CNBC Plots a Post-Wall Street Journal ‘Wall Street Journal Report’

By Alex Weprin 

Inside Cable News has slides from a “News VIPs” survey, looking at the CNBC (and NBC) program “The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo.”

News VIPs conducts surveys primarily related to NBCUniversal properties. NBCU is known to be their client.

As ICN notes, much of the survey was fairly typical, asking about the types of segments and guests viewers may be interested in, but there was also something else: The Wall Street Journal name. If you aren’t caught up: News Corp. purchased Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal few years ago, and at the time said it hoped to feature WSJ branding on Fox Business Network. However, WSJ already had a 10-year deal with CNBC, a deal now set to expire.

It’s 2012…the year that the Wall Street Journal/CNBC deal is supposed to expire. Conventional wisdom has been that the WSJ’s owner News Corp. is going to put the WSJ brand and its staff on FBN. I hadn’t considered the possibility that this likely WSJ scrubbing by CNBC would extend to syndication but this question surely must be gauging viewer opinion on what would/might happen if CNBC is forced to drop the WSJ name from this show.

On CNBC, the “WSJ Report” garners only around 70,000 viewers for its weekly editions, well below most of the net’s regular daily programming (Update: 70,000 was just last week, it actually averages around 45,000 viewers in 2012). The show obviously draws substantially more viewers during broadcast runs on NBC affiliates. The show has clearance in most of the top markets, but is not carried in many smaller markets.

Considering that the show will almost certainly be losing the Wall Street Journal branding sometime this year, a retooling tied to that may not be such a bad idea. The question is what to do to the show to tweak it. The News VIPs survey is hoping to try and answer part of that question.