Bloomberg aims to compete directly with the British press

Bloomberg Media has decided to aggressively woo a British audience, the first pole of a reorganized global strategy for the economic news giant.

On Wednesday night, executives unveiled a firm they hope will generate $ 100 million in annual revenue: Bloomberg UK, a brand set to compete directly with The Financial Times and The Sunday Times, key elements of British business journalism.

Bloomberg UK will include a website, a weekly Bloomberg Quicktake video series profiling British journalists, a podcast on the City of London and a summit this year on the future of British business.

Bloomberg has been in the UK market for three decades, but the new venture is a targeted approach to an untapped audience of at least seven million in the “professional and affluent space,” said M. Scott Havens, chief executive of Bloomberg Media.

It is the first hint of a new international strategy for Bloomberg, which has 176 offices hosting its 2,700 journalists and analysts. By creating regional editions in promising markets where it already has an editorial footprint, executives hope to raise new dollars without spending on establishing a new location.

Bloomberg UK will use the hundreds of journalists who already work in Bloomberg’s London newsroom, which is housed in a state-of-the-art office construction opened five years ago in the financial district. In an interview, Mr. Havens and John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, said their new venture would require the hiring of dozens of reporters.

The company has hired BBC presenter Emma Barnett as an interviewer for its Quicktake series in recent months; Philip Aldrick, former Times of London economics editor; Olivia Solon, an NBC News tech investigation reporter; and Alex Wickham, the editor of the London Playbook about Politics.

“To some extent, we’re hiding in plain sight,” Micklethwait said. “There are other people trying to break into the UK market, but we already have one of the biggest newsrooms in London here.”

Justin Smith said he would leave Bloomberg Media as CEO four months ago to get started stoplight, an online publication aimed at college-educated English-speaking readers around the world. He partnered with Ben Smith, a former media columnist for the New York Times, who will serve as chief editor of Semafor. Micklethwait and Havens said Semafor, which is due to begin publishing this year, had no bearing on the timing of Bloomberg’s global strategy.

“We’re not necessarily looking at the pages on this, but we wish them the best, of course,” said Mr. Havens.

Mr. Micklethwait and Mr. Havens, who became CEO after Justin Smith’s resignation, jointly launched the initiative as part of a broader strategy at Bloomberg LP’s founding billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg in December. He responded enthusiastically, Mr. Havens said.

Both executives declined to say how much the company was investing in the effort, but Mr. Micklethwait said Mr. Havens was spending “large sums of money” on journalists, engineering and marketing for Bloomberg UK. Bloomberg Media’s revenue in 2021 was up 50% from the previous year and increased by a further 21% in the first quarter of 2022, Havens said.

Bloomberg Media has nearly 400,000 digital subscribers, four years after installing a paywall on its websites. More than 40 percent of subscribers are located outside the United States, with Britain the second largest market, Havens said.

“At a time when the UK is at risk of following the US on a media path that is hyperpartisan and highly sensationalized – and suffer the kind of severe consequences that we have seen here in America,” Bloomberg said in a statement. notes, “We are expanding our commitment to high-quality, fact-based journalism focusing primarily on business and business news.”