Heading into 2019, Bloomberg is entertaining the idea of combining dynamic digital advertising with linear TV services through Trigr and Interlink. This innovative idea builds off the disruption Bloomberg introduced in 2018 with TicToc, a global 24-7 news network on Twitter, and would feature a mix of original reporting and user-generated content. For a legacy media enterprise like Bloomberg, questions emerged over whether it was a good fit. Bloomberg hoped TicToc’s 119,000 followers and 750,000 daily viewers would drive in a new stream of revenue. More importantly, the network brought potential to generate a unique, non-traditional advertising audience. Despite these innovative revenue streams, Bloomberg is still looking for consistent and reliable revenue streams. Can social media be the home of a sustainable digital business model, or are digital subscriptions the path forward? What role would Trigr and Interlink play in Bloomberg’s business model?
For more information about Bloomberg’s history, refer to the timeline below.
Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Secunda, Duncan MacMillan and Charles Zegar launch Bloomberg L.P. After earning an M.B.A. from Harvard, Bloomberg spends 15 years at a Manhattan securities-trading firm, leading the firm’s efforts to develop an in-house computerized financial system. When Bloomberg’s firm merges with another, he starts a new business, envisioning a computerized information system that would allow Wall Street firms to access market data, financial calculations and projects in real-time.
Thompson-Reuters unveils the Reuters Monitoring Dealing Service, the world’s first video terminal allowing dealers to conclude trades by video.
Bloomberg hires computer programmers to build the “Innovative Marketing System,” (IMS) and secures preliminary funding from Merrill Lynch, the only Wall Street firm interested in the system.
Bloomberg’s team unveils an IMS prototype to Merrill Lynch, impressing them with the machine’s ability to perform complicated calculations on government bonds and pricing computations of Merrill Lynch’s inventory. Lynch orders 20 machines, buys a 30% stake in IMS for $30 million and Bloomberg agrees not to market IMS to any Merrill Lynch competitors.
Merrill Lynch agrees to let Bloomberg sell IMS to competitors. Although many companies are offering computerized news and market data to Wall Street, IMS combines sources that previously existed only in paper version or on specialized electronic services. The IMS also features a range of complex calculations to determine the relative value of securities.
Reuters Logo (Retrieved from Reuters News Agency)
Reuters is financed as a public company.
IMS renames to “Bloomberg L.P.” and the company begins marketing to securities underwriters and trading firms.
Bloomberg opens offices in London and Tokyo, and acquires Sinkers, Inc, a data research company. Approximately 5,000 terminals are installed.
Bloomberg adds securities-trading features and a service that allows users to access prices from a variety of firms.
Reuters forms a joint venture with Chicago Mercantile Exchange to build an automated futures trading system named “Globex.”
Bloomberg adds a contributor system to optimize financial research and commentary; the company opens an office in Australia.
Bloomberg Business News launches; Bloomberg’s annual growth far outpaces Reuters and Dow Jones and revenue nears $100 million. Bloomberg Business News struggles to gain accreditation from Washington’s Standing Committee of Correspondents and the AP. Approximately 10,000 Bloomberg terminals are installed.
Michael Bloomberg makes a deal with The New York Times: he gives the Times a free terminal in exchange for publishing Business News stories whenever it deems them “fit to print.” Within a year, every major news outlet in the United States requests the same arrangement. By 1991, the Bloomberg terminal includes prices from 18 U.S. Treasury bond dealers, 75 corporate bond dealers, news and statistics on more than 15,000 companies and more than 200 other services. Bloomberg’s worth approaches $800 million, with 14,000 installed terminals.
Bloomberg unveils a secure e-mail system for subscribers, and purchases New York radio station WNEW for $13.5 million.
Bloomberg launches a 15-minute weekday business news program for PBS and opens offices in Germany and Hong Kong.
Bloomberg opens bureaus in South Africa and China and announces its global network of Bloomberg Business News, including 335 reporters and 56 bureaus. Bloomberg launches “Open Bloomberg” to allow subscribers to access data from PC workstation, part of an effort to keep up with Reuters and Dow Jones, who allow subscribers to download their services to their own computers.
Bloomberg announces a venture with AT&T to provide a cell-phone text-based version of data to consumers on the go. Approximately 75,000 terminals are installed.
Richard Harrington is announced as CEO of Reuters. FBI investigates whether Reuters stole trade secrets from Bloomberg L.P.; the case is dropped after 3 executives leave the company.
Reuters and Dow Jones create Factiva, a joint venture designed to aggregate content from licensed and free news sources.
Bloomberg has revenues of $2.5 billion, approximately half of Reuters’s revenues.
Both Fenwick (left) & Grauer (right) served stints as the CEO of Bloomberg – Retrieved from Business Insider, Forbes
Michael Bloomberg cedes CEO position to become Mayor of New York. Lex Fenwick serves for four months before Peter Grauer assumes control of the company. Grauer implements a five-year hiring freeze after 9/11 and the bursting of the stock market due to the attacks.
Thomson common share offering raises $1 billion and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bloomberg creates New Energy Finance, a data company focusing on energy investment and carbon-market research based in the United Kingdom.
