September 26, 2010 5:19 pm

Bloomberg revamps magazine to widen audience

Bloomberg is overhauling the magazine it has sent to customers for the last 18 years, hoping to find a wider audience beyond the users of its black financial data terminals.

The new Bloomberg Markets magazine went to the printers at the weekend with a new design, record advertising revenue and a jump from 315,000 to 355,000 in its “rate base” – the circulation it promises advertisers.

The relaunch forms part of a company-wide effort to broaden Bloomberg’s audience, which has seen the private US company rethink its financial television news offering and buy Business Week, hoping that the print weekly would extend its reach from trading rooms to boardrooms and to the corridors of power in Washington.

Michael Dukmejian, brought in last year to be the first dedicated publisher of Bloomberg Markets, said he could not discuss whether the magazine was profitable, but added: “A lot of the effort is about growing the Bloomberg franchise.”

The November edition was carrying 76 per cent more advertising than a year earlier, at 120 pages, Mr Dukmejian said, bringing the title to a 30 per cent increase in advertising pages for the year to date.

The new issue carries campaigns from carmakers, luxury goods groups and brands as diverse as Gulfstream and Bank of America.

The expanded rate base will come in part from growth in Bloomberg’s terminal numbers, which have recovered to a new peak of 287,500.

However, Mr Dukmejian said the group was also pushing to expand news stand and subscription sales from their past levels of under 10 per cent of circulation.

“Our goal is never to get too big, but I think there’s probably a threshold for this magazine in the 400 to 450 or 500 [thousand circulation] range,” Mr Dukmejian said.

Ronald Henkoff, the magazine’s editor, said that after a period in which many US business titles retrenched to focus on their home market, half of the Bloomberg Markets’ circulation was outside the US.

Recent cover stories have featured billionaires from China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The magazine – which began as a guide to the Bloomberg terminal’s functions – has expanded to draw from 14 of its own reporters and almost 1,600 Bloomberg News reporters around the world.

Wealth management and careers sections have been added to the new design.

Articles still end with guides to features on the Bloomberg terminal, however, and Mr Henkoff said its research showed that 70 per cent of readers go to the terminal straight after reading the magazine.

The average reader spends more than eight hours a day on a Bloomberg terminal, Mr Henkoff added.

“This is maybe the only magazine I know of that was born out of the digital world,” Mr Dukmejian said.

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