CNBC Digital claimed the top spot in the Business News category with a record 115 million unique visitors in March, an increase of 98% year-over-year. It’s the first time CNBC has ranked number one in the category – Cynopsis checked in with Jay Yarow, SVP and Executive Editor for CNBC Digital, to see how they did it, and what’s ahead.
Q: To what do you attribute CNBC’s impressive audience gain?
A: We’ve been putting pieces in place for the past four years to deliver great journalism to a large audience. We’ve nearly doubled the size of our digital newsroom. We’ve rebuilt our CMS, redesigned our site, sped up our page load times, and invested in audience development. We weren’t planning on a pandemic rocking the markets, but when it did, we had the right people in place to cover this story like no other outlet.
Q: How has your news coverage changed during the COVID-19 crisis?
A: Well, every story ties back to coronavirus in one way or another. This is a very personal subject for our audience, and for us as journalists. We have employees, family members, and friends that have contracted the virus. Business stories are often told through numbers, but we’re focused on making sure we tell this story through people because this affects so many lives in so many different ways.
Q: Is there anything about the way coverage has evolved during the pandemic that will continue after the crisis is over?
A: Business news, at its worst, can be narrowly appealing, esoteric, and filled with jargon. We’ve been working on eradicating that from CNBC for years now. But this story brought a rush of new people to us and those people may not understand PE ratios or what Starbucks’ expected EPS was. As a result, we’re making sure that we deliver stories that everyone from the novice to the most sophisticated investor can appreciate. We’re not dumbing the story down, we’re making it clearer for all involved. That will continue forever.