Bloomberg discloses $4.7 billion in revenues for 2006 and workforce approaches 10,000 people.
Reuters—holding a market value of $11 billion—launches two products aimed at automating trading.
Merrill Lynch sells 20 percent stake in company to Michael Bloomberg, valuing Bloomberg L.P. at approximately $22.5 billion. Fenwick becomes the CEO of Bloomberg Ventures, a new venture capital division. Daniel Doctoroff becomes CEO. Approximately 270,000 terminals are installed.
Thomson Corporation and Reuters Group combine to form Thomson Reuters.
Bloomberg buys BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill and renames it to Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg launches Bloomberg Law.
Thomson Reuters completes unification of its dual-listed company structure; company shares are now listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bloomberg acquires Eagle Eye Publishing, a company that publishes data about federal government procurement. Bloomberg News includes more than 2,300 editors and reporters in 72 countries.
Thomson Reuters launches Thomson Reuters Westlaw, incorporating decades worth of search and editorial intelligence with the latest technological innovations.
Daniel Doctoroff becomes CEO of Bloomberg. Bloomberg acquires Bureau of National Affairs and launches Bloomberg Government. Sales from Bloomberg terminal account for more than 85 percent of Bloomberg L.P.’s revenue.
Jim Smith is appointed CEO of Thomson Reuters.
McGraw Hill Financial launches a joint venture to create S&P Dow Jones Indices, delivering data for millions of investors.
Bloomberg Beta, a venture capital firm capitalized by Bloomberg L.P., is established.
Thomson Reuters announces “Open Messaging Network,” the world’s largest community of financial professionals.
Michael Bloomberg announces he would return to Bloomberg L.P. and Daniel Doctoroff will step aside. Bloomberg sells Bloomberg Sports to a data-analysis firm for close to $20 million. Bloomberg acquires RTS Realtime Systems, a global provider of trading support services.
Thomson Reuters launches Reuters TV, which promises to deliver video news when you want it, where you want it.
Bloomberg reports $9.3 billion in revenues.
Thomson Reuters announces $11.2 billion in revenues and 53,000 employees.
Bloomberg announces it had approximately 325,000 subscriptions to the Bloomberg professional service, 980,000 global circulations in 150 countries and 19,000 employees in 152 countries.
Bloomberg unveils a new European headquarters in London, bringing its 4,000 employees in the area under one roof for the first time.
Bloomberg launches TicToc, the first and only global news network streaming live on Twitter. The network plans to feature a mix of breaking news and original video with Bloomberg reporters. It has a dedicated staff of 50 reporters, editors and producers.
Bloomberg hires Andrew Benett as global chief commercial officer — a new role to oversee ad sales and marketing services. The move is marked as an extension of Bloomberg’s strategy to sell ads and integrated marketing/consulting services to its advertisers.
Bloomberg Businessweek unveils a new business model that cuts down on free content. The two-tiered membership plan includes a digital-only option for $50-$60 per year. The all-access package, for $87-$102 annually, adds the print magazine, conference calls with journalists and other exclusive forms of content.
After one month of programming, TicToc averages 750,000 daily viewers, and 1 million daily views, according to Bloomberg. It also has 50 million tweet impressions.
The channel broadcasts breaking news reported by its staff around the world, mixed with video, images and polls taken from Twitter users. According to Bloomberg, TicToc averages 750,000 daily viewers, and 1 million daily views, and plans to reach 2 million daily viewers within the next few months. TicToc has 50 million tweet impressions since its launch. But the publisher says the metric it’s most interested in monitoring is followers of its Twitter account, which stand at 119,000.
In May, Bloomberg announces a new paywall which would charge users $35/month. Visitors can read 10 articles for free. For $40/month, readers will get a subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek and events.
In January, Bloomberg announces that it reached 16 percent growth in 2018. Bloomberg expects to follow up its successful 2018 with a consecutive year of double-digit growth. Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith is aiming for 15 percent growth in 2019. The company sells three times more subscriptions than they projected and sets a goal to increase subscriptions by 60 percent in 2019.
Bloomberg announces that it is trying to create a bridge between its linear TV and digital advertising inventory with Trigr and Interlink. By combining the two services, Bloomberg will be able to serve dynamic advertising based on market movements.
Interested in learning more about how you might use a SWOT analysis to look at the business model for Bloomberg, or other legacy media enterprises? Refer to pages 96-99 in The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur.
Sources for Bloomberg Timeline:
Annual Report – 2017
CMO Today: Bloomberg Media Hires Andrew Benett to Oversee Ad Sales, Marketing Services
Bloomberg launches new European headquarters
Bloomberg launches TicToc
Bloomberg cuts down on free content with membership pricing
TicToc receives 750,000 daily views
Bloomberg’s new paywall charges users $35 per month
Profitable growth is the ‘north star’
Bloomberg Media clocks 16% annual revenue growth
Bloomberg Media has developed technology to connect tv and digital ad inventory
Bloomberg launches ad experience to bring digital ads to linear TV