CNN Gives Biz Sites Run for Their 'Money'

Now With Online Video, Is a Bigger Threat on the Web

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NEW YORK ( -- Energetic newscaster Poppy Harlow stands in front of a wall of stock charts discussing Starbucks' recent decision to close outlets for three hours to give workers additional training. She moves on to talk about job cuts at Siemens and aggressive moves by bond insurer MBIA. It's all very routine if you happen to be watching CNBC or Fox Business Channel. But this newscast is online at
Jonathan Shar: The ability to reach people in the workplace via internet beats cable TV.
Jonathan Shar: The ability to reach people in the workplace via internet beats cable TV.

Consumers who think about CNNMoney have no doubt considered the Time Warner property a website aimed at a broad financial audience meant to do battle with entities such as Yahoo Finance, Google Finance and News Corp.'s Marketwatch. With the addition of online video, however, the site looks to vie with a broader competitive set.

"We have a very heavy at-work audience, and we see the ability to reach people with high-speed internet connections in the workplace as a much more significant opportunity than cable TV," said Jonathan Shar, senior VP-general manager of CNNMoney. "The experience is different. You're watching video and you're really sort of leaning in while you are watching vs. potentially having something on in the background."

It's just another example of how websites these days are distilling elements of TV and print into a digital mix that threatens to collapse traditional concepts of where one type of media starts and another ends.

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Many of these web ventures target what media buyers believe is one of the largest untapped audiences for bigger, broader advertising: people at work. "Without question, I would see the at-work environment to be the most fertile ground for broadband video to take on cable," said David Cohen. U.S. director-digital communications at Interpublic Group's Universal McCann.

CNNMoney's unique users have been far greater than those visiting or, according to Nielsen Online. CNNMoney officially ramped up its video offerings in mid-January, helping it reach about 9.4 million unique users, its highest monthly unique user total since January 2007. Meanwhile, lured about 1.95 million in the same month and reached about 1.865 million, Nielsen Online said. As for CNBC's cable network, it still reaches a far bigger audience -- on a cumulative basis, CNBC reached about 39.7 million viewers over the age of 18 in the month of January.

CNNMoney features stories culled from Time Inc. title Fortune alongside news from web staffers. It ramped up its video-production abilities by putting in place a team led by Caleb Silver, an executive from CNN. Staffers hope to get to the point where the site features 30 new pieces of video each day and users are streaming videos 20 million times a month. CNNMoney estimates that just under 8 million streams occurred in January, Mr. Shar said.
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