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Washington Post-Bloomberg Co-Branded Biz Section Goes Live; Worth The Wait?

Some eight months after announcing a partnership for a co-branded online business page, the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) and Bloomberg have finally delivered. The result is a pretty standard, informative business page that seems to make good use of both partners. Some readers will probably skip right by the branding; some probably will be a little confused by the way the business section blends — or doesn’t blend — with the rest of the site.

First Look: The new version was a little glitchy this morning, producing errors instead of editorial at times, but we know all too well that those things can happen. (If it persists, that’s a different issue.) One glitch in the ad over a set of modules with tools and info was a little funny, serving up a double from the New York Times about how it delivers. The size of the ad appears to be dynamic, pushing down the modules for a deeper vertical. I haven’t had a chance to play much with the tools yet.

The mix: You have to be registered to see full articles or use the tools whether they’re from WaPo or Bloomberg. So far, the content is as promised — a blend of both. As I mentioned above, some readers might be confused by the content mix. Some article pages are labeled “Post Business.” A section at the bottom of the business front shows the WaPo logo on the left and Bloomberg on the right. So far, so good. But the WaPo area includes a way to move between WaPo columnists and includes their mugshots, while the Bloomberg list has no toggle or images. Local business news is grouped together but isn’t all WaPo: some is staff, some is labeled Bloomberg, some is from AP but not labeled until you click through.

Mobile: The co-branding is completely missing as best I can tell from the mobile edition and the iPhone app. The mobile edition puts business near the bottom of the sections, below Arts & Living and Entertainment — suggesting fairly or not, that the paper doesn’t see business as a priority of its mobile users.

Pitching the enhanced section: Clicking on some text by an ad running right below the masthead on the front page opens to a promo about the launch; clicking on the ad goes to the business front. A little confusing but gets the message across. Unfortunately, part of that message is close to gibberish: a red arrow pointing readers to the new site with the text Get business driving news today.

One Response to “Washington Post-Bloomberg Co-Branded Biz Section Goes Live; Worth The Wait?”

  1. joecantwell

    It is hard to tell if the Washington Post has a cohesive strategy for covering business. First, the Monday business section was killed. Then, WaPo launched “Capital Business”, a separate subscription-based weekly print publication focused on the metro DC area business community. Now a “Washington Post-Bloomberg” section launches.

    The first move was a cost-cutting step taken in the depths of the newspaper recession. The second move seems like a far too-late effort to steal share from Advance Publications’ Washington Business Journal. This latest offering could be a result of an offer too good to refuse by Bloomberg.

    The Washington Post brand and reporting resources are strong enough to span the entire range of business interests and activity in metro DC (local, regional, national, international, government). All coverage and products should be coming out with the WaPo name.