TV sprouting 'biz shows' -- and a new one's coming
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But Mr. Crimmins at ''Business Times'' contends his show already has a sizable potential audience, since it will hook up with the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, a 24-hour cable network that televises sports events and news. ESPN now reaches 23 million homes, and ''Business Times'' expects to get 230,000 viewers right off the bat. (''You can get 1 percent of anything,'' Mr. Crimmins says.) A survey of ESPN viewers done by Reymer & Gersin indicated that closer to 630,000 would watch a comprehensive business news program.Skip to next paragraph
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But getting an audience may not be as simple as the statistics say. ''The audience 'Business Times' is trying to reach - the affluent, upscale business man or woman - is probably not going to be glued to the tube at that hour,'' says Thomas King, president of the American Business Press, the association for business publications.
In addition, ''6 to 8 a.m. is not a high viewing time for hard-news shows, but mainly for soft news like 'The Today Show' and 'Good Morning America,' '' observes John Reidy, a cable television analyst at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the brokerage house.
Noel Sweitzer, president of Housing Development Services Inc., a Los Angeles-based housing and finance consulting organization, disagrees. Up every morning by 6 o'clock, she gets her first splash of morning news on ''The Today Show.'' If there were a hard-news alternative, she would take it.
''I don't like listening to those cutesy profiles on 'The Today Show,' or through the commercials,'' she comments. ''If a news show hit the hard news, and focused on specific economic events in detail, I'd buy it.''
''Business Time's'' strategy is to get the executive to dress in front of television instead of the bedroom mirror. To do this, it will have splashy computer graphics and a star-studded cast, including editors from Newsweek, Business Week, The Economist of London, and National Public Radio.
It will have 40 to 60 ''stories'' an hour, not just about Wall Street, but about international and governmental developments affecting business. It has an exclusive TV rights agreement with the Financial Times of London, and will receive stories from its 100 reporters in 90 countries via satellite. The hour will be punctuated with longer (4- to 6-minute) profiles of business leaders and their strategies, economists, and high technology (including Japanese technology).
Because of its diverse but hard-news approach, Mr. Crimmins thinks it will be competing more with publications like the Wall Street Journal and Business Week than with other television news shows.
But Lawrence Armour, director of corporate relations at Dow Jones & Co., which publishes the Wall Street Journal, says the new show won't cut into the Journal's circulation. ''The person who reads the Journal can't do without it,'' he comments. ''He needs to refer back to it, take it home, and reread the story he could only skim in the morning. You can't do that with the electronic medium.''
Mr. King at American Business Press agrees. ''Electronic news is very soon gone, and it's irretrievable.''
Far from being worried, Mr. Armour thinks business television shows will increase the Journal's circulation. ''They will make more and more people interested in business,'' he predicts, ''and will enlarge the already expanding market for business information. That can only help everyone involved in business journalism.''