FBN: Week One

By Chris Ariens 

With the first week out of the way, it’s time to assess the biz news battle.

• Programming — Decidedly different. FBN is setting itself apart from CNBC by offering less minute-by-minute market news, and more fun fare. For example: on day one, Alexis Glick‘s interview with the Naked Cowboy. By day five, with the Dow down 200 points, FBN was airing a segment on dating. Also, the anchors are not shy about telling viewers they don’t speak in “Wall St. jargon.”

• Anchors — When your VP is also an anchor and head cheerleader (“There’s no reason business news can’t be fun — Alexis Glick) you know the talent is going to have a good time. And they do. But the mid-week hire of CNBC veteran Liz Claman also gives the channel some much-needed gravitas. Interviewing Warren Buffet on your first day, then seeing it quoted by your previous employer: priceless.

• Ratings — As I wrote earlier this week, it will be several months before FBN is allowed to make its ratings data public. But Nielsen numbers show that in FBN’s first week, CNBC lost some ground in total viewers: the network was down 15% in primetime and 13% during business day (Monday-Thursday). Whether that is attributable to the FBN launch is not known. More: in A25-54 CNBC was up 11% last week (Mon-Thurs) in business day (5a-7pET) compared to its first two weeks of Q4.

• Markets — In FBN’s first week on the air, the Dow Jones Industrial average was down each day; and down 571 points for the week. Generally, when the markets take a nosedive, business news viewer ship goes up. Whether viewers choose FBN over CNBC or Bloomberg, is a question yet to be answered.