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Bartiromo May Not Know It, But Internet Killed the Cable-TV Star

Stocks in this article: ICE CMCSA FOX

It may seem strange that someone who works for Jim Cramer might be writing this. But the TV audience for business and investing has never been that large. In normal times, it shouldn't be. There's a 50-50 chance that the audience for this story alone will be bigger than Fox Business Network's daytime ratings in the demo.

The Bartiromo story probably says more about Wall Street than it does about TV, because Wall Street has a dirty little secret. The stock exchange is basically a false front. The trading floor itself is little more than a TV studio, and all those people in suits wandering around it are basically extras.

The real work of Wall Street happens in computers, far away from any exchange floor. Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the Atlanta-based trading company that completed its acquisition of the New York Stock Exchange last week, has its main CoLocation computing center in Chicago. The NYSE maintains a large data center in New Jersey. 

And stocks are actually a small part of the business. ICE itself was formed in 2000 to trade contracts in energy, and then expanded into other commodities, buying the New York Board of Trade in 2007. As I've written before, the markets are all just transaction processing. 

In the cloud computing era, a data center can be anywhere. In the age of the Internet, its trades are cached just about everywhere. The real action happens on your side of this screen, and on millions of screens like it, all around the world.

When it comes to investments, you're the star. You're where the action is. The rest of us are trying to follow you, figure you out, anticipate your next move.

If financial news is a telescope, it's facing the wrong way.

At the time of publication the author owned no stock in companies mentioned in this article.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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