CNBC's Ouster From Dow Jones Site: It's Just Business

Does ABC advertise "Grey's Anatomy" on CBS' airwaves? You know the answer.

So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Dow Jones threw its longtime advertiser, CNBC, off the better-viewed part of its Web sites -- and the Wall Street Journal's site, That said, Dow Jones had CNBC as a long-time paying client. Who treats their customers that way?

Truth is, Dow Jones and CNBC were always competitors to some degree. Why are conditions changing now? You know the answer to that question as well:  It's a new ball game since Dow Jones was bought by News Corp., which just launched the Fox Business cable news channel.

The head-to-head competition of CNBC and Fox Business is TV network versus TV network -- not TV versus a Web site or newspaper. Now, with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in charge of Dow Jones, the ballgame becomes hardball.

CNBC had a contract to run multiple ads -- including a roadblock on the very first day of operation of Fox Business, trying to do a bit of upstaging .  CNBC is protesting having its ads pulled, but not as much as it probably could.



One doubts that CNBC will sue Dow Jones for any agreement breach. CNBC executives probably thought there was a chance their ads wouldn't run: "Well, we really don't know if this is going to work -- but we'll give it a try."

For its own part, Fox Business bought local cable time on CNBC through local cable operators. There is nothing CNBC can do about that. To be fair, cable networks do this to each other all the time -- buying local cable time on each other's channels through local cable systems.

However, broadcast networks don't buy competing local TV stations to advertise their shows. That's because a specific ABC, NBC, CBS, or Fox affiliate would be immediately hurt and lose viewers. Conversely, a local cable operator sells scores of cable networks at the same time. There is no immediate impact on their bottom line.

CNBC executives aren't upset - probably as calm as the businesslike mind of Hyman Roth reasoning in "Godfather II":  "I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen. I didn't ask who gave the order because it had nothing to do with business."

CNBC doesn't need to know who gave the orders. It's just TV business as usual.

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