The team leading the Fox Business Network into battle with CNBC, the entrenched leader in cable business news, has made no secret that it intends to do in the realm of business news exactly what the Fox News Channel did in general news. As in: conquer.
And even before today’s premiere, there are already indications of just how fiercely the battle will be waged. In a pep talk to his troops Friday afternoon, Roger Ailes, the chairman of both networks, said, “I’m not interested in anything short of a revolution.”
That is what Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the channels’ parent, the News Corporation, expects from his latest media property — and, as Mr. Ailes put it in a telephone interview, “When Mr. Murdoch wants something, you try to deliver it.”
The question of how devoted the News Corporation properties are to doing Mr. Murdoch’s bidding hung over the protracted negotiations to acquire Dow Jones & Company this year. And already — before News Corporation officially takes possession of Dow Jones business — the same question has arisen in the increasingly ferocious jousting between Fox Business Network and CNBC.
In early September, CNBC negotiated and signed a contract with Dow Jones to buy advertising that was to run today on two Dow Jones Web sites, MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal site (wsj.com). Last Tuesday night, CNBC’s ad buyers received a call from a Dow Jones representative saying that those ads could not run today, the first day of Fox’s competing channel.
In the case of MarketWatch, CNBC had bought both an introduction ad for the site — meaning that every user on the site today would have seen an ad for CNBC before getting to the MarketWatch home page — as well as what is called a “road block” of ads — meaning CNBC would have been the exclusive advertiser on the site’s home page today.
The decision to drop the ads from the Wall Street Journal site was even more significant because CNBC has been advertising on the site’s market data page every day since Oct. 1 and had a deal for ads to run daily for two months. The CNBC ads on the market data page were also to be removed for today only.
Buyers from Spark Communications, the ad agency that made the purchase for CNBC, said that they had an official signed contract to run the ads. The Spark buyers, who asked not to be identified because of potential future business dealings with the company, said that the Web site representatives were apologetic for breaking the contract and promised to replace the ads and give CNBC a discount on future advertising, worth almost double the value of the original ads.
Robert Christie, a spokesman for Dow Jones, did not dispute any of the details of CNBC’s advertising purchases. He said in a statement, “As is standard practice, we retain the right to adjust the precise placement and timing of online advertisements, including to accommodate links from other Web sites.”
Mr. Christie declined to say what links the site would contain today, or what ads would be replacing the ones bought by CNBC. Asked if Fox Business Network would have its own Web site linked on the Dow Jones sites, or if the channel would fill the ad space that CNBC had bought, Mr. Christie said, “As a practice, we don’t comment on our advertising clients.”
[Read On: NY Times]