Over lunch at the Future of Business Media Conference, Neil Cavuto sat down with paidContent.org executive editor Staci Kramer and Rafat Ali, publisher and editor of ContentNext. Cavuto, of course, is quite busy these days, with the launch of Fox Business and his continued role at Fox News. A big theme throughout the conversation was that the success of any media organization hinges on its ability to produce great, compelling content.
— Challenge for Fox Business: “I was there when Fox News Channel launched 11 years ago… the difference with this one is that the pressure is much greater. The expectations are much higher.” “There’s the issue of ‘can we repeat the magic of Fox News Channel?”. It’s important to remember that it took a long time for Fox News Channel to take off. “There’s no telling what will happen.” The key is to make compelling content.
— Digital: Online is definitely a key component of the Fox Business strategy, as the site provides an outlet for editorial to expand on issues covered on TV. Internally, everyone works together. There’s no offline/online autonomy.
— Ratings: No meaningful ratings will be available for at least another six months, so it’s not worth reading into any first week numbers. In the meantime, the new channel has to keep plugging away at what it does. It’s important to remember that CNBC is still in many more markets than FBC, despite the impressive size of the network’s launch.
— CNBC/WSJ/News Corp.: All of the sudden, CNBC cares about the WSJ, “but they ignored it for all these years”. It’s a good sign that CNBC now sees the Journal as valuable. Once the merger goes through, there’s a lot that can be done in terms of MarketWatch and the rest of DJ online products. “We’re call competing for eyeballs”
— The Populism of Fox Business: There’s no reason that business news must only be targeted towards the elites. Everybody wants to get wealthier, which is why the new channel defines things like EBIDTA and free cash flow when they’re first mentioned. The channel doesn’t need to cover technical minutiae to be a real business channel. “I often tell those enthusiasts of the price of Tin in Malaysia to go to CNBC”. “Business news is like the Dustin Hofman character in Rain Man; it gets too Pavlovian.” On the 20th anniversary of Black Monday, Fox Business decided to go to Times Square rather than Wall Street, because Black Monday was the day that first brought Wall Street to Main Street.
— Jim Cramer: “We had the opportunity to consider a show about shouting, but we said no.”
— Print Journalism: There’s enough value in print that Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell saw fit to invest billions into these businesses. Ultimately, “content still is king”