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Maria Bartiromo Returns To CNBC (Thanks To An Ad For Fox Business Network)

Maria Bartiromo for years updated CNBC viewers on the ups and downs of the stock market. Now she’s telling them to switch to a rival network.

In ads purchased for the New York market served by Time Warner Cable and running on CNBC, Bartiromo speaks directly to viewers from the set of Fox Business Network, telling them about her guests and the subjects she expects to discuss on “Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo,” the program she launched on FBN February 24.

“Come on over,” she urges the audience during the spot.

The message is intended as a “change of address card” for Bartiromo, said Kevin Magee, executive vice president of Fox Business Network. The former CNBC veteran left the NBCUniversal-owned outlet late last year for a new deal that puts her on Fox Business Network during the week and on Fox News Channel for a Sunday program that launched March 30.

The Bartiromo spot is slated to air during CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Magee said. That program ends just before FBN’s “Opening Bell” vies with CNBC’s “Squawk On The Street.”

FBN is the latest to make use of a sharp-elbows technique that helps place ads in venues that might otherwise shun them. While TV networks like ABC and CNBC control their own air and can block commercials that disparage them to try to steal their viewers, they are often unable to stop ads being placed by the entities that distribute them, such as cable and satellite systems or local stations.

The method has a long history. In January, broadcast’s The CW ran ads on ABC Family telling that Disney-owned network’s viewers to stop watching “Pretty Little Liars” and turn instead to its own “The Originals.” In 2009, ABC purchased ad inventory on various cable distributors (who usually get about two minutes per hour to sell to their own clients) on a range of cable-news outlets, including CNN and MSNBC. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. – exactly the time when ABC’s “Good Morning America” was on – the promos suggested viewers tune in to the “GMA” team at the time: Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Chris Cuomo and Sam Champion. Fox Business and Fox News have also used the idea in the past, according to Magee.

Some advertisers have tried the maneuver to insert themselves in the Super Bowl where they would normally be banned. A long-running pact with Anheuser Busch InBev keeps other makers of malt-liquor beverages from advertising on the network running the gridiron classic. But in 2009, MillerCoors touted Miller High Life in one-second ads that ran on local stations across the U.S., and in 2003, Diageo ran local ads for its Smirnoff Ice during Super Bowl XXXVII, which was broadcast on ABC.

The Fox Business ads started Monday, said Magee. He declined to specify how long they might run on Time Warner Cable, but hinted that Fox Business Network is contemplating other ways to use the Bartiromo commercials.

“We’re here to win,” said Magee. Fox Business Network is in significantly fewer homes than CNBC. According to data from Carat, CNBC reaches about 82.3% of U.S. TV homes while Fox Business reaches 66.6%. Prodding CNBC viewers who are fans of Bartiromo to follow her to her new roost represents one way to try to lure a new audience to the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet.

CNBC declined to comment on the Fox Business advertising.

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