The change underscores the business news company’s determination to develop its new media platforms. Justin Smith became a digital superstar at Atlantic Media, best known for its respected monthly magazine The Atlantic. Through a series of online initiatives, the former publisher of The Week and head of corporate strategy for The Economist Group helped Atlantic Media connect with audiences who care about ideas as well as news — something that Bloomberg also is trying to do at Bloomberg BusinessWeek and its opinion/op-ed destination Bloomberg View. Smith made the Atlantic a forum for important voices including James Fallows and Andrew Sullivan, and used the magazine’s site as a launching pad for digital ventures including a business news and analysis destination, Quartz, and Defense One. At Bloomberg he’ll report to CEO Daniel Doctoroff and oversee television, print, radio, syndication, mobile, events and digital media properties. “I’ve long admired Bloomberg’s ambitious and entrepreneurial culture, and I look forward to contributing to the company’s march towards becoming the world’s most influential media company,” he says. Former NBC News and Sony Music chief Andy Lack, who ran the operation since 2008, becomes the unit’s chairman.
Journalists at Bloomberg took advantage of the company’s network of market information terminals to spy on a number of users including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, CNBC reports. Access to terminal data revealed to the employees which functions had been accessed and how frequently by clients including Goldman Sachs. One ex-Bloomberg employee admitted to viewing usage info for Bernanke and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; one source inside JP Morgan Chase insists accessing the terminal data led to Bloomberg’s London Whale reportage last year. As many as 315,000 use the Bloomberg terminals.
The Federal Communications Commission announced today that Comcast has to give Bloomberg’s business channel a better spot on the cable giant’s system. The Commission’s Media Bureau, citing conditions of Comcast’s 2011 merger with NBCUniversal, ruled “the news neighborhooding condition requires Comcast to carry all independent news and business news channels in a neighborhood if it places any such programming in a neighborhood of similar programming.”
“We are pleased the FCC had the foresight to include the news neighborhooding condition in the Comcast/NBCU merger order and the willingness to enforce it,” said Greg Babyak, Bloomberg’s Head of Government Affairs after the ruling.
Comcast, on the other hand, was not pleased. “We respectfully disagree with the Media Bureau’s interpretation of the ‘neighborhooding’ condition, which so clearly rewrites the history and any permissible underlying rationale for the condition,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast Communications VP. “We plan to immediately appeal to the full Commission and believe they will agree to enforce only conditions as they were originally negotiated and intended and that the Media Bureau’s mis-interpretation will be overturned.”
In its initial complaint Bloomberg had claimed that Comcast was favoring its own news channels CNBC and MSNBC over others. This was a position that Bloomberg had also expressed when Comcast first began the process of purchasing NBCUniversal back in 2010. Comcast has 60 days to comply with the FCC ruling.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – February 2, 2012 – News Corporation today named Lex Fenwick Chief Executive Officer of Dow Jones & Company. Mr. Fenwick joins Dow Jones from Bloomberg LP, where he spent 25 years, most recently as CEO of Bloomberg Ventures. He will be based in New York and report to Chase Carey, President and COO of News Corporation. His appointment is effective February 13, 2012. He succeeds Les Hinton, who left the Company in July.
“Lex has been a driving force in the financial news and information industry for more than two decades,” commented Mr. Carey. “His aggressive and bold leadership will be invaluable to Dow Jones at a time when digital technologies are making information ever more important. We have a great opportunity to build enormous value around Dow Jones’ unique expertise and franchises.
I’d be stunned if Comcast and Bloomberg TV don’t settle their spat about Bloomberg’s channel position on Comcast cable systems before the FCC has to step in. But for now their saber-rattling makes for entertaining theater about an interesting question: What did the FCC mean when, in approving Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal, it ordered the cable operator not to discriminate against services such as Bloomberg that compete with NBCU channels including CNBC? For example, in Comcast’s system in Hartford, CT dial flippers have to go to channel 178 to find Bloomberg TV but only to channel 60 to find CNBC.
In a letter to Bloomberg today, Comcast says that the complaint is an attempt by “a multi-billion dollar financial services conglomerate that can and should stand on its own two feet in any negotiation to manipulate the FCC process for its own narrow commercial gain.” The FCC, Comcast says, only ordered the cable company not to discriminate in the future – it said nothing about changing channel line-ups that existed before the NBCU deal. If it moved Bloomberg now, Comcast says, then other cable channels would ask for changes. That “would cause significant disruption to consumers and other cable networks beyond anything the FCC contemplated or could reasonably have required.”
But Greg Babyak, Bloomberg’s Head of Government Affairs, says that the FCC “told Comcast that it must include independent news channels, such as Bloomberg TV, in any news neighborhood that it carries …
Broadcasting & Cable today published a long interview with Disney/ABC TV Chief Anne Sweeney (subscription required), and here is what’s interesting:
– The “one piece of talent” on the air whom she doesn’t have currently and wants? Why, the Viscount Of Vapidity: “I was just thinking about Ryan Seacrest, but we just had him for New Year’s Eve. He’s a terrific talent. I think he is the hardest working person in television — I have never seen anyone so committed and do such a great job in every single venue. He produces Jamie Oliver for us, he does New Year’s Eve. He’s a great talent.”
– Jimmy Kimmel has “made a tremendous amount of progress in 7 years”.
– ABC can continue to operate the news division without a 24-hour cable component or merging its news operation. “I think there are many different opportunities out there right now, not just for news but for entertainment as well. If you look at what ABC News did when we collaborated during the election with Facebook, that’s a very interesting distribution platform for news. There are many platforms to consider for news, and I think we need to think expansively as a news division going forward and not limit ourselves to thinking of news as just a broadcast and/or cable play.” But Sweeney acknowledges that “we’ll certainly be talking to [Bloomberg] again”.
– There won’t be as much entertainment vs news division head-butting between Ben Sherwood and Paul Lee as there was between …