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Blurring professional and consumer services
Thursday, 17th December 2009
Tim Buckley Owen
Reuters and Bloomberg are both wooing the consumer market while Twitter continues to work on its allure to business. LiveWire has already talked about a blurring of the boundaries between business-to-business and consumer services, and the evidence continues to stack up.
‘A glimpse into the future of online publishing’ is how Thomson Reuters trumpets the launch of the redesigned United States Reuters.com consumer web site. With advanced multimedia capabilities, personalization and data presentation, Thomson Reuters’ claim is that the site ‘marries a strong editorial voice with professional-grade information and data’; redesigned sites for the United Kingdom, India, Japan and China will follow in 2010 (http://digbig.com/5batrf).
Further evidence of Thomson Reuters’ eagerness to attract the ‘progressive consumer’ comes with the completion of its purchase of the financial commentary service Breakingviews (see http://www.vivavip.com/go/e26055 for the background). Incorporating both the original Reuters and the Breakingviews teams, all of Reuters Breakingviews’ output will be available on Thomson Reuters desktops – but selected commentaries will appear on the consumer-orientated Reuters.com too, and will also reach a broader audience via daily columns in newspapers such as the New York Times, Le Monde and the Daily Telegraph (http://digbig.com/5batrg).
At rival Bloomberg, the now completed purchase of Businessweek (LiveWire comment at http://www.vivavip.com/go/e25656) represents a first for the company, which has preferred a ‘build, don’t buy’ culture up to now. Reporting the expected purchase in Businessweek’s own columns last October, Tom Lowry commented that this deal also signalled a shift by Bloomberg into more consumer-focused media (http://digbig.com/5batrh).
Coming from the opposite end of the spectrum, Twitter is dipping a toe in the potentially lucrative business networking pond by beta testing a new feature called Contributors, which allows businesses to manage multiple contributions to their account. Writing in Twitter’s blog on 14 December (http://blog.twitter.com/ then click through to December), product developer Anamitra Banerji acknowledges that it’s not ready for ‘prime time’ yet and explains that they are releasing it to a limited subset of folks to get basic feedback (rather as they did with their ‘Verified Accounts’ service last summer – http://www.vivavip.com/go/e20564) – but he does point out that, as Twitter becomes more integral to business, it will need more business-specific features.
And in support of Banerji’s prediction, the financial microblogging service StockTwits (background at http://www.vivavip.com/go/e17338) announced recently that it had secured $3 million in financing to enable it to take its ambition of building a real time financial media company a stage further. A series of hints at future developments includes options for a filtering, curation and discovery system (http://digbig.com/5batrj).
It all tends to confirm LiveWire’s expectation of a continuing blurring of business-to-business and consumer information (http://www.vivavip.com/go/e27212). But will that trend make life easier or more difficult for information managers?
About this item:
By Tim Buckley Owen
Tim is an information skills trainer and writer on the information industry with over 40 years' experience in the profession. His career has encompassed information management, writing, editing, training, government policy advice and corporate media & marketing.
Besides writing for FreePint, Tim runs courses for training providers and private clients on enquiry handling, abstracting & summarising, information packaging & presentation and information management. The sixth edition of his classic handbook Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time is published by Facet Publishing. You can find details of Tim's training services at www.buckleyowen.com.
Tim can also be reached at email@example.com
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