The financial cable news wars got a bit ugly on 8/15 when Fox Business Network took a public swing at rival CNBC via spot cable. Monday morning, FBN bought commercial time on Time Warner Cable to run on CNBC, where it took a shot at the way CNBC planned reruns during the weekend of the recent financial crisis after the United States’ credit rating was downgraded.
That weekend, FBN went live and brought in a team to extensively cover the story, including anchor Neil Cavuto. “When economic turmoil struck,” says the voiceover in the FBN spots, only one network was there! The Competition? Gone fishin’.”
The spots were placed locally to run as a national network buy on CNBC, a common practice for advertisers looking to get promoted without having to go through the cable channels. Of course, CNBC would never willingly sell ad time to FBN, but Time Warner did, where the spots reached viewers.
According to the NY Daily News, FBN bought the time to run throughout the week. However, by Monday afternoon, the “gone fishin'” promos taking a jab at CNBC were gone.
“We were not asked to remove the spot,” a TWC spokesperson told the paper. “We made the decision based on inappropriate content.”
FBN declined to replace the “gone fishin'” spots with a generic commercial on TWC in New York City. A similar campaign hit Philadelphia’s cable market on Comcast, said the story.
RBR-TVBR observation: There certainly is a willing market out there for networks taking swipes at each other, but to keep carriage deals in place and avoid everything from litigation to just plain angry emails and phone calls, the spot sales divisions at the MSOs won’t typically allow these types of ads to be placed on competing networks. Even tune-in ads on competing networks are a bit of a no-no. Likely, someone at Time Warner Cable got in some hot water over this.