CNBC Insider: Web Strategy Chaos, Fear of Fox


A former CNBC staffer adds insight below to two topics we’re following: 1) the network’s lame web site (the primary reason we think CNBC should buy and 2) the threat from Fox Business News.  We can confirm firsthand that the original site was a disaster.  From the comments below, it appears the current one is, too.  This note strengthens our conviction that CNBC should buy–and turn all of its web ops over to TSCM management.  The former staffer considers this unlikely, however.

I don’t think GE would buy is seen as a startup within CNBC.  Internally they’re peeved at spending what they already have on the site and are holding the purse strings tight since .com has missed all revenue projections.  They want instant monetization of their online businesses and are not getting it. GE also bought that iVillage thing for huge money and that’s seen as a flop… i think the EVP of that area [Beth Comstock] is going back to corporate in Fairfield, CT.

They are so lost with respect to what to do with and in a dither over the Fox arrival, not to mention having to deal with high maintenance people like Maria, Erin, Cramer, etc.  The site story line-up is changed based on what is being read.  So much for using news judgment.  [We think this is fairly common and defensible, actually]…

Right now is regurgitating AP and Reuters copy because they are grossly understaffed. (Several people have recently left and not been replaced).  Another problem is a multi step process for editors to get stories up on the site. The VP of digital ops is on the other side of the building.

If CNBC did buy, ‘s management would need to continue to run things, or it would fall apart right away.  And for GE to pay $11/shr… sure it’s chump change in the grand scheme, but it would be viewed as expensive. There is almost a hiring freeze in dot-com there as CNBC prepares for Fox and a potential rate card shock and NBC tries to deal with the struggling iVillage operation.