Bloomberg wants strict control over Arabic financial news network

Bloomberg’s $90m deal with Saudi Research and Marketing Group to introduce an Arabic financial news network, will also allow the US firm the right to terminate the contract if its brand is brought into disrepute.

Bloomberg inked a content and licensing deal with Saudi Research and Marketing Group, a media group whose chairman is Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud, to introduce the Bloomberg Al Arabiya service in September last year. The television, radio and digital service, which was rebranded Bloomberg Asharq and relocated to Dubai last month, intends to compete against agencies including Reuters and Agence France-Presse and channels such as CNBC Arabia.

SRMG is settling a $9m a year for news service to Michael Bloomberg for the rights to use the brand and Bloomberg’s content across tv, radio and digital news for 10 years

However, in the contract, Bloomberg has included strict controls over the use of its content to make sure its brand is not misused. This also include the right to terminate the contract if there is any “deviating content”, which means content that is “deliberately offensive to any racial or ethnic minority” or “embarrassing, disparaging to Bloomberg or otherwise bringing Bloomberg into business disrepute”.

Bloomberg will also have full control over the recruitment of top staff in the venture including the editor-in-chief for each platform, including having them flown to London, New York or Hong Kong for training.

It is not an easy task for Bloomberg to break into the Arabic news market. Previously, Bloomberg partnership with the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to provide five hours of business news per day for Al-Arab, an Arabic language news channel owned by the prince stopped broadcasting in 2015.