OLD Media Moves

Fox Business hopes economic crisis will help it gain on CNBC

October 10, 2008

Ronald Grover of BusinessWeek writes that Fox Business Network is betting that the current economic crisis and Wall Street turmoil will help it make gains against rival CNBC in terms of viewers.

Fox BusinessGrover writes, “When the Administration first proposed the $700 billion bailout, FBN scrapped its regular weekend schedule and put its anchors on to answer calls from anxious investors. With a deal imminent, Washington correspondent Peter Barnes went on air at midnight with a report that was simulcast on Fox News Channel.

“On that Monday, FBN placed ads in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal chiding CNBC for sticking to its normal weekend schedule, which includes infomercials. ‘We’re dealing with the real issues that are hitting people at home, and they’re selling girdles,’ says Kevin Magee, Fox News executive vice-president. Since then, Fox has run a banner on screen declaring: ‘We own this story.’ And it has kept up its weekend coverage. CNBC declined to comment.

“Fox plans to attract people who don’t normally watch business news. ‘If we just divide up CNBC’s audience there won’t be enough for either of us to survive,’ says Magee. FBN has introduced an onscreen ‘fact box’ that regularly defines the more arcane financial terms for viewers. It is sending reporters back to their hometowns (from Waretown, N.J., to Ruidoso, N.M.) to interview folks about the local business climate. According to data obtained by BusinessWeek, on the day that the Dow fell 778 points, more than 100,000 people watched FBN’s two prime-time shows, America’s Nightly Scoreboard and The Dave Ramsey Show, which offers personal financial advice. That’s more than four times the size of FBN’s typical audience.”

Read more here.

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