NBC Cable is working on plans for a digital spinoff of
business-news channel CNBC, which could launch by year's end, officials said last
The proposed 24-hour cable network, temporarily dubbed
"CNBC2," will rely heavily on market news from around the globe, in large part
to be supplied by CNBC's Asian and European channels, which are partnerships with Dow
Jones & Co., according to NBC Cable Distribution president David Zaslav.
"The bulk of the channel will be live market news from
around the world," Zaslav said. "We have been building resources in Asia and
Europe. We have all of this live, compelling information. This is a route to bring that to
the United States."
Some CNBC viewers are still eager to see financial news in
primetime, when the network airs its talk shows after Wall Street closes, according to
CNBC2 would be an option for those viewers, who could see
what the markets in places like London, Singapore and Hong Kong are doing at night on the
start-up business-programming service, he added.
However, Zaslav also stressed that CNBC2 would be a
combination of both domestic and international financial news, and not just overseas
Cable operators are interested in CNBC2 as a digital
network because it would be different from other digital offerings out there now, Zaslav
"CNBC2 would provide live news and information,"
he said. "That's different from most digital networks. They are library
services, reruns or reorganizing library product."
NBC Cable is conducting research now to determine exactly
how to program CNBC2 and what would bring the most value to cable operators and viewers,
according to Zaslav.
One issue that has to be studied is what programming the
new network would air on weekends, when the markets are closed, and exactly what it would
air during the day. Its daytime coverage would still be business news, but it would differ
from CNBC's coverage.
For example, CNBC2 might air full coverage of financial
seminars held by brokerage firms, or televise the full uncut speeches of business
executives -- the kind of detailed coverage CNBC wouldn't do. There might also be an
opportunity to do coverage of the expanded hours of stock trading.
Although CNBC2 is the working name for the second business
channel, it will get a new moniker for its launch, Zaslav said.
NBC is already offering several regional weather channels
to direct-broadcast satellite, and it has explored doing a localizable digital weather
channel for cable.
But at this point, Zaslav said, cable operators are more
interested in a digital business channel with live coverage to add to their digital tiers.
He noted that several vendors are already offering local
weather channels to MSOs.