CNBC taps into UK economic worries

Recession is the word on everyone's lips, and nowhere more so than at CNBC, the US-based business network that recently launched a finance show just for the UK.

CNBC: Strictly Money show
CNBC: Strictly Money show

Strictly Money, which launched in January, is an hour-long weekday programme presented by Ross Westgate and Clare Garnett. It welcomed Chancellor Alistair Darling, Dragons' Den's James Caan and CEO of Shell Jeroen van der Veer in its first month on air.

CNBC reaches 340 million households globally, including 110 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With access to 12 million homes in the UK, it was time for CNBC to target this audience, says EMEA news editor Patrick Allen.

'CNBC has focused on the UK for some time, but could not always cover the stories it wanted, as they might not be relevant to a French or Swedish audience, for example. Strictly Money looks at what is moving in the market every day, but also drills down into the core of the story,' he says.

Targeting wider audience

Heightened interest in financial woes has also broadened CNBC's range of viewers. The days of the '46-year-old male CEO earning more than £100,000 a year' are over, says Allen. Inferno Communications' account executive Elijah Lawal, who worked with Strictly Money in January, says: 'The new show's target audience is anyone from CEOs and big businesses to the small business owner, as well as anyone who has an interest in the UK economy or looking after their financial future.'

This makes CNBC an increasingly appealing target for PROs. Jargon MD Simon Corbitt worked with the network on a story about Canadian software company FINCAD. He chose CNBC for its massive reach: 'Business issues are now more widely understood by the public.'

Michelle McGlocklin, Weber Shandwick Technology MD, offers this advice for first-time pitches to the network: 'Provide strong messaging, proof points, reliability and always have a back-up plan.'

Spokespeople welcome

Strictly Money and other CNBC programmes such as Squawkbox and Power Lunch Europe are also becoming desirable targets for spokespeople. 'Let the personality of your spokesperson shine through - business channels are looking for insightful people,' suggests Ruder Finn's senior account manager Hannah Smith.

This goes for the network as a whole. Mixing up the interviewees offers variety. 'The channel could look at smaller, innovative companies with interesting things to say, rather than just talking to FTSE 100 companies,' adds Smith. Richard Griffiths, Ketchum's head of strategic media, says CNBC contradicts the 'dry' image that many business channels have: 'It has "colour". It shows the CEO interacting with colleagues, giving the company a personality.'

Sky (505)
Virgin (613)
Tiscali (510)

CNBC viewers
340 million homes globally
12 million in UK & Ireland
(source: CNBC)

News editor Patrick Allen


A Minute with ... Patrick Allen, news editor EMEA, CNBC

News editor: Patrick Allen

What can we expect to see on Strictly Money?

We do not bang on about doom and gloom. We want to show how to get out of this financial crisis. The new 'Countdown to 2012' segment is interesting as it examines east London's Olympic Games regeneration in a recession.

What differentiates CNBC from competitors?

CNBC is more engaging than other networks. It brings personality to products. It has the best access to stories and its on-air talent is first class.

What are you looking for from PR agencies?

We are open to any story idea but the main focus of 2009 is tracking how the crisis pans out. Show us how your agency is dealing with the recession and pitch opportunities on a way out.

What does the future hold for CNBC?

The greater interest in business means the website - - is going from strength to strength. Traffic was up 243 per cent last year. It regularly gets one million hits for a single story and offers more than 100 new video stories a day.

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