Viewers of Fox Business Network will notice something different about Maria Bartiromo’s program on Monday morning. The anchor will be the same, but the screen around her won’t.
The cable network has reworked its graphics, which will appear tomorrow for the first time, around its programs – all part of an effort to provide viewers who can already get stock prices on their mobile devices with a more concise presentation of market data, analysis and headlines. Fox Business is also launching a revamped website and mobile app, while kicking off an ad campaign and a new network slogan, “Invested In You.”
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The goal is to remind viewers – and potential advertisers – that Fox Business Network tackles more than just the stock market, says Bartiromo in an interview. “Most people don’t day trade. Most people are not looking at the ticker tape,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s a much broader set of issues.” A new promo features anchors Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman and Charles Payne talking about how information on Fox Business can help viewers nab their own American Dream.
“It’s not just markets and business. It’s politics. It’s policy,” says Bartiromo. “You need to be acceptable, and not just to Joe Millionaire.”
The new slogan, revamped graphics and digital-venue tweaks are just the latest changes made at Fox Business Network under the auspices of Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott. In September, the network surprised outsiders by replacing president Brian Jones, an executive who helped launch the outlet. Lauren Petterson, his successor, was a longtime supervisor of Fox News Channel’s flagship morning program, “Fox & Friends,” and has been viewed by people familiar with the network as an energetic producer with drive. Scott told investors during a May meeting that she intended to expand the Fox Media holdings beyond their core cable audiences.
Fox News Media is a media kingpin, and Wall Street analysts believe it could be worth up to 80% of the value of its parent, Fox Corporation, which recently slimmed down after selling the bulk of its assets to Walt Disney Company. But Fox Business Network has room to grow.
The cable outlet is expected to generate $60.3 million in advertising revenue in 2019, according to Kagan, a market-research firm that is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, and $251.7 million in revenue from distribution via cable and satellite. But its older rival CNBC, which launched in 1989, is expected to secure $241 million in advertising this year, along with $542.2 million in affiliate fees – substantially more than its competitor.
New emphasis on Fox Business Network could help in other ways. Fox Business and Fox News Channel are typically sold in tandem to advertisers, according to two media buyers, and some clients have in recent months expressed reservations about appearing in some parts of the Fox News primetime lineup. Any effort to draw viewers to FBN might could help lure advertiser interest there as well, these buyers said.
Since its debut in 2007, Fox Business has boasted of its experienced hosts and a focus on Main Street as well as Wall Street. The belief was that FBN could make inroads among business-news aficionados by working to interest people who wanted to know more about money but weren’t Wall Street traders and brokers. The network raised eyebrows in 2013 when it snared Bartiromo, a popular CNBC anchor who made a name for herself vying for headlines on a testosterone-soaked NYSE trading floor. Bartiromo now hosts a weekday morning program, as well as a Friday evening business wrap for FBN as well as “Sunday Morning Futures” on Fox News, and was recently signed to a new contract.
Fox Business gained new momentum in 2015, when it hosted a Republican primary debate, an event that featured then-candidate Donald Trump and captured big audience for what is typically viewed as a niche cable network. Since that time, Fox Business has widened its aperture during certain parts of the day, focusing on national and international issues during evening programs led by Lou Dobbs and Trish Regan (who launched a new show as part of a revamped primetime schedule last autumn.)
“They have the ability to get a little more loosey-goosey,” says Neil Cavuto, one of the longest-serving business-news anchors and a senior vice president, speaking of FBN’s evening hosts. Tax issues, federal budgets and other issues, he adds, “transcend dayparts, but at night they get a little more play.”
As part of the refresh, Fox Business is expected to announce Monday that it will launch a new series, “Barron’s Roundtable,” a program led by Jack Otter, an editor-at-large at Barron’s, the weekly magazine for investors that is part of Dow Jones & Co., owned by corporate sibling News Corp. Otter will present interviews with investors and industry leaders and look at expectations for the week ahead on Wall Street. The program will air at 10 p.m. eastern on Fridays, and will follow “Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street” and “WSJ at Large with Gerry Baker.” Fox Business has secured Invesco as a presenting sponsor of the series.
“This is the result of years of hearing back from viewers. There are certainly things they like, things they don’t like,” says Cavuto. “No company, no product is beyond evolving into something better, and we didn’t want to take the static approach, where we just rest.”