube). Worst are proprietary streaming services, which are universally abysmal [buffering … buffering … buffering]. Why people don’t follow what works is beyond me, other than maybe the people who are testing think that because it worked on the computer right next to the server room through the company fiber optic router, it must work everywhere else in the world just dandy.

  37. Video guy commented on Mar 28

    Barry, I disagree with you STRONGLY here.

    First of all, get a decent media player, such as mplayer (available for Windoze, Mac, and Linux). I never have any problem playing Bloomberg video, but then I never try to watch it in a browser (a horrible idea anyway).

    With mplayer, just give it the url, and it plays perfectly. Mplayer can even save streaming video (I always do that so I never have to worry about buffering). Bloomberg video ALWAYS works without any problems whatsoever.

    I absolutely can not describe how much I detest Adobe Flash. You basically give up control of your computer when running it (never a good idea). I simply refuse to use it. I can tolerate their video format if I can get a direct link to the media file (so I can download it and play it with mplayer).

    Many sites try to hide the location of the media file. If I can’t find it, I usually just pass on viewing it.

    I would rather see video in a more open format than either of these two, but, believe it or not, Windows Media Video is much more open than Flash Video.

  38. Chris commented on Apr 16

    I noticed that CNBC has changed their video over to Flash. The only remaining WindowsMedia seems to be for their live streaming broadcasts (prob DRM related).

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