/ 18 October 2007

Murdoch says Fox Business Network ‘terrific’

News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch said his recently-launched Fox Business Network cable channel is off to a good start and joked that its rival, top United States business news cable network CNBC, was ”half-dead.”

About two years in the making, Fox Business launched in 30-million homes on Monday featuring a programme lineup that seeks to make business news palatable to the average viewer.

”It’s two and a half to three days old and looks just terrific,” News Corp chairperson and chief executive Murdoch said at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

”Everybody, even in the industry, [recognises] how different it is to CNBC, which is half-dead,” he said.

Asked if he really viewed CNBC, controlled by General Electric, in such terms, he said: ”No it makes like 300-million bucks … it’s not half-dead.”

Fox Business executives say they are aiming for a wider audience than that of CNBC, which is available in more than three times as many homes.

In its first three days, Fox Business commentators were seen yelling at each other at moments on shows that were interspersed with morning traffic reports and punchy captions.

”In terms of liveliness and change … I think that we’ve got a genius in Roger who is running it,” Murdoch said of Fox News chairperson Roger Ailes, a former CNBC chief, who oversees Fox Business. ”We’ve got a whole lot of new programme ideas, some we’re implementing now. There’s more to come.”

As for whether he would consider scrapping Fox Business if the network fails to resonate with viewers, Murdoch said, ”I stick with things at least for a few years” – Reuters