Reuters columnist Peter Lauria has an internal memo from Fox News executive VP Kevin Magee to staff at Fox Business Network. The memo, with the header “Fox News and Fox Business,” tells staff to stop trying to be Fox News lite, and refocus on covering business stories.
“I’ve been asked to remind you all again that they are separate channels and the more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves…
“If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time. Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.”
Lauria went on to speak with Magee, who said the decision to send the memo came after a conversation with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. While FBN is finally cash-flow even and rated by Nielsen, it is still far behind CNBC in essentially every ratings and revenue category.
FBN has been criticized since its launch for often focusing on non-business stories in both daytime and primetime. It’s primetime series in particular have taken to focusing on politics, effectively making them competitors to the big sister network. As Lauria notes, FBN needs to gain carriage if it wants to compete in the long-term, as its 58 million home distribution pales in comparison to CNBC’s 90 million.
In an interview a few weeks ago, Ailes said that Fox News Channel was engaging in a course correction of its own, tampering down on inflammatory rhetoric.