Memo to Mike Bloomberg: Buy CNN
BuzzFeed business editor Peter Lauria argues that Michael Bloomberg, now that he is back running his data and media company, should purchase CNN.
Lauria writes, “Bloomberg the man’s return to Bloomberg the company coincides with a confluence of events in the media business that are screaming out for a mega-rich empire builder to add a few bricks to his kingdom. Notably, his company has been diversifying away from its lucrative but maturing — if not declining — terminal business. It has been building up the news side of its operation, which traditionally just fed hardcore financial news through its terminals to investors, to include magazines, a new politics website led by John Heileman and Mark Halperin and, as Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith told the Times, ‘a portfolio of content brands, born of the web but on different kinds of media platforms,’ among them television, digital video, print, online, and even radio.
“This is a lofty notion. In reality, Bloomberg TV has been something of an orphan asset inside the company. Its ratings are so small as to not qualify for measurement by Nielsen, and as a lone cable network without sister channels with which to bundle and sell to cable distributors commands only 7 cents per subscriber per month, according to figures provided to BuzzFeed for a story on the network last November. By comparison, CNBC collects upwards of 30 cents and Fox Business collects around 13 cents per subscriber per month.
“It just so happens, however, that just a few blocks west of Bloomberg’s shiny Manhattan digs on 57th Street and Lexington Avenue, another media conglomerate has also found itself in the midst of a transition.
“Time Warner announced just last week that it would embark on a voluntary buyout program with the aim of reducing its workforce at Turner Broadcasting, whose networks include TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, CNN and HLN, by 6%. The move is being undertaken as part of a strategic growth plan to show investors that it was justified in rejecting Rupert Murdoch’s unsolicited roughly $80 billion takeover offer for the company. Despite Murdoch’s protestations that he is no longer interested in a deal, many believe he is waiting on the sidelines to see if Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes can execute on his plan and get its stock price to the $85 per share level that Murdoch initially offered.”
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