“Dear CNBC. . .”

Why do you guys keep hyping economic-data releases hours after they come out? Don’t you know that the markets discount this kind of information within seconds? Of course you know it, so stop pretending that everyone else doesn’t. Yes, I realize the other financial-news networks do the same thing that you do, but that’s because they’re clueless too.

I know that this goes against journalistic conventional wisdom, but if you want to stand out in a way that gets you more viewers, you might consider doing things that your competitors don’t do. More interviews with economists and business analysts would be fine, but your over reliance on journo talking heads promoting the story of the day and interpreting economic news they don’t understand doesn’t cut it. Neither does your heavy use of talking-head conventional interpretations of political news. What might make you worth watching would be a few simple innovations, like a listing of the day’s economic releases in tabular or graphical form comparing them to previous stats. (Hint: we don’t care what the numbers are so much as how they compare to expectations, how the markets react, and whether there are obvious trends.) And would it kill you to time stamp your headlines, so that anyone could see at a glance if that latest news item is two minutes or two hours old?


P.S. And while you’re at it, maybe you should drop the car reviews, golf reviews, coverage of the CNBC annual barbecue, etc., etc. I can get that kind of stuff a lot more efficiently by browsing the WSJ “Personal Journal” section when I’m in the john.

2 thoughts on ““Dear CNBC. . .””

  1. You didn’t mention that they always seem to be on commercial break at the time the numbers get released.

  2. Good point. I assumed that anyone who really needed timely data would pay for a dedicated service. That must be what CNBC thinks too, so they delay data until after commercials. But maybe on balance they would get more viewers, and ad revenue, if they emphasized timely data releases rather than trying to rope viewers into watching the ads. Maybe it’s better to be a must-watch for a few minutes a day than to be wallpaper.

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