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Showdown Between Fox Business Network and CNBC

Published 10/16/07 (Modified 3/9/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Whenever two Goliaths want to duke it out for supremacy, I'm the first to grab some popcorn and a front row seat. I can't help but watch and be entertained. Like watching a cafeteria brawl back in high school, it's just too fascinating to pass up.

Fox News' Not-So-Secret Secret

Yesterday, Fox News confirmed that it will be releasing its long overdue 24 hour cable business news channel Fox Business Network by the end of the 4th quarter of this year. In doing so, Fox News will be launching itself into a head on battle between the current dominant business news channel, CNBC (one of my favs).

Back in February 2007, Rupert Murdoch raised my eyebrows when he indicated that his new Fox Business Network channel would be more business friendly than CNBC" which he complained was quick to leap on every scandal". Fox News president Roger Ailes also indicated in a separate interview, that "Many times I've seen things on CNBC where they are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be," and adding that "We don't get up every morning thinking business is bad."

I certainly hope this doesn't mean Murdoch plans on creating a business news network that will operate with a particular preconceived and slanted agenda, an allegation some have levied against his current news network.

To Succceed Fox Business Network Will Have To Find Its Niche

The advertising market and demographics for Fox News compared to the other cable news channels such as CNN and CNBC are quite different. To be competitive, Fox's new business channel will not only need to galvanize its current audience, but it will also have to find a way to go after CNBC's predominantly wealthier, highly educated viewers. Unlike Fox News, CNBC's market is generally understood to be comprised of more high net worth viewers, a segment that is highly coveted by advertisers. Because of this, I doubt Fox News will be able to rehash the same recipe for success that worked for the current Fox News channel by focusing primarily on right wing conservative viewpoints alone. Murdoch might find it difficult to create an interested audience of investor types from his current network's demographic base.

As one online commentator comparing Fox News to another network noted:

Fox viewers are more Chevy buyers than BMWs. Hence, lower ad rates for Fox..

Is There Room For Another Cable Business News Channel?

Not only will Fox Business News face an uphill battle for favorable demographics and marketshare, it will have to find a way to distinguish itself and prove to skeptics that there is room for another cable business news network. Others networks such as CNNfn have tried in the past but failed.

Fox has indicated that it wants to appeal more to a "main street" audience rather than a "wall street" audience. Whether this particular demographic segment will be enough to build up a sustainable viewership remains to be seen.

I am not a Murdoch fan but I think competition will be great for the viewing market. If they want to focus on business and financial issues that affect more the ordinary lay person, more power to them. I will definitely tune in to the channel to get a different viewpoint. But if the channel starts to smack of propaganda and peculiar agendas, I might just tune back to CNBC exclusively. But I'll give Murdoch a chance.

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