Brian Steinberg of Variety writes that the launch of Maria Bartiromo‘s new show, “Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo,” on Fox Business Network won’t help it gain many more additional viewers.
Steinberg writes, “For Fox Business Network, the hire is a big, and likely expensive, maneuver. While the network has notched audience growth over its six years, CNBC retains a sizable lead. Another big name FBN has lured, Lou Dobbs, has maintained his cachet, but has not mustered the viewership numbers he enjoyed at CNN.
“‘In terms of ratings, it is likely that a small percentage of people will follow Maria over to her new morning slot at FBN, but I don’t think it’s going to make for a huge ratings boost,’ said Billie Gold, vice president and director of buying and programming research at Carat, a large ad-buying firm that counts General Motors among its clients. One of the issues, said Gold, is distribution. By her estimates, CNBC reaches about 82.3% of U.S. TV homes while Fox Business reaches 66.6%.
“Bartiromo’s arrival adds luster to the FBN lineup, said Kevin Magee, the network’s executive vice president, and helps cultivate a viewership advertisers want. ‘What we have is a very good audience in that it is a very wealthy audience, and that’s very attractive to advertisers. It’s not a pure numbers game. It’s the quality of the audience, not the overall size.’
“Executives at Fox Business owner 21st Century Fox hope Bartiromo’s arrival heralds a new chapter for FBN. ‘I do think Fox Business is really beginning to hit its stride,’ said Chase Carey, 21st Century Fox’s chief operating officer, during a recent conference call with investors. ‘I think Maria Bartiromo is going to add a great dimension to it. We continue to strengthen distribution agreements to Fox Business. I think that channel really has an increasingly exciting future, as it really begins to carve out a space with the distribution platform finally fully in place.'”