Bloomberg Plans Convention Dailies

Magazine to rival 'The Washington Post,' Politico

Bloomberg LP is jumping into an area dominated by established media players again—this time with a daily magazine it will produce for the Republican and Democratic conventions.

The daily, called Bloomberg Insider, will run 32 pages per issue and pull from across Bloomberg’s editorial resources, including Bloomberg Government, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg News and Bloomberg View.

The publication is particularly aimed at showcasing Bloomberg Government, a $5,700-a-year, Web-based subscription service that launched last year for lobbyists, government organizations and corporations. BGov has been one of the parent’s most ambitious attempts yet to take its core business of providing markets data to Wall Street traders and applying it to other sectors.

Along with publishing the daily, Bloomberg LP plans to have a bigger presence at the conventions than it has in years past, when, as company lore goes, Bloomberg shared space with Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network. This year, it’ll have dedicated space outside the arenas for press and events.

“The whole decision to do the daily magazine is an outgrowth of the extraordinary expansion of Bloomberg’s presence in Washington over the past couple of years, and reflecting that, a commitment to a much bigger presence at the conventions than we’ve ever contemplated in the past,” said Norman Pearlstine, chief content officer of Bloomberg LP and co-chairman of BGov.

If the daily is deemed successful, Bloomberg LP may look at turning it into a regular weekly publication for the D.C. market, where it would go up against established players like CQ Roll Call, Politico, The HillNational Journal and The Washington Post.

For now, Bloomberg Insider will have plenty of competition at the conventions from those players. This year, Politico is partnering with the Tampa Bay Times and Charlotte Observer to produce 30,000 copies of ad-supported, co-branded convention dailies. It plans to distribute a glossy preview magazine in D.C. on Aug. 3. 

Atlantic Media’s National Journal will distribute 20,000 copies of its magazine daily at the conventions.

The Economist Group’s CQ and Roll Call will produce combined daily publications at the conventions.

Pearlstine said Insider, which will distribute 15,000 copies per day, would stand out with its glossy paper stock, slightly oversized format and local content supplied by American City Business Journals.

Tim Franklin, a Bloomberg News managing editor and former editor of the Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel, will serve as editor. Politics editor Al Hunt will lead the reporting, and Arthur Hochstein, a former longtime art director for Time magazine, will oversee the design.

Copies will be distributed in D.C. as well as at the conventions.

Bloomberg LP reportedly spent $100 million to launch BGov, but it’s not clear whether the service has met expectations. Since it launched, one of the key people behind its development, Chris Walters, has left. The unit also has been reorganized. Bloomberg LP shares subscriber numbers for its core financial news service, but it’s been mute about how many subscribers have signed up for BGov so far.

Pearlstine said Bloomberg was “excited about the reception” the service has gotten but added that it would be a “slow build. This is going to take a while before we have the product we expect to have and the sales we fully expect to get over time.”

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