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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bloomberg Close-Up:
What's Happening at This Major News Provider

I attended a Gorkana/Bloomberg panel and networking event recently to hear Bloomberg editors discuss the company's approach to news. Panelists included Ted Fine, a Bloomberg TV producer responsible for afternoon programming; Laurie Hays, executive editor for Company News and subject-matter areas such as law, science, environment and education; Marty Schenker, executive editor for Top News, a compilation of the day's most important stories; and Karen Toulon, chief of the New York bureau with its "more than 800 reporters, editors, producers, writers, multimedia professionals and support personnel."

Here are some of my takeaways:

  • Bloomberg sees itself as a news-gathering operation that feeds content through various mediums/channels/outlets including the Terminal, web, TV, and magazines. (In this way, it's not much different strategically from other media conglomerates).
  • Bloomberg TV is seeking to make its afternoon programming more entertaining to appeal to an afternoon audience broader than traders. (Ted Fine);
  • Bloomberg’s audience is anyone who has money at stake (Marty Schenker);
  • Bloomberg’s audience—and Bloomberg editors--want to know a company CEO’s vision, not whether the company’s stock will go up or down (Karen Toulon);
  • Bloomberg.com is undergoing a transition from an audience of traders to a broader audience of professional investors.  The web site’s content used to be pulled from the day’s Top News stories on the Bloomberg terminal.  Re-distributing Bloomberg Terminal stories on the web site has posed a conflict for Bloomberg in the eyes of Terminal subscribers, who do not like the idea that paid Terminal news is being away for free (Schenker);
  • A new product—Bloomberg First Word—will soon be launched.  It will be a compilation of  company news and include small-cap companies (Laurie Hays);
  • Bloomberg is evolving away from standard earnings stories.  They are now a commodity, and audiences know enough to go directly to a company’s earnings release for the information contained in them.  What readers want from Bloomberg instead of earnings stories is news about how money is raised, social unrest, etc.  (Schenker);
  • The actual content of Bloomberg TV is streamed to the Bloomberg web site.  That is unlike the case with some other cable companies’ online versions of their TV programming.  Also, Bloomberg TV plans to have a high definition channel in the “foreseeable” future (Fine).
I especially liked Schenker's definition of news: News is what changes people's behavior. It reminded me of how Columbia J-School professor Melvin Mencher once defined news--what helps people make decisions.

-- Jeff Bogart


5:48 pm edt          Comments


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