CNBC Brings Its ‘Real-Time’ Data To The iPad — Paid Products Coming Soon

As its rivals look to buttress their existing “real-time” data businesses with separate digital products, CNBC (NYSE: GE) has released its first iPad app that promises to bring up-to-the-second financial information to a more general audience. While most real-time services costs thousands of dollars in subscription fees, CNBC is keeping the iPad app free. However, in the coming weeks, the company is planning to rollout additional apps, with a focus on offering premium, paid content.

Unlike Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) and Bloomberg, CNBC relies mostly on its TV network to pay the bills, not fees related to a terminal or subscriptions from investment banks and related financial services companies. While a mobile app — all three have iPhone and Android apps that provide info on stock market movements — is not as dynamic as a Bloomberg terminal or Reuters feed, it does help close the gap between what real-time data might mean for a more general audience.

The app itself is an expansion from CNBC’s existing mobile apps. Among the the features on the iPad app are real-time stock quotes – before, during and after market hours, directly from both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Similar to the previous app, this one also has the same breaking news alerts and access to the cable network’s video clips.

If the future of real-time is eventually on devices like the iPad — and Reuters’ Insider, a video-on-demand offering available only to its paying subscribers — then the data players in the media space will eventually place more of their professional products on consumer devices like the iPad. For CNBC, it means making sure it’s able to supplement its cable network with more mobile offerings.

Making that work will require more focus on mobile advertising. Last month. CNBC hired former Smart Money and BusinessWeek ad sales vet Lou Tosto to head up its advertising in that area. Release

Update: Putting the CNBC app on the iPad is the company’s way of bridging the gap between the cable channel and the existing mobile apps. “It’s the same real-time quotes, but because of the larger real estate on the iPad, we can present in a much more compelling way,” said Scott Drake, Vice President, CNBC Digital, in an interview with paidContent.

The main change here are the visuals: for example, there’s an interactive ticker that users can customize, speed up and click on individual stocks to get a quote and more info on a particular company.