Is Central Planning About To Cost The Jobs Of Your Favorite CNBC Anchors?

Tyler Durden's picture

Something funny happened when last August CNBC hired access journalist extraordinaire Andrew Sorkin to spiff up its 6-9 am block also known as Squawk Box: nothing. At least, nothing from a secular viewership basis, because while the block saw a brief pick up in viewership driven by the concurrent (first of many) US debt ceiling crisis and rating downgrade, it has been a downhill slide ever since. In fact, as the chart below shows, the Nielsen rating for the show's core 25-54 demo just slid to multi-year lows. And as NY Daily News, the seemingly ceaseless slide has forced CNBC to start panicking: "CNBC insiders tell us executives at the cable business channel are “freaking out” because viewership levels are down essentially across-the-board, particularly with its marquee shows, “Squawk Box” and “Closing Bell." “Their biggest attractions have become their biggest losers,” says one TV industry insider familiar with the cable channel’s numbers. According to Nielsen ratings obtained by Gatecrasher, from April 2011 to April 2012, “Squawk Box” is down 16 percent in total viewers and 29 percent in the important 25-54 demographic bracket that advertisers buy." Yet is it really fair to blame the slide of the morning block's show on just one man?

As a reminder, Sorkin was never the type of personality that CNBC needed: his background was one always best suited to a print medium, where he would be (ab)used by bigger financial interests (at a far slower paced news cycle) who would leak information to him when the time was right. No understanding of the big, or little, picture was required (and none was ever imputed): merely continued "access" (think Wall Street and Blue Horseshoe) which could be gained in exchange for promises of amicable 'profiles' in the occasional infinitely biased non-fiction book. As such, anyone who truly penned their hopes of a rating reincarnation on an access journalist likely needs to be fired. He was not the flamboyant, blonde, mini skirt-clad, eye candy that the bulk of traders who watch the morning block, most of them on mute, are looking for.

Yet the collapse in CNBC ratings goes to a deeper issue.

Because while the cyclical shifts in CNBC viewership are macro event driven, the unmistakable secular decline indicates that just like loss of faith in capital markets by retail investors (last week the ICI reported the biggest weekly outflow from US equity markets in 2012), manifesting itself in a crippling collapse in trading volumes, which in turn is forcing banks to fire traders and salespeople left and right, secondary derivatives of this phenomenon are impacting the financial media, just like CNBC.

But the biggest irony is that it is precisely the same central planning cheerleading that one hears on CNBC day in and day out (look no further than Bob Pisani and Steve Liesman) which is the silver bullet that has been fired right at the head of the Comcast/GE-owned financial station. Because as Artemis Capital showed previously, equity vol collapses whenever the Fed is busy intervening and manipulating the capital markets. This in turn kills the speculative mania that drives an interest toward stocks, and the only entities that can trade in this type of vol vacuum are the appropriately named vacuum tubes: as Zero Hedge first showed three weeks ago, the percentage of electronic trading in markets is now nearly 90%. But this, and everything else, is merely a symptom of one underlying cause: endless central planning intervention by central bankers who now have sole control over the stock market. Who in their right mind would want to participate? And yet this new normal "vol to zero" regime is precisely what CNBC is cheering day in and day out.

One wonders: does CNBC grasp that it is cheering for its own demise? We doubt they are that stupid: they must. So then the real question is: whereas Zero Hedge at least is openly against central planning and is demanding a return to normalcy, yet we realize that this will not happen until after a systemic crash so vast that the status quo is wiped out and a fresh start is mandated, is CNBC not the ultimate agent provocateur: on one hand egging on the failed status quo regime (we all know who their main sponsors and advertisers are), and on the other praying and hoping quietly each and every day for a market collapse which will at least return some of their viewers?

Because just like markets are worthless without participants, so CNBC without viewers is a whole lot of ads with nobody caring about opening a Lind Waldock account (sorry, too soon?). And a victory for the bulls is no victory if no bulls are watching.

