Bloomberg is Planning Big Changes to Businessweek

Representing yet another relaunch and redesign of the magazine

Subscription News: Bloomberg is Planning Big Changes to Businessweek

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Earlier this month, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait and Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith sent a memo to staff advising them of “deep change” coming to the magazine, reports Folio. Some of the changes include a relaunch of the magazine to occur in the second quarter of 2017 and a reorganization and possible consolidation of staff.

The relaunch will be led by Megan Murphy, the new editor-in-chief at Bloomberg Businessweek. Previously, Murphy served as Bloomberg’s Washington Bureau chief. Murphy replaces Ellen Pollock who has been editor-in-chief since October 2015. Her departure was first reported by the Washington Post. Deputy Editor Brian Wieners is being replaced by Otis Bilodeau, says Media Post.

Folio quotes the staff memo:

Subscription News: Bloomberg is Planning Big Changes to Businessweek

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

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“To step back, BBW, for all its successes, faces some deep challenges. The magazine is not integrated enough into the rest of our editorial operations. And BBW’s business model has also not evolved as quickly as the market around it – and does not have enough of a focus on digital innovation,” said the memo.

“The revenue model is still too reliant on declining print advertising rather than digital or multi-platform subscriber revenue. We don’t feel that the franchise fully reflects the scale of Bloomberg’s global presence.”

In the staff memo, reprinted by Politico, Micklethwait and Smith more to better integrate Businessweek’s journalists with the rest of the newsroom, so the content can be more targeted on business and finance with a greater focus on global and digital coverage. Other goals of the reorganization include shifting away from print advertising revenue, growing digital subscription revene and expanding live events.

Michlethwait and Smith asked for the Businessweek’s staff support in its new direction:

Subscription News: Bloomberg is Planning Big Changes to Businessweek

Source: Politico

According to Folio, the day following the initial memo, Bloomberg announced other changes in memos to staff:

Bloomberg Politics: With the conclusion of the presidential election, coverage will shift toward a more global focus and international content which will include a new website, reports Folio. The changes will also include more coverage of Europe and Asia.

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, who co-manage and edit Bloomberg Politics will cease working at Bloomberg full-time. Also, their program, ‘With All Due Respect,’ will stop airing after December 2. It is not clear what roles, if any, Heilemann and Halperin will hold moving forward.

Media Post reports that Bloomberg will launch a new TV show in February which will focus on the new administration’s policies on global politics, business and finance.

Bloomberg Markets: Approximately 30 staff members were laid off from Bloomberg Markets. In addition to reorganization of the Markets team, Bloomberg will publish a new blog, ‘Markets Live,’ led by Mike Regan, that will give 24-hour commentary on market news.

The Washington Bureau: Bloomberg’s Washington bureau is also undergoing changes with Wes Kosova returning to his post as Washington bureau chief, which was vacated by Murphy who is now editor-in-chief of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Additional changes were announced yesterday, including the departure of Michelle Bosso, publisher of Businessweek since last March, says Media Post. Instead, it is creating a publishing director role which will be responsible for business operations for the brand.

Insider Take:

Bloomberg purchased Businessweek from McGraw-Hill in 2009 for an estimated $5 million plus the assumption of $31.9 million or so in debt, according to the New York Times. The magazine was in trouble financially, and Bloomberg was able to save it, giving Businessweek the Bloomberg brand while giving Bloomberg a consumer magazine with subscription and advertising revenue.

Since purchasing Businessweek, Bloomberg has relaunched it several times. In April 2010, Bloomberg did a major redesign of the magazine, says Folio. ┬áIn February 2012, Bloomberg relaunched to better match the magazine’s brand, says Ad Week. In January 2015, Bloomberg again redesigned its Businessweek website, says Nieman Lab, calling it “fresh, colorful, and not a little bit dizzying.”

The print magazine is going through another relaunch, designed to reflect the new direction Bloomberg wants to take Businessweek in. Like other publishers, they have been forced to consolidate, reorganize and diversify revenue to stay afloat. Will this relaunch finally be the major overhaul Businessweek needs to succeed?