CNBC is crushing its viewer numbers, as an internal email sent TV Newser shows (CNBC’s viewership closely tracks the stock market, and does especially well during periods of market anxiety, volatility, and euphoria). CNBC also has a new way of describing itself, presumably designed to set itself apart from the Fox Business News “main street” viewer: “The network for the wealthy and for those who aspire to be wealthy.”
Based on a recent viewer poll conducted by the network, the “wealthy” part is accurate: CNBC claims its average viewer is worth $2.7 million.
Psychological studies of happiness have shown that the value of money is relative: We humans quickly get used to however much money we have and merely having it stops making us happy. We humans do not, however, get used to the fact that other people–friends and neighbours, especially–have more money than we do, and this makes us distinctly unhappy. So we have at last discovered the secret logic behind Murdoch’s Fox Business Network’s positioning.
How much are YOU worth? 50 million? Then you’ll feel really good while watching CNBC. A few thousand? A few hundred thousand? A couple of million? Well, we have news for you: You’re not even doing as well as the AVERAGE viewer.
Feeling crappy about yourself? Well, here’s the antidote: Just watch FBN, where you’ll have the pleasure of feeling like you’re doing pretty darn well. By the way, there are a lot more of you than those $50 million folks, which is what Murdoch is really thinking about.
(Although we continue to be sceptical that 1) Murdoch is really aiming at Main Street, and 2) Main Street cares enough about business to watch a business news channel all day.)