Yet just like with dying capital markets whose symptom is being misdiagnosed by regulators day after day, so CNBC will likely blame the collapse of its Squawk Box ratings on the wrong guy, until finally Sorkin is fired. But sadly, for all the wrong reasons.

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infiniti's picture

That insanely bad euroaccent voice they use to announce the close of european markets makes be want to kill kittens


If they would start reporting the truth, they might get their ratings up.  

Comay Mierda's picture

pretty soon their ratings will go down to 2.  Krugman and MDB

ratso's picture

Fire Joe Kernen now.  He is just another self-centered, mean spirited Republican apologist who doesn't have a single objective thought in his entire head.

AldousHuxley's picture

CNBC is owned by GE

GE HQ building is called Rockefeller Plaza


Rockefeller behind the curtain says he doesn't like your face,

you are  done as an anchor .

Manthong's picture

The crime reality show angle gets old after a while and I don’t need to see the same old fraud repackaged day after day.

I stopped watching COPS a long time ago, too.

knukles's picture

Some of my neo-con golf buddies (note golf buddies, period, stop, EOC...) confuse Information (a la ZH) with Affirmation (a la CNBS, WSJ, etc.) while some of my crazier than loonie bird uber-liberal (California and they get no fucking crazier) golf buds likewise confuse MSNBC and the NYT with Information.

All about insecurities needing reinforcement.
They all desperately need a serious 12 step program to figure out who they really are in the world as it truly exists, but are afraid to wake the fuck up.
As has been said, Ignorance is Bliss 

LetThemEatRand's picture

Isn't it ironic.  

Don't you think.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Due to rising healthcare costs, 12 step programs will be shortened to 6 steps.  If a person drinks heavily enough, they can see double.  Healthcare in a bottle.

WonderDawg's picture

That's good funny stuff right there.

AlaricBalth's picture

What is needed by CNBC is some good, old fashioned (early 90's) style, high profile bankster perp walks ala Charles Keating and Ivan Boesky. The ratings would go through the roof.

I can envision it now. Jamie and Lloyd in cuffs, shackles wrapped around their Spencer Hart suits, being led upstairs to the federal courthouse for the arraignment hearing.

For ironic affect, CNBC can have "Foreclosure of a Dream" by Megadeath playing in the background while they slo-mo the perp walk.

Ahh...One can dream!

ElvisDog's picture

No, no, no, what CNBC needs is a good, old-fashioned sex tape with Becky Quick or one of the other money-honeys to drive up viewership.

Bananamerican's picture

“Squawk Box” and “Closing Bell." “Their biggest attractions have become their biggest losers,”.

Such is the life of a corpoRAT propagandist....(sigh) ephemeral.

Someone downriver said "if CNBC start to analyse what is really going on (i.e. start calling bullshit) , they might have a chance at turning it around."

I think the execs can NOT, and would NEVER bother to sully their propaganda with the Truth.... They are freaking out because sheep are walking out of the paddock....

The Real Fake Economy's picture

Sorkin is so badly hoping to follow in the steps of Steven Rattner, it makes me sick.


jerry_theking_lawler's picture

If they throw Sorkin on the street (publicly) and replace with Rick Santelli.....and let him speak his mind......then it would level off.  If Ron Paul does win the nomination.....then offer him a spot!!

Calmyourself's picture

Deep...  Like a dixie cup, go unionize your shop.. 

WonderDawg's picture

One of the unexpected consequences of getting sober: I woke the fuck up and saw reality, and most days I feel like I know my place in it.

Hulk's picture

Not trying to cause trouble here, but old knukles there (who I believe is several drinks in now) does not

believe you golfed a 74 !!!

WonderDawg's picture

LMAO You funny, Hulk. But that 74 was serious, best game of the year for me. Looking to beat it tomorrow, then get home and find that my NFLX puts have doubled. I'm not asking for much, am I?

Hulk's picture

Keep rollin dem bones WD, the gods be wit you this week !!!

HardwoodAg's picture

How do u do off the mini golf coarse? <shame faced>

Lednbrass's picture

Agreed, I see this alot myself. All people want from the "news" seems to be variations on what they want to hear.

