The media portion of Bloomberg's business is tiny and as Dan Doctoroff, the company's president, tells BusinessWeek's Jon Fine in a typically reticent fashion, the TV operation is "not what it should be." And while he adds that "We have the pieces...to create something new and different," he's certainly not going to reveal any details. As it stands, the media business brings in less than 10 percent of Bloomberg's estimated $5.4 billion in overall revenue. Norman Pearlstine, it chief content officer says the strategy for the Bloomberg's media business remains a work in progress. At best, the piece offers a few hints about the direction executives are taking:
-- Finally challenging CNBC: While there has been a lot of focus on the match-up between CNBC and the fledgling Fox Business Network, it's worth noting that Bloomberg reaches 58 million U.S. homes, still higher than FBN's 43 million. Doctoroff expects that number to rise to 70 million by '09, though it will continue to be outpaced by CNBC's access to 90 million U.S. homes. As we recently noted, Bloomberg has struck a deal with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV Ads, which serves targeted ads to EchoStar's 14 million households. The month, after a short stint at Sony (NYSE: SNE) BMG, former NBC exec Andy Lack was brought on to coordinate programming efforts for Bloomberg TV, just as the desire for financial news has become much greater.
-- Not just for terminals: The bulk of Bloomberg's revenues comes from the $1,500 monthly rentals of its financial data terminals. But the company also wants ro revamp Bloomberg.com. Even less detail was offered here, though Doctoroff suggests that the site could capitalize on newspapers' dire situation by offering increased content services. But as Fine points out, it's unlikely that Bloomberg will be offering local business news. In any case, Doctoroff says the changes to the site's operation will become clear sometime in the second half of '09.
Hear more about Bloomberg's plans during a keynote Q&A with Norm Pearlstine, chief content officer of Bloomberg, at our Future of Business Media conference on Oct. 28 in NYC.
By David Kaplan