CNBC takes its TV look online

In an effort to tap the growing popularity of financial information Web sites, CNBC is quietly preparing to launch a revamped Web site.

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In an effort to tap the growing popularity of financial information Web sites, CNBC is quietly preparing to launch a revamped Web site.

The new site will attempt to recreate CNBC's television look and feel on the Web. Stock tickers run across the bottom of the screen, and head shots of CNBC personalities line both sides of the page. Links to video archives of on-air interviews are posted within news stories, and users also can click on listings for CNBC show times and featured guests.

The site also has services that are typically found on portals. For example, users can get updated financial news written by CNBC staff members and other news services such as MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal. Registration is free, and users who register can check stock quotes or personalize their stock portfolios.

As more investors turn to the Web to trade stocks or research companies, financial news and information Web sites are becoming hot commodities, as evidenced by the performance of TheStreet.com's stock immediately following its IPO (though the stock has come back to earth since then).

Moreover, services such as CNNfn, the Motley Fool, and Yahoo Finance have become virtual bibles for day traders and other investors.

In addition, analysts and advertisers are bullish on financial sites because of their "stickiness"--that is, their ability to draw users frequently and make them stay for long periods.

Financial sites have especially struck a chord with day traders, who depend on minute-by-minute updates and analyses of market performance, according to Abhishek Gami, an equity analyst at William Blair & Company.

"The day trader subculture has gained more members and as result is looking for more tools to cater to their activities," he said.

But despite an ever-growing demand for financial information, CNBC faces stiff competition. Its television rival CNNfn has been on the Web for years and continues to be one of the most popular finance sites. Nonetheless, CNBC said there is still a lot of room in the space.

"I think we're at the top of the first inning, and this will be a very long game," said Bob Myers, general manager of CNBC.com.

Going forward, Myers said the site will focus on tying together its television and Web programming. CNBC also is looking forward to its integration into soon-to-be-created NBC Internet, the conglomeration of NBC's Internet assets, which includes Web portal Snap and home page community Xoom.

While Myers would not detail CNBC.com's involvement in NBCi because of premerger regulations, he said the intention is to integrate CNBC.com "when it makes sense."

"We will have discussions with Snap and Xoom to create a unified product," he said.

The new CNBC.com will launch later this summer, the company said.

Snap is a joint venture between News.com publisher CNET and NBC. NBC is an investor in CNET.

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