OLD Media Moves

The Economist looks at Bloomberg vs. Reuters

December 8, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush

The latest edition of The Economist examines why Reuters has been losing market share to Bloomberg and what could happen with its new CEO.

The Economist writes, “The revenues of the professional division of Thomson Reuters grew by 10% in the year to the third quarter, but those of the markets division—which provides financial data and services, and accounts for more than half of total sales—managed only 1%. Last year that division launched a new information platform, Eikon, to compete with the terminals offered by Bloomberg, but just 8,000 customers have taken it up. The company has 400,000 financial-data subscribers in all.

“Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg are the big fish in the professional-publishing pond, at least eight times larger than their nearest competitor. Bloomberg, besides expanding its terminals business, which has over 300,000 customers (at about $20,000 a pop), is pushing into government-related news and data. In 2010 it launched Bloomberg Government, which competes with Congressional Quarterly, a sister company of The Economist. In September it made its biggest purchase ever, spending $990m on BNA, a legal- and tax-information firm.

“So what happened to Mr Glocer’s winning streak? His allies say his departure was always just a matter of time: once a firm buys another, it completes the takeover by putting its own people in charge. The Thomson family still owns 55% of the company, and some think the generous price Mr Glocer secured from Thomson for Reuters made him all the more vulnerable.

“But he might have stayed longer were it not for a mix of bad luck and overconfidence. Eikon, intended to replace Reuters’ grab bag of services with a single offering, was designed to be more user-friendly than Bloomberg’s devices, but it was launched hastily and with flaws. With hindsight, a more gradual upgrade might have been more prudent.”

Read more here.

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