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Cable Operators

HD Launch Puts Bloomberg in Focus

5/09/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

With this week’s initial launch of an HD
version on Time Warner Cable systems in New York City
and northern New Jersey, Bloomberg Television continues
to put its strategy to reach a broader business audience
into sharper focus.

Adding more data to
the screen, Bloomberg
HD is slated to roll out
on the No. 2 cable operator’s
systems in the
business capital of the
U.S. on May 11 on channel
730, supplementing
its standard-definition
version on channel 30.

Set up in a “J” on the
right side of the screen,
the HD wing will house
rates, data and an array
of market business information
from Bloomberg’s worldwide financial-news
organization, James Cofer, head of distribution for Bloomberg
Television Americas, said.

More information also will be integrated into the horizontal
ticker along the bottom. Color-coded charts, graphs
and company metrics will be on display, plus real-time
pricing information for U.S. and international markets.

COLOR CODING

All told, Cofer and company said that Bloomberg’s HD service
will offer more data and information on the screen
than its nearest competitor, with a simple, clear design
that allows viewers to quickly gain insight on the markets
and top stories.

“Adding Bloomberg HD to our growing lineup of over
175 HD channels — the best and biggest HD lineup in New
York City — makes great sense, especially considering our
market,” David Gray, Time Warner Cable East regional
vice president of marketing, said. “Bloomberg’s new wider-
screen format also offers our customers richer content.”

What Time Warner Cable subscribers will see come this
Wednesday (May 11) is the result of constant tweaking over
the past year or so,
as well as extensive
focus-group testing.

“In our research,
people said, ‘Give us
more data and details.
Make it easy to
understand, but go
deep.’ We have to find
that balance,” Bloomberg
Media Group
CEO Andy Lack said.

Competitors CNBC
and Fox Business
Network have been
at the HD game for
far longer. “We’re benefiting from our research,” Cofer
said. “Our company’s resources make this a product that
stacks up with anyone’s.”

Cofer forecast HD rollouts with large distributors, including
Comcast, Time Warner Cable
and Bright House Networks, over the
“next two, three, four quarters. We’re
having conversations with everyone.”
He said the HD channel, which became
available April 25, gives Bloomberg “an
opportunity to talk with distributors
whose contracts are winding down, as
well as those in the middle of long-term
deals.”

Since re-launching in February 2009
as a single English-language channel
airing 24 hours daily, Bloomberg Television
now reaches 270 million households
globally.

It bolstered its on-air staff with Margaret
Brennan (from CNBC in June
2009), Andrea Catherwood (in London
from ITV in October 2009), Margaret
Conley (in Shanghai from ABC News in
September 2010) and Emily Chang (in
San Francisco from CNN in September
2010).

SAN FRANCISCO ASSET

Lack also believes Bloomberg’s San
Francisco bureau, home to 65 reporters
and new studios and the Bloomberg West
show that launched in February, makes
its West Coast coverage stand out.

“We have more resources out there
than anyone else. San Francisco delivers
very important programming for us in terms
of covering Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Twitter,
Hewlett-Packard, Facebook.”

Bloomberg TV executives tout demographics, citing a
study that found its viewers have the highest personal income
and highest average home value among U.S. cable networks.

The network doesn’t have Nielsen ratings data to share
as it doesn’t subscribe yet.

Lack said the focus has been on reshaping coverage
and the HD launch. “Down the line we’ll be measured by
Nielsen,” he said. “Right now, I’m less interested in the date
than getting the content right.”

September