Inside All Things Bloomberg…

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman does his best Gabriel Sherman impersonation and turns in a must read on Mike Bloomberg and his media empire…

In a way, Bloomberg LP is like Google: It has one wildly successful business model (selling data to banks in the case of Bloomberg; search in the case of Google). Efforts to expand beyond the core business of leasing terminals to financial firms have failed to produce similar results. In recent years, Bloomberg has grown through international expansion into emerging markets. But the company faces some challenges. Under CEO for multimedia Andrew Lack, Bloomberg Television has failed to eat into CNBC’s audience. Last year, talks to partner Bloomberg TV with ABC News broke down. Bloomberg has tried to attract stars, including offering CNBC’s David Faber a mid-six-figure deal. Bloomberg also went after the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin. Neither could be swayed. Part of the problem is that Winkler remains resistant to adopting some of the entertainment values that could attract an audience. Last year, producers inserted a clip from The Princess Bride into a segment about the wild volatility in the market. “Winkler went batshit,” one person familiar with the matter said. “He wrote out a note saying that we shouldn’t mix fiction with news.” (“I think news should always be about the facts,” Winkler says. “You shouldn’t mix fiction with nonfiction; it’s oil and water.”)

Senior executives have discussed getting out of the domestic-television business, but the idea went nowhere; Doctoroff says they’re staying the course. “It fits into the strategy of broader distribution, which helps us to gain greater influence, which helps us to gain greater access, which helps us to generate market-moving, exclusive content, which helps us to sell terminals, which we then reinvest back in our media properties.”


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