By David Lieberman
NEW YORK ? CNBC is ubiquitous on the TV screens of active stock traders,
but has been virtually invisible on their PCs, the screen that often
matters most to those angling to stay on top of the market.
The channel hopes to fix that hole in its news portfolio beginning today by
launching cnbc.com as a video-intensive business news and data site.
?It’s a one-click service,? says CNBC President Mark Hoffman. ?You can get
text, analysis, video, charts and tools all in one place. It’s not opening
three, four or five windows on your desktop. It will be fully integrated.?
CNBC’s parent, General Electric’s NBC Universal, is eager to establish
itself as a digital media power as it grapples with uncertain TV network
economics, layoffs and an exodus of top executives. Beefing up CNBC’s brand
also could help it fend off a potential tenacious competitor next year if
Fox News launches its much-anticipated business news channel.
CNBC was free to assume its own Internet identity and chart its own course
after the expiration last June of a five-year deal with Microsoft’s MSN
portal. The 2001 deal, which followed the collapse of the NBCi Internet
portal, kept CNBC content on the sidelines there.
Hoffman says he’s confident CNBC’s mostly ad-supported site can catch up
financial news sites led by Yahoo Finance and be profitable by the end of 2007.
?You cannot underestimate our ability to drive our (TV) viewers to the
Web,? he says. ?And Web users are quick to go where they want. That’s why
you see a YouTube pop up and six months later, after nobody’s heard of it,
it becomes a top website.?
He hopes to attract users by serving up lots of clips from the CNBC network
as well as material produced specifically for the site by the unified newsroom.
For example, a person researching a company or market can call up a page
with data, text and links to a day’s worth of videos that mention the
subject. CNBC also will produce a Web-only news feature, called Market in a
Minute, that will run live at the top and bottom of each trading hour and
be available on demand.
The site also will offer a $9.95-a-month service that gives subscribers
access to six months of video clips, as well as ad-free live feeds of
CNBC’s programming for the USA, Europe or Asia.
The site’s stock ticker ? which can be detached to stay on the screen while
you do other work ? will include personalized alerts when companies you
follow are mentioned on air, or an executive from one is scheduled to appear.
?They say that with Web 2.0, every bit of information is out there, and Web
3.0 is bringing it together when you need it and where you need it,? says
CNBC.com Vice President Meredith Stark. ?In some ways, we think we’re