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The media portion of Bloomberg’s business is tiny right now, but that could change, as the company tells BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine. One option…

imageThe media portion of Bloomberg’s business is tiny right now, but that could change, as the company tells BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine. One option the company is exploring is potential acquisitions. That would be a new direction for the financial news and data provider, which has built all its media properties in-house. As Norm Pearlstine, Bloomberg’s chief content officer, says: “We’re just sort of saying: ‘Hey, we’re looking for good ideas.’”

As for ginning up good ideas at its existing units, Dan Doctoroff, the company’s president, concedes that the TV operation is “not what it should be.” And while he adds that “We have the pieces…to create something new and different,” he’s not about to reveal any details. As it stands, the media business brings in less than 10 percent of Bloomberg’s estimated $5.4 billion in overall revenue.

Finally challenging CNBC: While there has been a lot of focus on the match-up between CNBC and the fledgling Fox Business Network, it’s worth noting that Bloomberg reaches 58 million U.S. homes, still higher than FBN’s 43 million. Doctoroff expects that number to rise to 70 million by ’09, though it will continue to be outpaced by CNBC’s access to 90 million U.S. homes. As we recently noted, Bloomberg has struck a deal with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV Ads, which serves targeted ads to EchoStar’s 14 million households. This month, after a short stint at Sony (NYSE: SNE) BMG, former NBC exec Andy Lack was brought on to coordinate programming efforts for Bloomberg TV, just as the demand for financial news has increased.

Not just for terminals: The bulk of Bloomberg’s revenues come from the $1,500 monthly rentals of its financial data terminals. But the company also wants to revamp Bloomberg.com. Even less detail was offered here, though Doctoroff suggests that the site could capitalize on newspapers’ dire situation by offering increased content services. But as Fine points out, it’s unlikely that Bloomberg will be offering local business news. In any case, Doctoroff says the changes to the site’s operation will become clear sometime in the second half of ’09.

Hear more about Bloomberg’s plans during a keynote Q&A with Norm Pearlstine, chief content officer of Bloomberg, at our Future of Business Media conference on Oct. 28 in NYC.

  1. It's not surprising that the FBC is edging up on CNBC, given that Murdoch – as proven with Fox News – is willing to lose money in the short term to control the message long-term.

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  2. One of the great mysteries to me when I was covering NY media was why Bloomberg Tv was not reaching it's potential. Aside from Political Capital, there was really nothing "must-see" on in that vast expanse between the time the markets closed and the markets opened. Considering all the talent — and money — at Bloomberg, this entirely mystified me. It still does. I wonder if it was the fact that Bloomberg is not a public company and didn't have the pressures of stockholders that contributed to the somewhat "lazy" feel of the programming at BloombergTV.

    Let's hope Andy Lack can unleast some of that vast potential for good programming on the economy. Lord knows we will need it to navigate the coming years.

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  3. Political Capital = Al Hunt's "Political Capital"

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