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Bloomberg to do news for AOL

Bloomberg news service will take the place of Dow Jones Business Center, which left AOL at the end of the year.

    America Online (AOL) announced today that Bloomberg news service will take the place of Dow Jones Business Center, which left AOL at the end of the year.

    Bloomberg will provide business and market news on AOL's proprietary online service as the anchor tenant of its Business News Center. The deal is part of a three-year agreement.

    Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The parties also have not decided whether the deal will extend to AOL's homepage on the Internet, AOL.com, a Bloomberg spokesman said.

    While AOL's partners usually pay cash to the online service for the privilege of reaching its membership, it is not clear that this deal was structured in the same way.

    Dow Jones left AOL in October after the two parties were unable to renegotiate financial terms for a new contract. Dow Jones said it had been drawing more than 100,000 "unique users" per day, making it one of the top ten destinations on AOL.

    When Dow Jones joined the online service, AOL charged its subscribers hourly rates, and content partners were paid according to how long people spent in their areas. But that changed when AOL switched to flat-rate pricing more than a year ago. Now, for the most part, AOL charges its partners for access to its 11 million members.

    Dow Jones executives said AOL had wanted the news service to generate most, if not all, of its revenue from advertising and online transactions. Dow Jones said it wanted to focus on producing news, not revenues.

    While some loyalists vowed to leave AOL if Dow Jones moved, it is doubtful that the change will have any substantial impact on the online service.

    Bloomberg, which boasts 700 reporters in more than 80 news bureaus around the world, has been striking content deals on the Internet with several partners (including CNET, publisher of NEWS.COM).

    As part of the deal, Bloomberg will provide a package of ten daily slide shows for AOL and will work with AOL's news editors to provide members with customized coverage of breaking business news stories.

    Bloomberg's business news will also be woven throughout other areas within AOL, such as Investment Snapshots, Portfolio Direct, International Business News, and the Mutual Fund and Market News Centers.