A few years back CNBC, in partnership with MSN and some investment companies, began promoting the “StockScouter” ranking system. The quantitative formula ranked stocks using a 1-10 scale on numerous criteria and investors could sort companies by their StockScouter ranking on the CNBC/MSN web site.
This was fine, except they took it a bit too far by mentioning the StockScouter ratings constantly on the air during CNBC broadcasts. After each executive interview they would tell you what StockScouter said about the company being profiled. Not only that, but when portfolio managers came on air recommending stocks, their opinions were followed by a comparison to StockScouter’s opinion, which often led to the awkward on-air moment when a top-rated fund manager was told by Sue Herrera that StockScouter rated their top holdings “a 2 out of 10.”
Fortunately the StockScouter was removed from CNBC airwaves eventually, probably due, in part, to the fact that it would give very high “safety” ratings to stocks like eBay (EBAY) and Yahoo! (YHOO) on a consistent basis, shares that clearly were not “safe” investments.
Well, it looks like CNBC is wasting viewers’ time again with the relaunch of “the new CNBC.com” web site. The site went live in recent weeks and at every moment they get, CNBC anchors try and convince viewers that the information on the site is somehow new and better than any other site out there. Among the earth-shattering innovations on the new CNBC.com; advanced charting, up-to-the-minute news items, and even… hold your breathe… a portfolio tracker!
They even have a special desk where anchors sit and guide viewers step by the step through the process of charting a stock, etc. I know CNBC has plenty of time to fill during the day, and obviously they want people to go to their web site. However, hyping their product offerings so much during the actual broadcasts, especially when it has little to do with the rest of their content, is extremely annoying. They really should just run a few commercial spots every hour to advertise the web site so people like me aren’t tempted to change channels when they do a segment of CNBC.com 101.