Highlights from WSJ.com managing editor Kevin Delaney’s conversation with Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) Markets CEO Devin Wenig (who, by the way, oversees $8 billion of paid content revenue):
— Reuters.com: Wenig says the company will add “paid services” on top of its news site this year. The site, he says, is getting 30 million unique users a month. As for cannibalization of its other businesses, Wenig says the company would rather have cannibalization come from within its company than from others.
— Consolidation: Obviously, merger activity has fallen off since the Thomson-Reuters deal, but, Wenig predicts merger activity will come back in the sector. “We’re a b-to-b company but marriage of content and distribution has been critical,” he says, adding that others will want to do the same. “Reach and original content production can sit together. I would not be surprised at seeing mergers and acquisitions coming back.” Wenig says the company is still integrating its own big merger so won’t be making “massive acquisitions” of its own, but expect smaller deals — like its purchase of Breakingviews — instead.
— Breakingviews acquisition: “People want ideas,” he says, adding that ThomsonReuters had already been developing a commentary service of its own prior to the acquisition. “In essence we doubled down.” Denig says ThomsonReuters added 150 journalists last year.
— Syndication: Wenig says the company will soon begin to syndicate third-party content and make it available to its customers. “When we talk to clients they say that’s what we need,” he says. As part of that, Wenig says the company will also likely syndicate some local content (although it has no plans to produce local content of its own).
— Thomson Reuters’ labor issues: “We’re not cutting either staff or salaries,” Wenig says, referring to the ongoing labor negotiations which spurred a protest outside of the Times Center today. He says the company is thinking about structuring compensation in order to “play to win.”
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