February 27, 2012
Crain's New York Business
Bloomberg LP pushes NEXT platform
The data giant has launched an easier-to-use version of its terminal. Its goal is to get all of its 313,000 terminals converted to the new version by the end of the year.
Bloomberg LP has launched Bloomberg NEXT, an easier-to-use version of the market data, news and analytics service on its namesake terminals, the company announced at a press conference in Manhattan Monday morning.
Though billed as the company's most significant announcement in recent years and the unveiling of a major evolution of the Bloomberg platform, Monday's news was not exactly new: NEXT began rolling out to terminal clients in September, and has already been adopted by 110,000 of the company's 313,000 subscribers.
The goal now, company executives said, is to get all 313,000 terminals converted to the new version by the end of the year.
Though Bloomberg has not raised prices for the new service, NEXT could help the company build customer loyalty at an intensely competitive time for financial data providers. Portfolio managers, investment bankers and others who use market data products are watching their costs—a single Bloomberg terminal can cost more than $20,000 a year—leaving providers to battle for market share.
In 2011, Bloomberg edged into first place, capturing 30.44% market share to long time leader Thomson Reuters 30.05%, according to a report released last week by Burton-Taylor International Consulting. Overall, market data and analytics services make up a $25 billion industry.
“Bloomberg can move faster than other companies [to develop a new service] for the simple reason that they have one product,” said Douglas B Taylor, managing partner of Burton-Taylor.
Developed at a cost of more than $100 million, NEXT has been designed to make the terminal's notoriously complex system easier and faster to use, with a more intuitive approach to the service's vast number of applications. Users trying to figure out bond prices, for example, will be supplied with answers as well as the research that went into them, rather than have to figure out the answers themselves.
The new service also has a more powerful search engine. Users can also access different functions without interrupting their workflow.
“We enhanced our discoverability,” said Founding Partner Thomas Secunda, acknowledging that for all that the terminal offers, it has not always been easy to use. “We're an organically grown system, but even an organically grown system can get out of touch.”
An easier-to-use terminal marks a big change for Bloomberg, one analyst says, noting that smart phones and the iPad have raised expectations for a more personalized and intuitive user experience.
“This is not your father's Bloomberg terminal,” said Laurie Berke, a principal at the TABB Group research firm. “This is a big leap.”
by Matthew Flamm
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