Media 13 Dec 2006 08:00 am

Fortune vs. Portfolio; CNBC vs. Fox Business Channel: Let the Fight Begin

by Sean Hackbarth

Conde Nast Portfolio
The end of the year brings two types of stories: year in reviews; and looks into the future. MarketWatch’s media maven Jon Friedman does the latter by getting us ready for the upcoming battles between Fortune and Conde Nast’s Portfolio on the news stands and CNBC and Fox Business Channel on the boob tube. Competition is always good, but do we really need another financial magazine? Maybe if you are loaded like a partner in one of those private equity firms that’s buying everything in sight.

With magazines like The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Architectural Digest in Conde Nast’s portfolio (pun intended) you know it caters to someone other than Bob the purchasing manager at the office furniture factory in Cleveland. That guy’s the type who only buys Fortune occasionally but knows his boss has a subscription. A Vanity Fair-style mag that’s full of great, deep profiles and stories would be appreciated even though in our short-attention span infoworld the issues will pile up for months only to be finally read on vacation. At least you’ll know Portfolio will have great pictures.

What will be very interesting is how Fox will tackle business television. Friedman thinks Fox will “focus on individual investors.” If Fox News Channel is any indication Fox Business will install strong personalities. Roger Ailes would love nothing more than to find a Bill O’Reilly for the network. Also from Fox News’ history expect to see plenty of lovely anchorwomen. Maria Bartiromo better be prepared for some competition in the look department. Two things I hope not to see on Fox Business: 1.) a Lou Dobbs “economic nationalist” (i.e. a protectionist from 18th Century Europe); and 2.) Steve Forbes hosting his own show. His brief moments on Forbes on Fox Saturday mornings are painful to watch.

Fox News Channel

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