Bloomberg aims to compete directly with the British press

Bloomberg Media has decided to aggressively woo a UK audience, the first part of a revamped global strategy for the business news giant.

On Wednesday evening, the executives presented a company they hope could generate $100 million in annual revenue: Bloomberg UK, a brand intended to compete directly with the Financial Times and the Sunday Times, staples of British business journalism. .

Bloomberg UK will include a website, a weekly Bloomberg Quicktake video series featuring UK journalists, a podcast on the City of London and a summit this year on the future of UK business.

Bloomberg has been in the UK market for three decades, but the new venture is a targeted approach to an untapped audience of at least seven million in “the professional and affluent space”, said Managing Director Mr. Scott Havens from Bloomberg Media.

It’s the first glimpse of a new international strategy for Bloomberg, which has 176 offices that house its 2,700 reporters and analysts. By building regional editions in promising markets where it already has an editorial footprint, executives hope to earn new dollars without spending to establish a new headquarters.

Bloomberg UK will use the hundreds of journalists who already work in Bloomberg’s London newsroom, which is housed in a state-of-the-art office building opened five years ago in the financial district. In an interview, Mr. Havens and Bloomberg News editor John Micklethwait said their new initiative would require hiring dozens of reporters.

The company has in recent months hired BBC presenter Emma Barnett as an interviewer for its Quicktake series; Philip Aldrick, former economics editor of the Times of London; Olivia Solon, NBC News technology investigative reporter; and Alex Wickham, editor of Politico’s London Playbook newsletter.

“To some extent we’re kind of hidden in plain sight,” Mr Micklethwait said. “There are other people trying to get into the UK market, but we already have one of the biggest newsrooms in London here.”

Justin Smith said he left Bloomberg Media as chief executive four months ago to launch Semafor, an online publication for college-educated, English-speaking readers around the world. He has teamed up with Ben Smith, a former New York Times media columnist, who will serve as Semafor’s editor. Mr. Micklethwait and Mr. Havens said Semafor, which is expected to begin publishing this year, had no bearing on Bloomberg’s global strategy timeline.

“We don’t necessarily monitor the page on this, but we wish them the best of course,” Mr. Havens said.

Mr. Micklethwait and Mr. Havens, who became chief executives after the departure of Justin Smith, jointly presented the initiative as part of a broader strategy to Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire founder of Bloomberg LP, in December . He responded enthusiastically, Mr. Havens said.

Both executives declined to say how much the company was investing in the effort, but Mr Micklethwait said Mr Havens was spending “large sums of money” on journalists, engineering and marketing for Bloomberg UK. Bloomberg Media’s revenue in 2021 was up 50% from a year earlier, and it grew another 21% in the first quarter of 2022, Havens said.

Bloomberg Media has nearly 400,000 digital subscribers, four years after implementing a paywall on its websites. More than 40% of subscribers are outside the US, with Britain the second biggest market, Mr Havens said.

‘At a time when the UK risks following the US down a path of hyperpartisan and highly sensationalized media – and facing the kind of severe consequences we have seen here in America,’ Mr Bloomberg said. in a press release, “we are expanding our commitment to high quality and factual journalism, with a particular focus on economic and business news.

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