CNBC viewers may have been confused yesterday as they tuned into the network only to see an ad poking fun at its programming. The ad, taken out by CNBC’s major competitor, Fox Business Network, highlighted a CNBC policy that barred contributors from appearing on CNBC and one of its competitors on the same day.


The above print ad appeared in the Wall Street JournalF, and attacked CNBC along the same lines as the television slots. The rivalry between the two channels is heating up, and CNBC is not helping matters by airing attacks on itself.

The appearance of an advertisement lambasting a network policy would, under normal circumstances, be considered an insult. Most networks would have attempted to have it removed from the air. CNBC, however, allowed the advertisement to air on their network. Either the network grinned and bore it, or, more worryingly, nobody important enough noticed.

Clearly Fox Business Network bought advertising time with the cable provider, meaning CNBC probably wouldn’t have known the advertisement was coming. However, the ads could have been removed by the cable provider, like they were last year when FBN ran ads on CNBC after it aired planned reruns during the after the United States’ credit rating was downgraded.

CNBC seems to be running scared right now. Some of the firm’s top billed talent have not been performing too well in the ratings, and the company was ignored by its parent in a memo looking back on 2012. The channel has begun resorting to randomly themed reality television for ratings, a move eaten up by Fox Business marketeers.

FBN began airing ads aimed directly at that decision. The ads contrast its schedule, which remains business oriented throughout the evening, to that of CNBC. CNBC’s new line of reality shows, an attempt to boost ratings in off peak hours, is being exploited as a sign of weakness.

Fox Business knows where it hurts. It’s almost certain that CNBC’s journalists, particularly those misplaced, are happy with the scheduling decisions either.

Business networks, because of the market they attract, tend to have quite high value advertising slots. With lower ratings the networks are able to pull in higher revenues than other channels, and fox Business is doing its best to make the space competitive, and it’s been gaining in some key demographics.