Posted by Dale Buss on November 9, 2009 02:16 PM
Bloomberg LP rebounded from last year’s crash strong enough to be able to pick through the detritus of this year’s media crash and buy venerable but struggling BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill.
Now, to revive the brand, Econsultancy reports Bloomberg execs hope to follow The Economist’s model – and leave behind BusinessWeek’s also-ailing segment mates, Forbes and Fortune.
Bloomberg reportedly plans to boost the page count of the magazine, upgrade the paper stock, double the number of stories, broaden its global coverage, charge subscribers more for the print versions and add Bloomberg to its name.
Probably more significant for the long term, Bloomberg’s chief content officer, Norman Pearlstine, apparently plans to keep most BusinessWeek stories free online but create deep vertical areas of content for which readers would have to pay fees. This is the basic approach The Economist has used on its way toward a hugely increased presence in the U.S. market.
Given that few in the media business have figured out how to monetize content on the web, there’s no guarantee that Bloomberg will succeed with BusinessWeek (who partners with brandchannel's parent Interbrand for the annual Best Global Brands).
Under Pearlstine’s guidance, it’s got a good shot. As managing editor of The Wall Street Journal during the 1980s, he presided over some glory years. He was less successful afterward as editor in chief of Time for a decade.
But with finance news sites like the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times showing some success with gated content, you’d think a mainstream US business magazine – especially the venerable “bible” of the segment in BusinessWeek – might be able to crack the code for making online content pay.