The Free Content movement continues | FirstRain

The Free Content movement continues

I was struck by the juxtaposition of two articles in the last 24 hours
Thomson Reuters plan to take share from Bloomberg and
NYSE releasing real time quotes to the public.

Seemingly unrelated right?

Underlying both is a theme of how the ongoing trend to free content is shaping their competitive strategies and responses.

Thomson Reuters believes it can use price to take Bloomberg market share – Bloomberg being notorious for having fixed pricing and not discounting – and being expensive as a result. And the impact of free web content impacts how users view the terminals:

Neither company has sorted out a strategy for competing with online services. Michael F. Holland, the chairman of Holland & Company and the former chief executive of First Boston’s asset management division, said he can no longer justify a Bloomberg terminal for his current role and often turns to the Web for data. He first used a terminal in the 1980s and remains a fan: “There really is nothing else that’s quite like the Bloomberg,” he said. “From the beginning, it has provided incredible information. But at a very high price.”

And when asked what Google Finance and Yahoo Finance might mean for Bloomberg’s future over time, Mr. Grauer paused. “I don’t know how to answer that,” he said. “I really don’t know how to answer that.”

And John Blossom’s comment in his summary of NYSE’s move is right on:

It is, unfortunately, a familiar refrain in the content industry: major institution covets proprietary content revenues, squeezes them out for as long as possible while the markets move to find both acceptable substitutes and better ways of doing business. Publishing is in essence a very conservative business, so it’s not surprising that NYSE would try to keep this formula going for so long. But in an era when the buyers of securities have and demand information at least as good as most selling institutions failing to serve the buy side in financial markets effectively is to ignore the fundamental shift in the content industry that empowers people with independent access to content from around the world. Your content may seem safe as a proprietary asset, but if it’s not driving your clients’ profits in its most valuable user-defined contexts it is far from a safe bet in today’s content markets.