That anyone watches NBC, Fox, or any network and takes them seriously is a continual source of both amazement to me and friction between myself and people I know.

Unfortunately grabbing them by the ears and screaming "WAKE UP"! isnt likely to be very effective, so I find myself just mocking them alot.

fonzannoon's picture

Ever since I found ZH I watch a lot less of the feces mentioned above. Prob goes the same for a lot of people

AldousHuxley's picture

best part of COPS was the sound track.

knukles's picture

I watched COPS re-reuns for years just to see the dumb fuck with the mullett get Tazered in the nads again.

fourchan's picture






or do they?

Caviar Emptor's picture

Average 25-53 demographic to CNBS:
"I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it".

NewThor's picture

CNBC should use the Bloomberg strategy and hire a bunch of super sexy women.


Ljoot's picture

Or they could tap FuxBusiness for some of their toothsome blondes.


Fish Gone Bad's picture

Maria Barteromo is no longer a babe:

Time to sit on the couch, eat some chips and curse the world.

Harry Dong's picture

curse you! now stop before you show any pics of Becky Quick

francis_sawyer's picture

Looks like Maria has 2 'anchors' to cast around there...

10mm's picture

Id still punch her in the pants.

Chuck Walla's picture

Maria Barteromo is no longer a babe:


Thems some really flacid milk bags right there...

ihedgemyhedges's picture

TD's tagline has quite the oxymoron: Favorite CNBC's anchors.......

Last time I checked, Mark Haines is dead.........

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

I did some research about this topic, and I found their viewers might have moved on to a little thing called the "Internet." Cable is very 20th century, it's hard to compete against such (natural) selection. My one hope is that Jim Cramer gets to move back into a cardboard box, and he can hype what dumpster will have a pizza box with some cheese still in it, then jump in and fight the rats. If the Lord answers my prayers, I'll see him on bum fights.

duo's picture

I started watching with the sound off a year ago, but now I don't even bother turning CNBC on.  It's the same thing every day. SP500 up, gold bashing, and the economy is growing again (and there's no inflation either).

fockewulf190's picture

The Germans used to have two cable channels devoted to financial news, N-TV and N24. After the stock markets imploded and raped the public in such a horribly unlubricated way, viewership tanked to insolvency levels. Result was both networks now do conventional news with a few minutes of talking heads on the DAX floor to keep their access cards valid, and the rest of the day is rammed full of sensational documentaries of comets slamming into the earth, post Carrington Effect results on modern societys, and alien invasions. They advertise a lot of consumer products again and are still around, so somebody saw the writing on the walls and actually read what they saw.

duo's picture

I remember tne N-TV anchor in the mornings was pretty hot.

dolly madison's picture

CNN does too much war maching propaganda for my taste.

HomeBrewPrepper's picture

My kids grab the remote and change it from cnbc to the Disney channel. I usually dont care cause I'm reading ZH .

philipat's picture

Check your facts. CNBC used to be owned by GE.

Michael's picture

The Ron Paul crew completely stopped watching cable TV news about 3 months ago when they stopped covering him totally and that's when their ratings crashed.

maggiemayok's picture

I just had to comment on that most excellent observation!  It is TRUE though I hadn't realized it until you said it... Some days?  We don't even turn the television on.  And it IS because of the total absence of Ron Paul coverage.  It was so OBVIOUS!

LasVegasDave's picture

Epic Fail aldous

You missed your oppurtunity to bash Sorkin for being a Yid

AldousHuxley's picture

51:49 split. GE still has a huge stake.

Michael's picture

Jewtube is no longer relevant in peoples lives. We get our unfiltered news from the internets now.

philipat's picture

Kernan (The Frog hater) is such an insufferable and arrogant prick I can;t bring myself ever to watch. But CNBC's problems are much bigger. If they stop performing the role of Wall Street's butt licker and start to analyse what is really going on, they might have a chance at turning it around. Also, why don't they put it on the net like Bloomberg?