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May 12, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:19am

Bloomberg bets big on London with major editorial expansion to rival UK’s ‘often partisan’ press

By Dominic Ponsford

Bloomberg Media is doubling down on the success of its growing consumer subscriptions business in the UK with a major London expansion.

The multi-million-pound investment in Bloomberg UK is said to be a long-term commitment by the privately-owned financial news and information giant. It includes a new UK homepage, podcast, newsletter, audio/video content and extensive editorial hires.

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

According to Press Gazette’s latest 100k Club news subscription data, Bloomberg has 385,000 website subscribers versus the FT’s 1m total (this is aside from Bloomberg’s core financial terminals business).

Meanwhile, rival agency Reuters – which also has a consumer media business and a major London newsroom – has delayed plans for a paywall because of a legal dispute with information provider Refinitiv.

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Bloomberg senior executive editor for EMEA David Merritt and chief digital officer Julia Beizer spoke to Press Gazette on the eve of the launch.

Merritt said: “We are well known to anyone in the City and within the walled garden of Bloomberg terminals, but the consumer audience is not where we think it should be.”

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Merritt, a 22-year veteran with the brand, said editorial thinking within the UK newsroom is now changing. “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.”

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

“We see a gap in the market,” Merritt added when asked what Bloomberg can offer British audiences. “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.”

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

She added: “We had 30% 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.”

Recent new hires by Bloomberg UK include:

  • Tanzeel Akhtar (crypto)
  • Philip Aldrick (economics)
  • Emma Barnett (Bloomberg Quicktake interview series)
  • Aisha Gani (fintech)
  • Julian Harris (UK business editor)
  • Emily Nicolle (crypto)
  • Conrad Quilty-Harper (UK digital editor)
  • Olivia Solon (technology)
  • Victoria Wakely (UK national editor)
  • Alex Wickham (government)
  • And  Adrian Wooldridge (Opinion).

Bloomberg’s established roster of UK writers already includes Stephanie Flanders (economics), Alberto Nardelli (government) and Akshat Rathi (climate).

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.”

Bloomberg has some 500 journalists and analysts based in London. The UK is its second biggest market outside the US.

Bloomberg 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.”

Photo credit: Nigel Young/Foster+Partners

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