We’ve been curious to know how the Fox News formula applied to business news would work out. Now we have an answer: not well.
Nine-month-old Fox Business Network is averaging 8,000 viewers during the day and 20,000 in primetime over the first three weeks of July, according to Nielsen numbers relayed by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz.
The good news is that’s a 26% leap over the 6,300 daily viewers the network was getting last fall. The bad news is that it’s still a tiny fraction of CNBC’s 284,000. The prime time jump is little bigger — it’s a 33% increase over last fall’s average of 15,000 — but not that meaningful. That’s because like CNBC, Fox Biz is focused on daytime programing, when its target audience is supposedly watching for markets news. CNBC averages 191,000 viewers in primetime.
What can Fox Biz do to improve? Get its channel into more homes: So far, even with Rupert Murdoch’s leverage, the channel is in just 40 million homes, while CNBC in 96 million. That’s 140% more reach . But something else is going to have to change, too: Even if you bumped up Fox’s ratings 140% it still wouldn’t be playing in CNBC’s league.
Fox is looking at the bright side. “It’s a slow-growing business, but it’s a growing business,” says network EVP Kevin Magee. He has a little reason for optimism: after its first nine months on the air in 1997, Fox News was averaging just 14,000 viewers during the day and 25,000 viewers in primetime.
But so far, Fox Business Network is giving CNBC nothing to worry about.
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