Details and an assessment of new Bloomberg newsletters
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Here are some details/opinions related to the launch of Bloomberg’s newsletter business, which was officially unveiled on Monday.
1. The newsletters are the result of work done by a hybrid news/sales/development team within Bloomberg that formed several years ago.
The economics newsletter will have 250 issues a year, or about 20 per month.
3. Bloomberg is offering four-week trials to potential subscribers. If you don’t like the newsletter after four weeks, you can cancel your subscription at no cost.
4. The sample issue of the hedge fund newsletter that Talking Biz News reviewed was 10 pages long. Some of the content was republished from Bloomberg stories and not original content. For example, I found this story in the Sept. 7 issue of the hedge fund newsletter had already appeared on Bloomberg.
5. The top two stories in the M&A newsletter from Sept. 10 that we reviewed were written by data analysts, not journalists. Also, the data charts in this newsletter seemed to mimic data charts I’ve seen for the past decade plus in various M&A newsletters published by Charlottesville, Va.-based SNL Financial. (DISCLOSURE: I used to oversee the insurance newsletters and then was editor in chief of all publications at SNL from 1999 to 2002.)
6. The economics newsletter includes snippets from interviews done by well-known Bloomberg personality Tom Keene. Again, this is content that is being repackaged.
7. The newsletters have a nice, clean look to them. The graphics are colorful. The 13F breakdown in the hedge fund newsletter can and should be repeated using other SEC filings in other newsletters.
The story about the newsletters first appeared in Monday’s Financial Times. A former employee of the team that created the newsletters told Talking Biz News that such a targeted story placement by Bloomberg’s PR department was not a surprise because they were “certainly conscious of managing how info got out about the group. FT subscribers are exactly the kind of international crowd (that has already shown willingness to spend big bucks on their news) to whom they’re presumably aiming these newsletters.”
Conclusion: The financial newsletter business is a crowded market that includes Bloomberg’s major competitors — Dow Jones and Reuters. Bloomberg needs to find newsletter content areas that don’t overlap and use its data to its advantage. That will make these newsletters successful.
The three years I spent at SNL operating part of its newsletter business and the lifetime of helping my family run a niche newsletter (where I am now on the masthead as managing editor) now in its 34th year of publication showed me that this business can be incredibly lucrative, if done correctly. It is also a manpower intensive business.
The content, however, has to be unique. If subscribers feel that they can get the content elsewhere, they won’t buy no matter how nice the newsletter looks.