WORLD: MEDIUM OF THE WEEK - Squawk Box prepares the elite for the day ahead

By Mark Tungate, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 24 October 2003 12:00AM

CNBC's flagship is essential viewing for business' high flyers, Mark Tungate writes.

Have you been on CNBC Europe's Squawk Box yet? If not, maybe you need to move a few rungs up the career ladder because some of the biggest movers and shakers in town have already appeared on this cult business show. Aired each morning between six and nine, Squawk Box is a pre-match primer for the business day. It's been running since CNBC Europe launched in 1998, and is the channel's flagship show.

The programme is anchored by Jeff Cutmore, supported by the reporters Louisa Bojesen and Guy Johnson, who get stuck into the morning's business news in the run-up to the start of trading around Europe. For two-thirds of the show, a leading executive sits in as a "guest host", answering questions about their own business and other burning issues.

WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell and Saatchi & Saatchi's Kevin Roberts both make regular appearances.

Squawk Box also has its fans among the advertising elite.

Carolyn Carter, the president of Grey Global Group, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says: "It's a ritual - when the alarm goes off, Squawk goes on. I like it because I get a fast global context and a focus on key European markets. Their pundit guest hosts provide diverse views, and they get some good chief executive interviews as well. The show manages to combine enterprise with entertainment - a winning formula."

The programme director, Jeremy Pink, says: "Our audience is made up of business leaders and opinion formers, so our guests are speaking to their peers. Indeed, on any given morning you might find chief executives from two FTSE 100 companies chatting with one another live. It's like eavesdropping on a conversation between business Titans in a private club."

Pink says viewers like the show's bantering tone. "We're not afraid to ask tough questions, but we don't do it in an aggressive manner. We treat guests like human beings. And they respond by being frank with us, which is why the things they say on the show are often quoted by the newswires right after."

It is also why 85 per cent of CNBC's 5.25 million monthly viewers say they regularly tune in to Squawk Box. "It's a must-see. You can hear a company's quarterly or half-year earnings here first - and then see the chief executive sitting in the studio 15 minutes later talking about them. Not only that, but the executives help us to provide a sort of weather vane to track prevailing business trends, and their views are highly respected."

The programme's elite viewers attract a raft of upmarket advertisers.

The commercial director, Mick Buckley, says: "Our research shows that 75 per cent of our audience have acted on a piece of information they saw on CNBC - and that includes advertising messages. Our audience is very engaged, which means they are particularly receptive to advertising.

Squawk Box is also reaching them at a time when their thoughts are clear and uncluttered by the challenges that will assault them throughout the day."

Frequency: Daily, Mon-Fri

Time: 6-9am GMT

Audience: 4.5 million per month

Average cost of an advertising slot: US$2,000

Typical advertisers: UBS, Rolex, Lacoste, IBM, HSBC, Cisco, Barclays,

Sun Microsystems, Shell, Orange, Ernst & Young, Daimler Chrysler, Cantor

Index, Airbus, Vodafone, United Airlines

Competitors: BBC World (World Business Report); CNN International (World

Business This Morning); Bloomberg TV (On The Markets)

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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