OLD Media Moves

CNBC miscalculates

March 13, 2009

Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman writes Friday that business news network CNBC may have made a major strategy mistake by believing that its viewers would value the opinions of its anchors and reporters in a down market.

Friedman writes, “But in a prolonged bear market, like this one, CNBC’s audience is angry. It wants answers.

“To the public’s dismay, CNBC often has looked like its mission was to make the news — however grim it might be — look like entertainment. The formula draws heavily on its slew of chatty hosts who would seem comfortable on ESPN’s SportsCenter shooting the breeze about last night’s basketball scores.

“But CNBC has a big problem. Its upbeat approach has served it well in creating a buzz and building an audience. Now that millions of people have lost homes and jobs, the national mood calls for the leading financial network to change its strategy and reflect the gloomy sentiment.

“If CNBC does shift its course, though, it risks losing the people who tune in expecting to see loud, chatty anchors. The network must find a way to make sobering news seem appealing.”

Read more here.

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