The Wall Street Journal takes stock of the three TV business networks and sees that their fortunes are sagging.
In the third quarter, CNBC, the dominant business-news channel, hit a 20-year low in its target demographic of adults 25 to 54 years old. (CNBC’s gross advertising revenue is down 4% to $251.6 million since last year, according to SNL Kagan.) Six-year-old Fox Business Network remains on a long-term growth trajectory, but its average total daytime audience has declined from last year — to 58,000 from 71,000 — and has fallen short of some media buyers’ expectations. Bloomberg LP, meanwhile, is rethinking the business model of its TV channel, having failed to turn a profit or draw more than 10% of the audience for TV business news despite being on the air for nearly two decades.
Why is this happening? Reporters Keach Hagey and William Launder write that, beyond online and streaming competition, “business television has faced the added challenge that individual investors are fleeing the stock market as an increasing amount of trading is done by institutional investors and algorithms.”
“I think there are all sorts of places you can get stock prices,” said Kevin Magee, the executive vice president of Fox Business Network. “Aside from that, there is general unhappiness with the economy these days, and it isn’t always fun to watch news that’s bad.”
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