As he weighs a White House run, Bloomberg considers Bloomberg LP’s future

Posted at 10:20 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 00:37:12-05

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Gannett CEO stepping down

Robert Dickey, a 30-year veteran of Gannett who’s been CEO since 2015, “has decided to retire from the company in 2019,” Gannett’s USA Today reports. “The Gannett board of directors has initiated a succession plan and engaged an outside search firm to assist in evaluating internal and external candidates.” Dickey will be involved in the search. His exit date is May 7. Details here…

Key quote from Dickey: “I believe we can be less dependent on true advertising as we know it and broaden our revenue and client base, and be financially stable and continue to fund the journalism, which is the core of our work…”

If you’re keeping track…

Condé Nast, Gannett and NPR are three of the media heavyweights that have openings at the top right now… There are more…

Would Bloomberg sell Bloomberg LP?

CNN Business senior politics and policy editor Allison Hoffman emails: “Bloombergers are quietly flipping out” about these comments. I was intrigued, so I transcribed it…

Mike Bloomberg says he has not started planning for this yet. But if he really runs for president… and wins… he knows he’d have to shift his sprawling media company into someone else’s hands. “The company would either go into a blind trust or I would sell it,” Bloomberg said in an interview with Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson. “But I think at my age, if selling it is possible, I would do that. At some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then.”

How would Bloomberg LP cover… Bloomberg?

Henderson then asked: If you run, “how would Bloomberg News cover you?” Bloomberg revealed that he has “started to talk about that with the head of news,” John Micklethwait.

Here’s what he said: “One possibility — let me step back — we’ve always had a policy that we don’t cover ourselves. I happen to believe, in my heart of hearts, you can’t be independent and nobody’s going to BELIEVE that you’re independent. And quite honestly, I don’t want the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me!” He laughed. “I don’t want them to be independent. So you’re going to have to do something.”

He described two options: A decision that “we’re not going to cover politics at all,” and leave it to other news outlets that are still accessible through the Bloomberg terminal. Or, he said, reporters could incorporate constant disclosures about his ownership. I’m not a candidate yet, so I’ve got plenty of time to think about it, but I have thought a lot about that, because the news part of our business is a very big part of our business.”

What Harvey Weinstein is telling his friends

“In an apparent effort to clear his name, Harvey Weinstein sent emails to several individuals about the criminal case against him in New York,” Chloe Melas reports.

Someone hit the “forward” button. And TMZ published one of the emails. “I’ve had one hell of a year… the worst nightmare of my life,” he wrote. Read more here…


— Big new story by Zachary Cohen and Phil Mattingly: “The slow-motion disaster of Trump’s Khashoggi strategy…” (CNN)

— My podcast guest this week is Harry Enten… It’ll drop on Thursday… Til then, read Enten’s latest, “Why the case for election fraud in North Carolina is strong…” (CNN)

Why it’s difficult for Netflix and ‘Friends’ to go on a break

Frank Pallotta emails: “Friends” will be there for you on Netflix through 2019, but the minor internet meltdown over a rumor that the show was leaving goes to the heart of the biggest question about Netflix’s short-term future: What happens if and when its competitors pull their most popular content from Netflix?

On paper, it seems like a big problem for the service going forward, but Netflix has been planning for this for years. Besides, as Rich Greenfieldtold me, “pulling content is a lot harder than it sounds.”

“Having lots of content is critical, but I don’t think any one show is critical,” the BTIG media analyst said. “I’d almost reverse the question and ask, ‘Does Warner Bros. want to take a show like ‘Friends’ that’s now reaching tens of millions of people and generating substantial profits and make very little and show it to very few?'” Read on…

Read more of Wednesday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

“Clearly the data is telling Netflix execs ‘Friends’ is worth the high price tag…”

The key line from Joe Adalian’s story about this: “Netflix execs regularly point out that they make programming decisions based on what their subscribers want. Clearly the data is telling Netflix execs Friends is worth the high price tag.”