Business news networks losing audience

The Wall Street Journal | Capital

Audience has slowed or dropped at TV networks that specialize in business news, Keach Hagey and William Launder report.

CNBC, “which commands three-quarters of the audience among business-news networks,” has seen its audience fall by more than half since 2008. Fox Business Network’s “average total daytime audience has declined from last year—to 58,000 from 71,000—and has fallen short of some media buyers’ expectations.” And Bloomberg TV “failed to turn a profit or draw more than 10% of the audience for TV business news despite being on the air for nearly two decades.”

One possible reason: “individual investors are fleeing the stock market as an increasing amount of trading is done by institutional investors and algorithms,” Hagey and Launder write. “By one measure, individual investors have pulled more than $1.17 trillion from the equity mutual funds tracked by research firm EPFR since the beginning of 2008.” And as Fox Business Network Executive Vice President Kevin Magee tells them, “I think there are all sorts of places you can get stock prices.”

CNN isn’t a business network, but it’s facing similar challenges, Mike Allen and Alex Weprin write in a piece for the just-relaunched Capital. Viewership is down, and the network is grappling with what its audience wants from it as they move toward digital platforms.

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker tells them he wants “more shows and less newscasts.”

The 48-year-old Zucker initially faced internal resistance to his experiments beyond the realm of hard news, but he now has an irrefutable retort: The No. 1 show on CNN is now “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” a travel-adventure show featuring the bad-boy celebrity chef. Zucker said that inside CNN, his formula has finally been accepted “because people have seen the results.”

Zucker has also “made a point of preaching caution over speed in the channel’s breaking-news reporting,” Allen and Weprin write.

Related: CNN trying out new John King show (Politico)

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