News Corp. Dumps CNBC Advertising: Why Is This News?

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Includes: GE, NWS, NYT
by: Ashkan Karbasfrooshan

Why is this headline news? :Dow Jones Drops CNBC Ads From Web Sites in Favor of Fox Links, from NY Times (NYSE:NYT) (competitor of WSJ, by the way).

As you probably know, Dow Jones was acquired by News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS), who this year launched FOX Business News.

Apparently, Dow Jones’ websites - MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal’s Web site, WSJ.com - did not run CNBC (NYSE:GE) ads and instead ran FOX Business ads on the day Dow Jones’ soon to be parent News Corp. launched CNBC’s rival FOX Business News.

Both sites filled up the exact spaces CNBC had purchased with rotating ads that included some for Fox Business Network. These were accompanied by links to foxbusiness.com, the Web site of the Fox Business Network. The ads for Fox started running soon after midnight.

Is this news or common sense? Let me get this straight: Rupert Murdoch

- should spend $5B to rescue a successful publication in an otherwise morbid industry (print media)
- but he should not have any say on editorial (even though every single parent does control editorial of a publication… but I digress)
- nor should he have any say on advertising matters, either?

You’ve all lost it, my dear.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: while I disagreed with Mr. Murdoch’s support for the war back in 2003, his business bravado should be a lesson for chieftains in both old and new media alike. While Reuters, Thomson, GE’s NBC all balked at the mere specter of bidding for Dow Jones, publisher of Barron’s and Wall Street Journal, Murdoch launched an unsolicited but shrewdly calculated $5B offer that separated the men from the boys. He got the asset, fair and square, no?

He will probably change the look and feel - and organs - of the venerable publication, but as far as I am concerned, if NBC is upset about the denouement in l’affaire CNBC/FOX Business News they really only have themselves to blame.

What makes this very interesting is that supposedly, News Corp. and NBC (GE) are both adversaries (as evidenced here) and partners in Hulu, the supposed YouTube killer that is facing competition from both NBC (Didja) and News Corp. (MySpace TV)… don’t ask, I’m trying to figure that one out myself, too.

As someone who’s worn the editorial and advertising hats, I can tell you that y’all need a dose of reality and common sense in this matter. Is News Corp. to be punished and obliged to promote their competitor? That’s ludicrous. They actually turned away $87K in one day… it’s their loss and choice as publisher, no?

Much the same way that Murdoch scooped up MySpace and laughed all the way to the bank while everyone else snickered, he’s done the same thing with WSJ and Barron’s. If he wants to make WSJ publish Rush Limbaugh verbatim, so be it… it’s his right and in turn, users can vote with their browsers…

The same way that consumers should vote with their wallets, so should corporations… in this case, only one did, and that is Murdoch’s News Corp., so why are we making a big deal about ads?

If users and consumers don’t like it, that’s one thing, but I for one don’t think for a second that anyone apart from NBC and the NYT would give a damn about what ads are running next to the content…

But, maybe they will care that foxbusiness.com loads up nothing (and something tells me NYT purposely linked to foxbusiness.com and not http://www.foxbusiness.com) but I’m a conspiracy theorist.