Internet

Bloomberg airs financial views

The financial news site launches a free video player that takes a cue from Yahoo's FinanceVision service.

Bloomberg on Tuesday launched an online video player that features live headline news and archived broadcasts, which the financial news site hopes will help it compete against other online news hubs.

The free video player is designed to bolster the company's brand on the Web. It also seeks to cut into territory pioneered by Yahoo, which created a live online video news service called FinanceVision last year.

Bloomberg said the video player offers continuous market news, including averages and prices. It has a live feed from Bloomberg Television US, including programs such as "Moneywise," "Money Flow" and "Sector Plays."

The player, which can be downloaded using Windows Media or RealPlayer, also provides world news. Viewers can select from a menu of videos from France, Asia-Pacific, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The launch comes as news sites attract more people than ever, hungry for up-to-the minute coverage. During the week of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, hubs such as ABCNews.com, CNN.com and The New York Times' site received a flood of viewers, causing the sites to become inaccessible.

Bloomberg receives its share of online viewers, but the company relies heavily on syndicating its news stories to other sites. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Bloomberg.com saw 1.4 million unique visitors for the month of September. Among general news sites, CNN.com had the most traffic for the month with 24.4 million visitors, followed by MSNBC.com with 21.8 million, Time.com with 10.1 million, NYTimes.com with 9.5 million, and ABCNews.go.com with 7.4 million.

"People see the value that news sites have," said Allen Weiner, vice president of Nielsen/NetRatings. "But I'm not 100 percent sold on the overall value (of video)...In the world of ratings, (the video player) is a nice-to-have-it but will not be a must-have."

But Bloomberg is betting the video player will be a hit with daily consumers of market news.

The video player gives people the "greater ability to stay on top of the markets, not just the U.S. market but international market," said Elana Verbin, editor of the Bloomberg.com Web site. "It brings together all this valuable video into one application...You can keep it on your desktop throughout the day no matter what you're doing; you can tune in...and watch what's happening live within the market."

Bloomberg said the video player features a search function that lets people find video, transcripts and interviews pertaining to specific topics. For instance, a request for information about General Motors would produce around 120 results that include video interviews with analysts about the company's stock.