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Businessweek toes 'Bloomberg Way'

business Updated: Apr 26, 2010 23:27 IST
Bloomberg L P

When Bloomberg L P bought Businessweek in December, a group of the magazine's writers, who were being transferred to the Bloomberg newswire, attended a two-week training session. They learned that the terminals, costing about $20,000 a year, drove Bloomberg's business; they discovered that the main elevators stop only on the sixth and ninth floors, forcing a manic feeling in the building as employees dash up and down staircases.

One speaker was the head of Bloomberg's "speed desk", who was especially proud, according to people at the meeting, when the desk published a headline seconds ahead of Reuters, and a young trader had made enough money from that lead alone to buy a Hummer.

At Bloomberg News, where writers' salaries are tied, among other factors, to how many "market-moving" articles they have produced, Businessweek is fitting in like — well, like an 80-year-old print magazine in a company that is all about terminals.

As well known as Businessweek is — it has an 80-year history and a circulation of about 918,000 — within Bloomberg, it is just a money-losing print product in a company where profitable terminals are in focus.

Bloomberg bought the magazine from McGraw-Hill for $5 million cash, or 0.079 per cent of Bloomberg’s estimated $6.3 billion in revenue. It is a low-risk bet that Bloomberg hopes will help make its brand more well known and put influential coverage on the all-important terminal.

The redesigned magazine, introduced last week, is meant for busy, fact-seeking readers: the sections are colour-coded, and many articles carry "bottom line" takeaways.

"Now that Bloomberg owns it, it is going to open up a lot of avenues to take advantage of not only Businessweek’s assets, but Bloomberg’s assets as well," said Roberta Garfinkle, director of print strategy for TargetCast tcm.