When CNBC launched its new (lame) web site a few weeks back, we argued that the real problem was the refusal to offer a streamed feed (with ads and all)–which we believe professionals worldwide would keep open all day long. Our understanding was this is because the cable companies did not want to be bypassed. (The cable companies pay a ton of money to CNBC in the form of affiliate fees to carry the channel). A former staffer confirms that this is the logic CNBC invokes internally to explain to mystified employees why it won’t take advantage of such an enormous opportunity:
I can confirm for you that it is indeed the cable companies who are stopping CNBC, at least that’s the excuse internally, from streaming on the front page. Cable companies are not even happy about all the video clips that are already on the site, though one change that was quietly made was the videos now remain up on the free-side for a full 90 days instead of a few weeks.
To which we say: time to renegotiate those cable deals. Give up a little on the affiliate payments in order to stream daytime programming to viewers who would not be watching cable anyway (when they’re at work, where–except on trading floors and at hedge funds–they usually can’t create an excuse to stare at a blaring TV all day). Will the cable companies threaten and stomp their feet? Of course. But this is about the future, not the present. As cable bypass solutions like Joost, AppleTV, YouTube, and others proliferate, all your competitors will be doing it, too. And if you don’t do it, Murdoch will!
Note: Apologies for the overuse of the Erin Burnett shot. We can’t seem to find a decent CNBC logo file.