CNBC Making Major Pitch For ‘CNBC Smart’ Block

By Alex Weprin 

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CNBC is making a major pitch to advertisers for its original primetime programming, which it re-branded last Fall as “CNBC Smart.”

CNBC has been pushing “CNBC Smart” heavily to media buyers in the last month or so, a buyer at one of the major agencies tells TVNewser. The pitch was that the programming block features shows and personalities that “Celebrate the American Dream.” Indeed, in an advertisement in Ad Age this week (see after the jump), “Celebrate the American Dream” is the tagline used to describe the block. The ad features an American flag motif made of words like “Inventors,” “Moguls,” Mavericks” and “Champions.” In the past few weeks the network ran a contest where it gave one media buyer a Smart Car, and held a party in midtown’s Aspen Social Club to drum up attention for CNBC Smart.

For years, CNBC’s primetime served as a place for reruns of shows from CNBC, NBC and elsewhere. In the last few years however, the network found substantial ratings success with its documentary features, which profiled businesses and businessmen, as well as industries that may be established–like television–or not, like marijuana growing.

It looks like the network is opting to take what it has built with the docs, and expand on it. It’s pitch: the infleuncers that watch us during the day will tune in at night to get a lighter look at the world of business. Or as the network said in the advertisement:

“Align yourself with the place where the who’s who comes to learn the what’s what.”

Bloomberg TV has taken a similar route, programming primetime with documentaries and profiles that are more entertainment than financial advice. Bloomberg is not rated by Nielsen, so we have no way to gauge how successful that effort has been. Fox Business network meanwhile has relied on the more traditional cable news format, featuring hosts in the studio talking business. With the exception of Lou Dobbs, that programming still has a long way to go in the ratings.