Buried in the middle of today's Ad Week story outlining Bloomberg LP's business model is this: They'll lose an estimated $20 million on Businessweek this year. That's fine, of course, since the company makes plenty of money from its other ventures, including the $20,000 annual fee it charges for a subscription to its web-based market-data service — or, as they are more commonly known, the terminals:
Unimaginable at traditional news organizations, where editorial is theoretically insulated from the money side, the terminal permeates every aspect of the Bloomberg culture — from the oversized video screens that display the total number of terminals sold to date and the year-end bonuses based on terminal sales to the very way in which news is disseminated. All news goes out through the terminal first (ahead of the free website), while fully half of all content it distributes is exclusive to subscribers.
As the article notes, at a time when most reporting operations are struggling to survive, Bloomberg is known for "spending like drunken sailors" to populate its shiny, 2,400-person newsroom, though critics point out that much of the work they produce "is not exactly what one would call public-interest journalism. Rather, it is made up of stories geared to making, as one [put it,] “a handful of people even richer." Bloomberg is apparently trying to expand beyond financial news with its Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Government (and, according to frequent rumors, the purchase of a newspaper), but it's safe to say they won't be devoting much effort to making their audience any poorer anytime soon.