NBC, Dow Jones do business

The two media giants will align their major business news properties both on television and on the Internet.

Paul Festa Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Paul Festa
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Paul Festa
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General Electric's National Broadcasting Company and Dow Jones (DJ) announced a deal today that will align their major business news properties both on television and on the Internet.

The agreement will significantly affect the companies from their organizational structure to their editorial content both at home and abroad.

Online, Dow Jones properties, including The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition and Dow Jones Markets, will share content with NBC and Microsoft under their joint venture, MSNBC.

Selected content from the Journal Interactive Edition will appear on MSNBC in that site's Commerce section, which will be rebranded with both the CNBC and Wall Street Journal names.

In addition, the Journal Interactive Edition will start seeing more multimedia content as Dow Jones takes an ownership interest in MSNBC Business Video, which provides coverage of business news events. Dow Jones Interactive, the company's push news service; the Dow Jones News Service, a business news wire; and Dow Jones Markets, a news provider for financial institutions, will also use Business Video resources. NBC, Microsoft, and Dow Jones will share CNBC video rights for interactive development.

The deal originated in the European and Asian television market, where Dow Jones's Asia Business News and European Business News divisions struggled to compete against CNBC and other televised news services. Dow Jones and NBC will now merge their overseas operations, ultimately to be branded using the CNBC name.

Television has been a losing proposition for Dow Jones, which reported losses of $48 million last year in its European and Asian television units, its Dow Jones Investor Network, and its discontinued TV venture with ITT. Dow Jones predicted a comparable loss in TV operations this year and a narrowing of that loss in the following year thanks to the alliance unveiled today.

NBC has been losing $25 million in Asia and $15 million in Europe annually, according to a report in the New York Times. NBC refused to comment on its losses overseas.

Both NBC and Dow Jones will incur fourth-quarter charges of undisclosed amounts relating to the European and Asian TV restructuring.

Job losses associated with the alliance will total about 200, according to Karen Miller Pensiero, director of corporate communications for Dow Jones, with 150 positions eliminated at CNBC Asia, 25 at Dow Jones in Europe, and 20 at Wall Street Journal TV in New York. Pensiero disputed a Bloomberg report predicting CNBC layoffs of 220.

Pensiero praised the deal as a way for the companies to bring their money-losing TV operations and other ventures into a successful joint effort. "Because NBC globally is the strongest television brand in the world and Dow Jones is the preeminent print brand, this positions us perfectly for the future to take advantage of the strengths that each party can bring to the table," she said.