CNN does finance without the extra channel

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NEW YORK -- It doesn't always take a financial news network to attract an audience on TV and online for coverage of the recession and financial crisis.

One company that left the business news network game in late 2004 is Time Warner. It folded its 9-year-old CNNfn channel after struggling to boost its distribution beyond 30 million homes.

"We aren't considering bringing CNNfn back," a spokeswoman told THR when asked if the network could see a comeback since some have called the financial crisis and recession a watershed moment for business news.

But, she said, CNN itself has been offering "extensive coverage on the economy" to feed the need of viewers, led by resident business expert Ali Velshi.

Also, the CNNMoney.com site that launched in early 2006 as a partnership between CNN and TW publishing arm Time Inc., which operates such business magazine brands as Fortune and Money, has become the No. 1 business and financial news site for video and ranks ahead of all business TV brands in unique visitors, according to Nielsen.

"We make sure our online video is very, very compressed," explains Chris Peacock, editor and vp, CNNMoney.com, of the site's success with video, compared with destinations that only repurpose TV content. "People come to learn and get smarter, and they need it in a short and punchy way (on the Web)."

CNNMoney's online video offers have done so well that it recently launched eight new Web business shows, including "Help Desk," which answers personal finance questions twice a week, and "Conscious Capitalism," which puts the spotlight on corporate philanthropy.

The site's non-video offers are also guided by key principles to keep people engaged, Peacock told THR. For example, stories try to explain what a business news item means for people's job, their home and/or their savings.

Plus, "we jump on different narratives as they arrive and do so very quickly," the CNNMoney.com chief said. For example, after the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy and financial crisis hit, the site redirected reporters on other industry beats to weigh in on various banking system angles. And as of late, the state and future of Detroit and the auto industry along with all the sectors and towns affected by it have been a major focus for CNNMoney.com.

"We are really focusing on telling the most important stories in real time that have the biggest impact on the most amount of people," said Peacock.
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