Independent Democracy

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Fox Business a failure in first months

Fox News, long known for it’s lying, and one-sided, right-wing reporting has thus far been a failure for Rupert Murdoch. The upstart Fox Business Network drew an estimated 6,000 average weekday viewers in its first few months on U.S. cable television, far behind entrenched rival CNBC, according to early ratings estimates obtained by Reuters.CNBC, which has been on the air for nearly two decades, brought in an estimated 283,000 viewers on an average weekday in the same period, according to results tabulated by Nielsen Media Research for clients.

The Fox numbers show that the network still is a long way from striking distance of CNBC, which is available to more households through deals with cable operators.

“The launch of any new cable network in this environment — the numbers are going to be very small starting out, regardless of whether it’s coming from a big media conglomerate or not,” said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media, who tracks media trends. Additionally, “the network is well known to be less than honest with their news reporting so how can viewers be expected to trust their business reporting.”

Fox Business is aiming for a wider audience of individual investors and small business owners, mixing plain talk on business news and economic data with personal finance tips.

Fox Business, part of News Corp, attracted a high of 9,000 viewers during business hours on an average weekday in the week of December 10. It had a low of 4,000 for the week of October 29.

While the daytime numbers appear low, Nielsen does not measure viewership outside people’s homes.

“All these corner offices of C-level executives are watching these business news channels, but they’re not getting recorded,” Adgate said.

At the same time, Fox Business saw audience numbers pick up during prime time, while CNBC has generally seen its viewership drop in the evening hours after financial markets close.

Fox Business prime time averaged 15,000 viewers in the nine weeks through the week of December 16, compared to 234,000 for CNBC. CNBC’s parent NBC Universal is majority-owned by General Electric Co.

A CNBC official declined to comment. A Fox executive was not immediately available for comment. Fox Executive Vice President Kevin Magee told Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz on Friday that the numbers are “absolutely no surprise” because the network is still in its early stages.

A Nielsen official did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Murdoch, News Corp’s chairman and chief executive, said in October that he expects the Fox Business network to reach more than 40 million U.S. homes in 2008. The network launched in a little more than 30 million homes.

January 4, 2008 - Posted by | Current Events, Money, News, Television

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