CNBC Loses ‘First In Business’ Spot To Prime Competitor FBN

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Fox Business Network had better ratings than CNBC among the advertising demo of people aged 25–54 for every hour between 2pm and 6pm on Wednesday October 9, according to Nielsen Media Research. Lou Dobbs also bested his rival, CNBC host Larry Kudlow, in both total viewers and the advertising demo. This news is another blow against the network, which just had its worst quarter in twenty years.

Fox Business FBN

FBN afternoon shows sweep CNBC

Maria Bartiromo and Bill Griffith’s Closing Bell was the worst performer, with 58 percent fewer viewers in the demo than FBN’s After the Bell from 4pm to 5pm, and 38 percent fewer than Countdown to Closing Bell from 3pm to 4pm. Fast Money had half as many viewers in the demo as Money with Melissa Francis, and Street Signs had 38 percent fewer viewers than FBN’s Markets Now. FBN has been outperforming CNBC for a while now, but this is the first time they managed to completely sweep the afternoon shows in the demo.

CNBC and FBN ratings

CNBC, the channel that calls itself “First in Business Worldwide,” now risks falling behind FBN in the afternoon, and will need to do something drastic if it is going to recover its dwindling audience. Their problems have extended back at least a couple of quarters, and there were rumors over the summer that Kudlow might be replaced with someone new after his audience plummeted 60 percent, but he’s still around and still losing viewers.

If this all seems familiar it’s because CNBC had its worst quarter in twenty years over the summer, and then promptly beat that by doing even worse for Q3. These latest Nielsen numbers show that the downward spiral is continuing full force, and the fact that CNBC hasn’t mentioned any big changes to its line-up isn’t very promising.

Risks for CNBC

If it waits too long to rebrand itself, CNBC could find itself in the awkward situation of trying to persuade young talent to come aboard a sinking ship. Of course there’s also the danger that dropping their existing hosts will drive away what audience they still have if they aren’t able to simultaneously give people a compelling reason to change the channel back.

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