If you've seen a bit of Bloomberg TV or heard Bloomberg Radio or been in front of one of its terminals, you may have recently wondered: Why isn't it doing more with what it has?
Its reporters are some of the fastest moving on the web, and know data better than most covering the news industry.
So what might today's announcement that news industry veteran Norm Pearlstine is becoming "chief content officer" of Bloomberg mean?
My quick take:
* Right now, Bloomberg derives almost all its revenues from Corporate markets. With Pearlstine at the hub, it plainly will look at leveraging its assets beyond Corporate, most directly to B2C markets. I hear that has made recent forays into Legal markets as well, competing with Reed Elsevier's LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters' West Publishing.
* Key question is one familiar to all legacy news companies. Can it keep its grip on stable (in this case, installed terminal) revenue, while competing in markets new to it. It faces risk of commoditizing its core business, unless it executes a Free Web B2C strategy smartly.
* Business advertising draws among the highest CPM rates, more than $100 CPM for business news video and above $50 CPM for graphical ads, for high-branded content. But the overall pie of online business news ad revenue is still small -- that's why News Corp decided against eliminating wsj.com subscription wall. There's simply not enough money in web business news advertising to make up its online sub revenue loss.
* Pearlstine's experience tells us that this is all about leveraging the content assets across all modern media platforms. So expect Bloomberg to go where the growth is -- advertising. Web advertising is still growing around a 20 per cent rate, and Bloomberg should cash in there.
* The new Bloomberg view should be more global. According to Outsell research numbers, it drives 47% of its revenues from the US, 38% from EMEA and only 10% from Asia. Asia should be bigger. So look for Bloomberg to become a more global player, both through acquisition and greater use of partner distribution channels.
In sum, I think there are three words that define the Pearlstine announcement:
Bloomberg sees a similar opportunity as Rupert Murdoch saw in buying Dow Jones -- the global business news opportunity leveraged over all platforms. Today's announcement means more competition for Dow Jones -- and Time Warner's business magazines, McGraw Hill's Business Week, Forbes, the New York Times and the Financial Times.
Let the new business games begin.