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Bloomberg in major London editorial expansion

Reuters rival Bloomberg is doubling down on its growing consumer subscriptions business in the UK in a bid to become the country's main destination for business and financial news.

Based in London from its founding in 1851 until its 2008 takeover by the Thomson organisation, Reuters has a major UK newsroom but has delayed plans for a paywall because of a legal dispute with its largest client Refinitiv, its former terminals and data business now owned by the London Stock Exchange.


Bloomberg’s investment in the UK is said to be a long-term commitment. It includes a new UK homepage, podcast, newsletter, audio/video content and extensive editorial hires.


The US-based financial news and information firm has some 500 journalists and analysts based in London.


Executives told Press Gazette they believe there is room in the UK market for “unbiased” news and business coverage without “confected controversies”.


The media site reckons Bloomberg has 385,000 website subscribers in addition to its core financial terminals business.


Two senior Bloomberg executives who spoke to Press Gazette on the eve of the launch said the privately-held firm’s consumer audience is not where it should be.


“We always asked ourselves what does the global reader think about this, now we are going to ask a different question - which is how to drive the agenda in Britain,” said David Merritt, a senior executive editor.


Bloomberg is targeting a broad UK consumer audience including those “broadly interested in business, making money or aspiring to own their own business”, Merritt said.


“We see a gap in the market. A lot of the British press, if not all, is very often partisan. We’ve got a reputation we’ve built up over many years as the most unbiased and accurate news in the marketplace.


“Our peers have a different way of reporting on business, increasingly based on what I would call confected controversies. That leaves a space for Bloomberg to occupy.”


Chief digital officer Julia Beizer said that following extensive research of Bloomberg’s existing UK audience, two key findings were found. “They want an unbiased source of information. They want news that will help them get ahead personally and professionally.”


She added: “We had 30 per cent growth in UK market in terms of subscriptions in the last year alone. We believe there’s more opportunity if we can better serve the needs of people in the UK as opposed to just the finance community.”


Asked what Bloomberg’s investment says about the post-Brexit status of London and the UK, Merritt said: “It’s becoming clear that London is going to stay the financial capital of Europe for the foreseeable future. Bloomberg’s broad investment in London is justified by that. It’s the place where people convene, invest and raise money.


“We tend to follow capital markets - where money is flowing and being raised - and that continues to be here.”


Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg said in a statement: “The investment we are making in Bloomberg UK reflects our optimism about the nation’s future and our commitment to supporting its economic growth and strengthening its civic traditions. By creating good jobs in British journalism and providing the news and information decision-makers need, we will do our part to help the UK remain a force in the world for stability, prosperity and democracy.”


Editor-in-chief John Micklethwait said: “Our goal is to become the main destination for business and financial news in Britain.


“As you would expect, we will have plenty of coverage of the financial world - but we are also widening our lens beyond the City to chart the future of British business in all its forms, telling the story of the new industries and startups that are reshaping post-Brexit Britain as well as the big beasts of the FTSE 100.” ■

Press Gazette