Bloomberg LP made its founder a billionaire by selling financial data and leasing its terminals to trading desks worldwide. The company’s media presence is expanding. Last year, Bloomberg News scooped the story of the Fed’s trillion-dollar bailout. The purchase of Businessweek and the formation of the editorial arm Bloomberg View are creating a wider scope for the media empire.
The company’s mission is to become “the most influential” news service. According to New York magazine, its $5 million purchase of Businessweek was a means to that end, as the newly titled Bloomberg Business Week shows up weekly on the desks of business people around the nation, tapping new audiences. CEOs, the thinking went, would be more likely to give interviews to Bloomberg reporters first.
The New York Times is often raised as another possible Bloomberg purchase. New York Magazine reports that Bloomberg insiders say it’s more likely he would by The Financial Times because it’s less expensive and a better fit with existing businesses. CEO and president Dan Doctoroff discounted the notion, telling New York, “There’s no need for us to buy a newspaper. And I think if you look at how we’re succeeding and the measure that we care about more than anything else—which is gaining influence—we’re on our way to get where we want.”
One thing the company lacks is the political identity of the Times. That is one of the reasons Bloomberg View, an online editorial page, was created. Its offices are situated at Bloomberg’s foundation, away from its news organization. Bloomberg reportedly told his editors, David Shipley and Jamie Rubin (who was fired last fall) that as long as they published “pro-freedom” and “pro-capitalist” pieces, he wouldn’t have any quarrel with it.
Not every Bloomberg media venture is wildly successful. Bloomberg TV comes up short when compared to CNBC. Big names like CNBC’s David Farber and the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin have declined hiring overtures. Part of the problem, according to New York magazine, is editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler’s ‘just the facts’ style of journalism. Winkler, angry at staffers for once adding a clip from The Princess Bride to a segment, reportedly said, “You shouldn’t mix fiction with nonfiction; it’s oil and water.”