CNBC Gets Some Distribution (AOL) It Dearly Needs

CNBC has started providing video to AOL’s (TWX) newly-redesigned Money & Finance site. As of today, Maria Bartiromo is getting front-page placement on AOL Money & Finance, and dozens of current videos are a click away on the site.

It’s the most significant in a raft of content deals CNBC has lined up since its former partner, Dow Jones (and, went to News Corp. (NWS) in December. AOL will also archive CNBC clips and make them searchable through AOL’s video search engine Truveo.

CNBC has deals to distribute clips on the New York Times, as well as Yahoo and MSN, but the latter two are promoting their own video on the front page and make CNBC clips extremely hard to find. With 15 million monthly unique visitors, AOL Money & Finance is CNBC’s most significant online distributor. There’s also a sales component that allows both CNBC and AOL to sell ads across CNBC on TV and both and AOL.

It’s a good thing because, in perpetual catch-up mode on the Web, doesn’t have a lot of inventory to sell and is in danger of being overrun on the Web by Fox Business and other business and finance sites producing video such as CNN Money.

What still isn’t doing: Turning its most valuable asset — live market coverage — into a video product. Canned Money Honey interviews are fine, but the real value of CNBC is that it tells you what’s happening in real-time, or close to it. CNBC’s obligations to the cable guys prevents it from doing that, but it ought to be figuring out how to get around those strictures, before someone else comes up with a Web product that eats its lunch.

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