Dow Sites Substitute Fox Links for CNBC Ads
NEW YORK: The dedicated if dozy readership of News Corporation's New York Post and its UK sibling, The Sun, would have felt a warm glow of kinship in the unlikely event they had tuned into Monday's launch of Fox Business Network.
On the new channel's inaugural day there was little to challenge the IQs of its audience.
For starters, anchorwoman Alexis Glick pitched a desultory handful of campaign questions at Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton over a satellite-link, before turning to the main dish of the day.
Not, as you might expect, a sizzling below-stairs exposé of corporate America - but a live Sun-style Times Square interview with the self-styled Naked Cowboy (pictured), a guitar-twanging entrepreneur who serenades tourists in his underpants and claims to earn $250,000 a year so doing.
"No matter what you think at home," gurgled presenter Glick in justification of the travesty, "you can make a small business a reality."
Initial reactions on Madison Avenue (and elsewhere) are that CNBC has little to worry about.
As the New York Times observed of the newcomer: "This is not a network that caters to money managers or day traders. FBN provides economic news for people who don't follow the economy very closely and hate to hear bad news.
"Sunny, informal and downright perky, FBN comes off as a blend of CNBC and a fifth hour of the Today show - with the underlying political drumbeat of Fox News: "Global warming is natural and so are tax cuts".
But sneer though critics might, it would be unwise to ignore Rupert Murdoch's astonishing track record. His patience and judgement, allied to NewsCorp's deep pockets, have ensured many past successes when others predicted failure.
Clan Murdoch's patriarch has an uncanny habit of pointpointing his market, reminding this writer of the salutary warning that used to appear in the rear windows of teen-crammed jalopies: 'Don't laff Pops, your daughter may be inside!'
Despite contracting to run ads placed by the CNBC news network, two websites owned by Dow Jones - on the verge of subsumation into the NewsCorp maw - instead featured ads for that channel's new competitor, the Fox Business Network.
The sites, MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal Online, substituted the spaces purchased by CNBC with rotating ads including some for Fox Business Network. The latter were accompanied by links to foxbusiness.com, FBN's website. The ads for Fox started running soon after midnight.
CNBC claims to have sealed an $87,000 deal with Dow Jones over a month ago to secure those locations for ads supporting its network on the day of the FBN launch.
If that's the reality, then Dow-Fox-Murdoch is effectively saying: "OK, so sue us!"
Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff