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‘Downturn the greatest sporting event of all time’

business Updated: Nov 15, 2009 21:28 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

Andrew Lack, CEO multimedia group, Bloomberg LP, is bullish about the Indian economy. Lack, who is responsible for the company's expanding television, interactive, and radio operations, was in India recently. He spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of issues. Edited excerpts:

On the economic downturn

This is the story of my life. This is the story of our lifetime. This is bigger than any story I have had when I was with NBC or CBS. This story of financial turmoil was made in America.

I was too young to cover civil rights, Watergate. I covered the Simpson trial, the Clinton impeachment. But they were nothing like this story. I am lucky to be doing this (covering the economic downturn). This is better than any film. It’s the greatest sporting event of all time.

The big story of the 21st century will be the global economy.

On Bloomberg TV’s India plans

We have made an announcement with UTV. They have great experience here in India. We will leave it to them to make the decisions about what is best for this market place. I know that we have the right partner in UTV. They have a young, talented and energetic group of reporters with style and imagination.

With its 2,200 reporters across world and 145 different bureaus, Bloomberg brings the level of expertise; credibility to the business news space that I hope is helpful to UTV.

On investment in the joint venture with UTV

I wish I could give out the investment figures. Our aim is how we make the best programme with the right players. From the moment I engaged with UTV, I was confident that they would be the right fit for Bloomberg.

On competition in the business news channel space

These are early days. We will see in a few years from now how the market place looks. Bloomberg is a long-term strategic player. Who is in first or second or third (place) is not really important to us. There is certainly room for Bloomberg and UTV to make an impression.

On revenue growth prospects from India

We expect a reasonable growth in the next three-four years. This is a big market. We have come late to the market, but the market is just emerging. This is a dynamic market and there is room for plenty of change. We are in it because we believe there is opportunity. How can you be real global channel without being in India, that’s really the point.

On comparisons between Indian and Chinese media markets

These markets are unique and individual and you can’t make broad statements. I think this market (India) is opening up faster than China. China has largely state-controlled (media). There is only one private (media) enterprise that seems to be developing quite strongly and that’s Shanghai Media. In India there are many, many players already. India is far more competitive.

On technology costs falling

I don’t think its about costs. It is about quality. What Bloomberg brings, very few others can bring. Bloomberg’s business model is not based only on journalism on a standalone basis. It is a diversified company whose core business is in financial information and financial news. I would rather be Bloomberg than any one else in this market space.

On how the downturn has changed the way Bloomberg conducts its business

We are probably one of the few who continued to invest during the downturn because we have such a strong business. That said, the downturn forces you to look hard at your business. For Bloomberg, these periods just provide more opportunity. Bloomberg has a contrarian culture. When the world is looking towards left, Bloomberg is looking towards right. That’s the history of the company. The differentiator for Bloomberg is its global perspective.