One thing they don’t say

Revenues also rose 6pc to $10.5bn in 2019, as its terminals business added 2,000 more users, the analysts found. That came despite the percentage of revenues from terminals dropping from 85.2pc to 72.4pc over the period.

The average price of a financial terminal rose by 2.4pc to $1,968, according to Burton-Taylor, with the number of terminals climbing from 265,000 to 332,550 over the past decade.

That’s for a Bloomberg terminal. Crank through those numbers – revenue, times percentage from terminals, divide by number of users – and it’s $2,000 a month, not a year.

Which is, quite clearly, the result of market power and excess profits. But no one does go out there and demand regulation, break up, as they do with Google, Facebook and the rest. Can’t be because Mike himself is a good little cultural lefty, can it?

9 thoughts on “One thing they don’t say”

  1. No it’s ‘cos the customers are banks or hedge funds or whatever and really no one gives a flying one about them.

  2. Last time I looked Bloomberg had 29% market share, slightly less than Thomson Reuters. Fact is there are dozens of financial information providers. Clients have the choice of going with the two big full spectrum providers or going with lower cost specialised providers.

  3. Surely the customers are the customers of the banks and hedge funds, to whom the costs can be passed on very easily. That cost being a rounding error on the fees that the banks and hedge funds charge means there is only homoeopathic competitive incentive to reduce said costs.

  4. @Alex

    I don’t know if it’s still the case but I recall coverage from the big 2 being far from 100%. Attempts to get everyone to use just one provider in order to get a better deal were met with cries of anguish from the folks in different market sectors and geographies where one, the other or both were insufficient.
    The real problem though was the Bloomberg pricing model. We could stomach the terminal price for traders who needed constant access but in other areas where infrequent access was needed the cost per use was truly exorbitant. Needless to say Bloomberg went to great efforts to stop more than one person using a terminal.

  5. BiG

    Philosophical issue there.

    The consumers are the banks etc, all those sweaty twats sitting at their terminals waiting to make a trade on Mrs Miggins’ late husband’s RioTinto shares. Their customers ( ie Mrs Miggins) are the beneficiaries of the information Bloomberg provide. All of which is available free on their TV channel anyway. I worked briefly for one of these info companies in the mid-90s and hated every minute of it, the technology was embarrassingly primitive. I’m surprised that “terminals” still exist with teh Interwebs and stuff making so much of this data accessible elsewhere.

  6. The terminal don’t exist anymore – it’s been a software install onto a PC since the early 2000s. There may have been a hardware dongle involved at some point, but probably not for long.

    Now, this is most likely going to be wildly out of date,but the big point of Bloomberg as opposed to Reuters, was the analytical functions available to the user – which Reuters didn’t have, being just a feed. There was also messaging between users, again, not available on Reuters (or anything else for that matter). I also seem to remember that the base level of access to market data was better than Reuters, and that adding such permissions to a Reuters feed got quite expensive, quite quickly.

    For the analytics, it would have been better to compare Bloomberg to Datastream, instead of Reuters. And Datastream was expensive. I think we were paying 27 large a year for access to a very specific data set and programs at one point. So we built our own and ditched it.

  7. I was involved in stock terminal software for off-the-shelf PCs in the early 1990s, I’m surprised “terminals” lasted so long, we were ripping them out and putting in PCs in HK in 1993.

  8. “Which is, quite clearly, the result of market power and excess profits. But no one does go out there and demand regulation, break up, as they do with Google, Facebook and the rest. Can’t be because Mike himself is a good little cultural lefty, can it?”

    No, it’s because the average columnist knows about Google, Amazon and Facebook because they use them, and that’s about as far as their curiosity stretches. eBay were worse for monopolistic behaviour. It’s only when people like Facebook built marketplace and Amazon did reselling that they had to stop taking the piss so much. They seem desperate to get me to list things for free now.

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