Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bloomberg enters B2G, Input enters Wall Steet - take 3

Among others, Talking Biz News reported in January that Bloomberg was preparing to launch a competitor to Congressional Quarterly (aka CG, not to be confused with GQ, if that is still around). The other publications in that arena is the National Journal, The Hill and Roll Call.

Each of these news services/publications is quite expensive, so the circulation base (# of subscribers) was never huge.

CQ is currently owned by the Roll Call Group. I had the opportunity to consult with the original owner, Congressional Quarterly, on the waning circulation of the publication several years back. When I went to my first meeting there, they were trying to grow the circulation base for the publication while it was shrinking. The web was providing much of the news previously not available to the general public. This was several years back: factor in now the use of all the web 2.0 tools and news sources and the ability to get the info without the expensive publications is very real.

My advice back then was to shore up the base rather than to look for new subscribers. The logic was simple: after many years of publishing, they had exhausted most of the sources for new subscribers. The best use of the marketing funds was to keep those who were already subscribers and try to get those back who had recently cancelled. These publications, while fun and interesting, are difficult to sell on a one-to-one basis.

The market for exclusive information sources is shrinking because the "exclusivity" of the information is disappearing - there are literally hundreds of web-based sources that are free or cheap providing similar information.

The key is adding value for the subscriber. Bloomberg will certainly be able to add value considering the number of information sources it has to draw on, including BusinessWeek and the other Bloomberg sources.

In the meantime, Input has not been idle. On February 8 they announced the launch of Government Investing Advisor (GovIA). Quoting form the press release, Gov IA is "a new research offering designed to deliver unique data and insights to the investing community on government spending and contractor activity. Available immediately to subscribers, GovIA provides hard-to-find information and insight on the largest, publicly traded companies serving government, as well as government market data, spending analysis and forecasts."

To focus on this market Input hired Julie Santoriello Chariell as Vice President of Financial Services. She is a financial industry analyst formerly of Morgan Stanley.

Federal Sources is not sitting and waiting either. In a conversation with Ray Bjorklund Friday afternoon, he indicates Federal Sources is focusing on the core business of making their clients successful in their pursuit of government business. Sounds like a good move.

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