Not Gone But Forgotten?

Value Walk’s Paul Shea got a hold of an internal memo from NBCU President Steve Burke which highlights USA, Bravo, E!, Style, Syfy, Golf, mun2, MSNBC, and Telemundo. Shea seems to think that because CNBC was omitted that this must mean something…

CNBC has for years been regarded as one of the centerpieces of the NBCUniversal empire. That may be changing, recent reports, including one from the New York Daily News, have suggested that ratings for some of the cable channels top shows, including Squawk Box and Closing Bell, plummeted in 2012.

It clearly has not been a good year for CNBC, but for the company to be left out of a memo reflecting on 2012 things must have been simply awful. Ratings between December 2011 and December 2012 fell by 14%. In the highly sought after 25-54 demographic viewership fell by 15%. 2012 was the worst year for the company since 2005.

Is Shea on to something? I ran through NBCU’s cable properties. The following networks were also not mentioned…

Chiller
cloo
G4
NBC Sports Network (though sports was mentioned prominently in Burke’s memo)
Oxygen Media
Sprout
The Weather Channel (!!!)
Universal HD

Chiller, cloo, and G4 are niche channels which have never gained a large following. Universal HD is hard to find. I never heard of Sprout. But Oxygen and the Weather Channel are another matter (especially TWC which NBCU paid a premium to get a controlling interest in). So I don’t know. Should Burke have mentioned CNBC and its sister networks? Probably. Is it significant that he didn’t? Maybe. Maybe not.

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3 Responses to “Not Gone But Forgotten?”

  1. Considering G4 is turning into the Esquire Channel in the upcoming months, no mention of the network isn’t surprising.

    In terms of CNBC, who knows.

  2. CNBC, this is just really insane. You can’t blame a downed market like in 2005, and the markets are near record highs (of courses inflated like crazy, the Dow should be near 8,000 the S&P should be near 700 and the Nasdaq should be below 2,000.)

    That link described the plummeting ratings such as Squawk Box? Maybe it’s because its on 6 hours a day you know 3 at E.C. and the other 3 at the NYSE?

    Maybe this ratings freefall might have to do with its format?

    How come FBN and BTV have been reformatting their channels constantly in the last year, but CNBC has stuck to their yuppity format for nearly 3 years? How can that be?

    And why people aren’t watching them? Because the viewers aren’t as stupid as the execs think. We know they aren’t “First in Business Worldwide” – from being MIA during the Fiscal Cliff near New Years!

    And their documentaries are the only positive… that’s not surprising because that’s where the money is apparently spent the most!

    G4 was Comcast’s doing. They bought TechTV and then ether merged or renamed the channel well back a decade go. They did that themselves, and it was a Comcast property prior to the NBCU merger.

    TWC on the other hand can be argued by some that it is or is not a “news” channel. NBCU screwed this property from the Landmark group literately at the time of the deal closing! They took this network that aired live programming for a greater part of the day, to airing the Weather Center type programs to less than 10 hours. They took advantage of their “elevator music”/New Age music and put showtunes and alt rock bands that deserve to stay in mum and pop’s basement and screwed the primetime and put cheap reality shows produced from north of the US border just to cut costs.

    The cost cutting part on TWC was that 2 PE firms also own the network. As sick and perverted as it is, NBC didn’t have the $5 billion cash to finance the deal, and really those PE firms were only there to help finance it. Since cutting the top line is what a private equity firm is supposed to do, they happen to reflect GE/NBCU’s way of cut, cut and cut their top line. And THAT became a turnoff to the viewers. PE firms and the old management of NBCU didn’t care since I assume TWC was making a pretty “profit” on their bottom line.

    I give Comcast some credit for a turnaround, but back to CNBC’s issues are their own and I think a huge change is needed this year to hopefully bring back news that is in business news. I kinda doubt it, but I’d still hope for some radical change at that network

  3. The memo reads like one of those memos touting a cable news nets ratings you see every quarter. You list all your successes and leave out the losers. CNBC hasn’t been a big ratings getter of late and thus was left off the memo. No giant conspiracy to see here.

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