Last year, Silicon Valley came to Washington. Firms like Google and Adobe expanded their D.C. presence, and O’Reilly Media jumped on the Gov 2.0 bandwagon with a series of conferences. Next year, Wall Street comes to Washington. Bloomberg LP, the financial news powerhouse, is preparing to launch Bloomberg Government on Jan. 1, 2011. Like the recently launched Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Government is a web-based subscription service that can be accessed from your own laptop, no proprietary Bloomberg terminal necessary. Also like Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Government charges a fixed monthly fee for unlimited usage. Subscriptions are $475 per month, adding up to $5,700 annually. Bloomberg is offering 45-day free trials prior to the launch date. For contact information, see: http://about.bgov.com/contact-us/.
Bloomberg Government is designed to serve a variety of information needs revolving around U.S. federal government legislation, regulation, and spending. The unifying theme is the impact—positive, neutral, and negative—that federal government actions might have on industry. The product is intended to appeal to corporate and financial audiences with U.S. business concerns, regardless of their proximity to Washington. With the price tag (high for many in the Washington market), ease of use, slick style with plenty of color and white space, and relatively non-technical content, Bloomberg Government is suited for those at the executive level who want to do a bit of their own intelligence gathering. With background and contact information for members of Congress and their staffs, Bloomberg Government may also help with the Washington schmooze.
The main menu for Bloomberg Government lists news, legislation, regulation, spending, industry, and places as information categories. These are merely starting points. Information is so heavily interlinked that one’s time is spent absorbing the content rather than wondering which section of the site to use. The site also has customizable news alerts and a straightforward report-building feature. Bloomberg advertising emphasizes the “all in one place” and time saving benefits of the service.
Experienced government information researchers will quickly recognize some of the government-published content that has been adapted to the site. The legislation section features content from THOMAS.gov, including legislative status and bill summaries prepared by the Congressional Research Service. The Regulations section includes the Federal Register and Code of Regulations. Federal contracting information comes from government sources via the Washington firm Eagle Eye Publishers, Inc. Eagle Eye has been the go-to source for historical and value-added federal procurement market data for the past two decades. Bloomberg bought Eagle Eye in February 2010 and, after June 2011, will be the sole source for what was Eagle Eye functionality.
Unique Bloomberg Government content includes Bloomberg’s own reporting and analysis. The product has already caused a stir in the Washington journalism world because of Bloomberg Government’s hiring spree. The company plans to hire 100 people by the end of the year and to continue hiring into 2011. Some of those new hires are editors and journalists lured from Washington standards such as CQ.com. But many of the hires are not reporters, but economists, policy analysts, and other subject specialists. Bloomberg is forming industry-focused teams of reporters and analysts to provide not only daily news but also high-level analysis of data and developments presented in policy papers, in-depth articles, charts, and multimedia. Bloomberg Government will supplement its own coverage with news filtered and aggregated from other services.
At its launch, Bloomberg Government will focus on a few major industry areas: defense, energy, finance, healthcare, technology/telecommunications, and transportation. These are areas Bloomberg has identified as significant either because of government spending plans or legislative and regulatory trends. Taxation, trade, and labor are to be covered as issues cutting across these sectors. The service hopes to expand into other areas, such as providing directory information for significant agency staff. They will also expand company coverage. The companies currently profiled are limited to U.S. companies traded publicly; Bloomberg plans to add publicly traded non-U.S. companies and, eventually, private companies for which public filings exist. Bloomberg has also mentioned possible expansion into state government coverage.
We plan to review this product in more detail after it launches.