With the launch of Fox Business Network earlier this month, CNBC is being watched more closely to see how they will meet the challenge. Staci Kramer, executive editor of ContentNext Media, had the chance to speak with Mark Hoffman, president of CNBC, at an afternoon panel for Future Of Business Media about how he views the new upstart, and whether some recent program moves have to do as much with the presence of FBN:
— The State of CNBC: “We were in the business early, licensed our mark to MSN and in 2006, after a five year commitment, the partnership lapsed. We started a new site organicall. It’s grown 500 percent from early days. We have the benefit of 150 hours of live TV to draw from. smaller operations at CNBC Europe and Singapore.
— International Moves: Staci referred to seeing CNBC Asia when she was at a conference in Seoul. We have distribution in 390 million homes around the world. We have acquired what was a jv between Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) and NBC in 2005. Our advretisers are more than taken care of in terms of mixing and matching their needs. 60 percent of American homes are invested in a stock, compared to 20 percent in Europe, also Asia.
— Elephant in the Room: Fox. is that a republican reference. Attention on money invested and how CNBC are bigger, lot more money, and are stilled viewed as competing head to head when they’re in one third the homes. 95 million homes in North America, We have to keep in perspective. FBN deserves credit for just launching a network. It’s difficult. It wouldn’t be fair to give feedback now. But in a year, they should find their rhythm.
— Emphasis on Exclusive: We’ve been a little over-obsessed with that word for a few years now. We had traders coming off the floor at 8 and we’ve moved that to just after the market close, to be like interviewing athletes coming off the field. Two years ago, we had Dennis Miller on and Conan O’Brien. We’re completely different today and we’re going to continue to make changes. You could say that the timing was in response to a new challenge, but this is part of a natural, continual evolution.
— Scale: In relation to the populist stance of FBN, which Neil Cavuto talked about as the network’s differentiating feature during his lunchtime interview with Rafat and Staci, Rafat asked Mark is CNBC is interested in attracting a more mainstream audience. “We’re not interested in everybody… our focus is narrow and deep. We’re interested in the 60 percent of American households who hold stocks. We’re unabashedly capitalist, focused on people with money, and people who want money… We’re not doing the Lord’s work, so there’s room for levity, but we take what we do seriously.”