May 15, 2013
Bloomberg is now charging $24,000 a year for a single terminal subscription.
The closely held company doesn’t publicize its prices, which are the most expensive among financial data providers. But we’ve got our hands on what Bloomberg has charged going back to 2001, when the company had about 160,000 terminal subscribers and still trailed its greatest rival, Thomson Reuters. It’s now the market leader, with 315,000 subscribers .
Bloomberg is famously averse to discounting, and only offers one level of subscription with access to all data. But it does charge a lower price—currently about $20,000 a year —for customers with two or more subscriptions, including large banks than can have hundreds of terminals. That price, however, increased proportionally with the single-terminal price over the past decade. Bloomberg declined to comment on its pricing.
The pricing data in our chart comes from Oceanside, California, which has a Bloomberg terminal for its treasurer. Yesterday we published Oceanside’s contract with Bloomberg along with related documents, which you can read here. The city pays the standard rate for a single subscription to the terminal, officially known as Bloomberg Professional. including Bloomberg Anywhere
access, which allows the customer to log in from other devices.
Bloomberg is currently charging single-terminal subscribers $2,000 a month for two-year contracts. That’s a hike of just 1.3% from the price of $1,975 in 2011, and adjusting for inflation, it’s actually a decline of 3.1%. Bloomberg raised its price much more aggressively between 2005 and 2011. Back in 2001, the price was $1,640 a month .
The number of terminal subscriptions, which we compiled from various press reports, grew steeply before the financial crisis, hitting 270,000 in 2007. Then growth slowed as some of Bloomberg’s biggest customers trimmed budgets or went under entirely. Bloomberg’s revenue was $7.9 billion last year, most of it from terminals.
Bloomberg’s competitors, particularly Thomson Reuters and Dow Jones, will clearly try to capitalize on the furor over revelations that Bloomberg’s journalists had access to usage data of terminal subscribers. Reuters has the products most comparable to what Bloomberg offers. Dow Jones, which once competed more aggressively in this space with a product called Telerate. is now pitching something new, called DJ X, to individual investors. It promises less data than what Bloomberg and Reuters provide—but at a fraction of the price.