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Clarification of Factiva Announcement Concerning BusinessWeek Removal
by
Posted On December 10, 2009


In case you don't spend much time reading the FAQs on the Factiva site (www.factiva.com), you may not have noticed FAQ 10260.

On Monday, Dec. 9, 2009, Factiva announced that it would be removing the entire archive of BusinessWeek from its service in February 2010, and that the Dec. 7, 2009, issue would be the last one that will be available until that time. Here is the exact statement from FAQ 10260 dated Dec.7, 2009, in the Factiva customer support database:

On 1 December 2009, Bloomberg acquired BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill. Consistent with Bloomberg's policy not to license its content to any direct competitor, Bloomberg has decided to remove BusinessWeek from Dow Jones Factiva. 

The last issue of BusinessWeek was added to Factiva on 3 December 2009 (issue dated 7 December 2009) and the complete archive for BusinessWeek will be removed at the end of February 2010. BusinessWeek will also be removed from Newsstand within the next week.

With full-text stories dating from Jan. 14, 1985, the magazine that was recently purchased by Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com) from McGraw-Hill (www.mcgrawhill.com)-for $5 million in cash plus unspecified liabilities-is considered a required source for business researchers, and the removal from Factiva would certainly make it less-comprehensive in a core area for subscribers.

However, in digging further to clarify this, the news isn't as bad as it seems. According to a Bloomberg spokesman, all BusinessWeek content that previously resided on the Factiva site will still be accessed when subscribers query the Publications Library archive. When BusinessWeek content surfaces in the results, clicking on the link to the headline will cause a new window to open with the text of the article on the Bloomberg.com site. This is what occurs now when subscribers want to access a Bloomberg.com story on Factiva. It is currently being tested for quality purposes and will replace the archive search at the end of February 2010.

The FAQ as stated is alarming to business researchers. It seems strange that Factiva won't put information on its own FAQ to ease its subscribers' minds over access to this critical resource.

For this content not to be available via Factiva in any way would have been distressing-the effects cannot be underestimated in the arena of business research. A researcher would no longer have been able to locate all business publications in one search. LexisNexis doesn't have same day full-text Wall Street Journal articles, and now, Factiva wouldn't have BusinessWeek content.

But when questioned about the Bloomberg statement, a Factiva spokesman stated, "The FAQ is accurate. We aren't making any changes to it. ... The archive will be removed and we aren't going to be licensing the content. We can't comment further because of confidentiality."

It makes one wonder whether there's more to this arrangement than the two parties will speak of on the record today.

This is the second major business title to introduce some form of restricted access. In 2007, the Financial Times (FT; www.ft.com) required subscribers who wished to access the title via a third party to pay an additional fee directly to the FT in order to retain the rights to search FT content (see the NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/Financial-Times-Changes-Access-RulesAgain-39862.asp). Nonsubscribers do not have access on LexisNexis, Factiva, and other aggregators. 

According to a statement issued by Caspar de Bono, managing director of FT's B2B in 2007, "The direct licence [sic] is designed to ensure our customers pay once to access FT journalism on many platforms, they only pay the FT for this right, and the price is independent of the platform used to access."

When Mead Data Central sold LexisNexis to Reed Elsevier in 1995, the exclusive arrangement for the archive of New York Times articles on LexisNexis (the contract read "in perpetuity") was finally eliminated. By 1996, Dow Jones was the only service to have rights to the entire suite of major business publications and newspapers-both on a current basis and with a deep archive.


The strategy to acquire the rights to the major business titles allowed Factiva to enjoy an advantage over all competitors, given its exclusive on rights to The Wall Street Journal as a benefit of both Factiva and The Wall Street Journal being owned by Dow Jones. It acquired the rights from a third party to the archives of Forbes, Fortune, and BusinessWeek dating from the mid-1980s. The consistent indexing and formatting of these publications, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times (since 1995) and The New York Times (since 1996), created a powerful one-stop tool for business researchers who could finally search all the must-read business titles in one search query.

It remains to be seen whether BusinessWeek will remain live on other third-party services where they have been available (LexisNexis, EBSCO, and ProQuest). Phone calls to those aggregators confirm that they are in ongoing negotiations with Bloomberg.


Anne Mintz is currently a freelance editor and researcher, performing book research, editing, teaching and adjunct reference work at a local college.

Email Anne Mintz

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