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October 8, 2015

Ratings, not ad revenue, are up for CNBC and Fox Business Channel

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 7th 2008 9:10AM

If you're like me, the first thing that you do after you wipe those crusty things out of your eyes is turn on CNBC, Fox Business Network or Bloomberg to see how much more the economy is in a tailspin. Sometimes you watch to see how far oil has fallen. Other times you watch just to see if another bank or investment firm failed. Still, other times you watch to shake your fist and scream in anger to no one in particular.

Should any of these reasons be the case, you are not alone. Fact of the matter is you are part of an growing audience for these business channels. Over the last few weeks networks like CNBC and FBN have been racking up the viewers, with many of them jumping on the disaster bandwagon in the last half of September. For instance, when the Dow Jones Average plunged 778 points on September 29th, CNBC's average total viewership reached an all-time high of 726,000. Fox Business Network, which has only been around for about a year and isn't on nearly as many cable systems, garnered an average of 91,000 viewers on that same day.

This is fantastic news for the cable business networks! Except for one little thing: the ratings are not bringing in the additional ad revenue. As we have all learned from our Ratings 101 classes, an uptick in viewership usually means an equal uptick in companies wishing to advertise around a show or at least an increase in fees that networks charge advertisers. Not the case this time.

Some of this can be attributed to a shift in what is being advertised. According to John McCann, VP of Ad Sales for Fox Business Network, many advertisers are switching their emphasis from being hard-charging investors to being safe-havens for your current and future investments. Also contributing to this loss of ad revenue is the basic fact that, well, some of the biggest advertisers are no longer doing business. Think about it for a moment. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual -- they don't exist anymore. Plus, many other institutions are probably being extremely cautious with what they spend because, by the time their ad premieres, they could be gone as well. What does that leave the networks? A lot of commercials for GorillaTrades featuring former Monkee Davy Jones talking to a guy in a gorilla suit.

With this seemingly never-ending crisis continuing (the market is down well over 400 points as I write this) things are looking good for these business networks. With people like myself, who aren't Warren Buffets when it comes to investing, tuning in on a fairly regular basis, there doesn't seem to be a halt to their growing popularity. The ad revenue will return as new players to the financial world make their debut on the ever-changing field. Soon enough, we'll be investing our money with these networks then those silly little financial institutions.

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