Online, Bloomberg Surpasses Reuters

Source (September, 2012): From the Census Bureau's American Community Survey for 2011, median household income
Source (September, 2012): From the Census Bureau's American Community Survey for 2011, median household income

Reuters has a new online challenger, at least in terms of audience size. Terminal sales rival Bloomberg now has more monthly unique visitors than Reuters, in an arena in which Reuters has prized its size. And Reuters may not have an easy way to win back its place.

According to February comScore Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) data, monthly unique visitors to Bloomberg sites reached 11.7 million. The Reuters number was 11.3 million, about the same as CNNMoney's.

The gain in Bloomberg is unexpected in many quarters. Its website is barely a website at all by current standards - hardly more than a collection of headlines. The Bloomberg BusinessWeek site at least carries the hallmarks of a site that has benefited from some design elements and thoughtfulness toward the reader.

The Reuters primary site, on the other hand, is photo and video rich, and designed for broad consumer access. It bristles with social media features meant to draw traffic from the Web 2.0 universe.

The move of Bloomberg to its current perch might be attributed to it huge news gathering organization, made up of hundreds and hundreds of reporters, writers and editors around the world. This force has as its primary goal to create content for Bloomberg terminal subscribers who make up almost all of the company's revenue. The Bloomberg sites get a tremendous benefit from this news enterprise.

The competition between Bloomberg and Reuters has played out almost completely in the terminal sales business, in which Bloomberg has taken more than a modest lead. Observers often have questioned why the two companies have any substantial presence on the consumer Internet at all, and the industrywide drop in adverting rates makes the question more pertinent. Trading terminal market share and revenue are much, much closer to the heart of the success of each. Perhaps the two companies suppose there is a benefit to use of the news content overflow as a means to feed online presences. But whether that gives either an advantage in terminal sales is doubtful.

If bragging rights in online audience means anything at all in the financial services world, Bloomberg has a small edge, which likely gets it nothing of value.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Internet Tagged: featured, SCOR