CNBC Needs to Call a Truce with Other Media Outlets


Just as the sports media has ESPN aka The WorldWide Leader In Sports, many believe that CNBC to fill this role for the financial sector. Both always try to break the story first, be “the source” and offer quality news reporting but CNBC may be taking things a step further with its “booking wars.”

In a recent NPR story by David Folkenflik, he shared a CNBC producer’s email to a guest, which cited the following warning: “CNBC POLICY REMINDER: Per CNBC policy, we cannot use guests who have a same-day appearance on Fox Business or Bloomberg…By accepting a booking with CNBC, you acknowledge and accept the terms of this policy.”

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These guests may encompass commentators, “experts” and CEOs.

Folkenflik noted that he spoke with numerous CNBC producers about this policy; they said it shows the increasing competition as new players enter the financial news TV arena. Bloomberg Television has become a bigger player as it goes after major interviews and News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS) (NASDAQ:NWSA)’s five-year-old old Fox Business Network is out trying to get the story and the interview.

CNBC has not officially commented on the policy but according to Folkenflik some executives did say Bloomberg reporters can be fast and loose to grab exclusives.

While this policy may not be new, it doesn’t necessary reflect an evolving financial media. Thanks to digital media, it seems to matter less if you’re “first” to report the story, than just get the story out with sources.

Andrew Morse, president of Bloomberg Television’s U.S. operations said to NPR, “Every network should be trying to hustle to get content that’s distinctive to their channel. That’s our job. We’re in the news business.”

Morse did note that Bloomberg doesn’t attempt to mandate who can appear at other outlets. He added, “We want to talk to the newsmaker. If there’s news we also understand, though, that newsmakers need to get their information out. People aren’t in the world of just consuming one source of news and information now.”

Kevin Magee, the executive vice president of Fox Business Network, said, “Business leaders are not going to be blackmailed, much less be dictated to by some booker in Englewood Cliffs.”

A reporter’s source is either likely to speak to a few different media outlets and at times, the same quotes are repeated thanks to digital media (see above quotes).

For media consumers, they can now look to numerous sources for their news, which is a good thing. Sure some outlets have better quality that others and for CNBC, it is at the top of the heap. It’s not the only one on the mountain but to act like a gatekeeper in today’s fast media with its numerous options is unfair and unwise.

You have to think that at the end of the day, actions will speak louder than words. Consumers will go to sources they trust, just as corporate executives and experts will speak to the outlets they want, portraying their story and opinions through their message.

ESPN has seen the rise of other sports outlets and now attributes breaking stories to its competitors, it’s time for CNBC to adapt as well.

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