Bloomberg vs. Reuters: An Overview

The onset of the digital revolution cultivated new ways to access information, leading to cutting edge information platforms in Bloomberg and Reuters. Both Bloomberg L.P. and Reuters are now seen by many as the fastest and most credible digital information sources in the financial industry, providing data and financial news to hundreds of thousands of investors and traders globally.

These two companies are best known as rivaling the traditional outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Financial Times for financial news. But their core services offer users much more than news. Core users of these two companies look to their offerings to find the most up-to-the-minute information available on trading metrics throughout the trading day.

To many investors, financial tools provided by Bloomberg and Reuters have been indispensable in helping them post rich returns and prosper during the bull market of the last decade. In fact, Bloomberg's meteoric growth in revenue and profit has made founder and majority owner Michael Bloomberg a billionaire, enabling him to finance his quest to become the next U.S. president.

Both companies are known for their robust multimedia platforms, with key offerings being the Bloomberg Terminal and the Refinitiv Eikon, formerly known as the Thomson Reuters Eikon, as explained below.

Key Takeaways

  • Bloomberg and Reuters operate in a unique digital sourcing niche.
  • These two platforms rival the traditional news outlets through their extension of in-depth, real-time market data.
  • Bloomberg and Reuters are primarily suited to institutional professionals.
  • Competition for the Bloomberg Terminal versus the Refinitiv Eikon (formerly the Thomson Reuters Eikon) is fierce as each develops new features tailored for institutional professionals.
  • Depending on individual needs and budgets, FactSet, S&P Capital IQ, Morningstar, and YCharts are viable alternatives to Bloomberg Terminal and Refinitiv Eikon subscriptions.

Bloomberg LP

Founder Bloomberg established the company bearing his name in 1981. Before his political career a three-term mayor of New York City, Bloomberg was a well-known name on Wall Street. After being laid off from the investment bank he had worked at for 20 years, Bloomberg launched his business information platform. Bloomberg LP provided quick, high-quality business information to Wall Street. In the early 1980s, the company sold its first financial information system to Merrill Lynch, now a part of Bank of America Corp. (BAC). Merrill Lynch owned a stake in Bloomberg for years, which it later sold.

Today, Bloomberg LP is not only known for the Bloomberg Terminal, but it has become a global multimedia entity as well. The financial news and media company includes Bloomberg News, weekly magazine Bloomberg Businessweek, as well as radio and television broadcasts. Bloomberg employs more than 2,700 news professionals in 120 countries, and offers clients access to research from more than 1,500 sources. Even with a vast array of products and services, the Bloomberg Terminal continues to be Bloomberg LP’s core revenue-generating product.

Bloomberg Terminal

The Bloomberg Terminal is an integral tool within the finance industry that is used to access, compile and analyze financial information. Over the years, the Bloomberg terminal has transformed into a system that is accessible anywhere.

Many companies rely on the terminal to assess individual securities, market movements, and monitor news simultaneously. An extension, Bloomberg Tradebook, allows formal trade execution through its messaging service. Traders, portfolio managers, and risk management analysts, among other financial professionals, rely on the program for daily market analysis and trading decisions. Currently, there are over 325,000 Bloomberg Terminal subscriptions worldwide.

Thomson Reuters

Created from the Thomson Corporation's 2008 acquisition of Reuters, Thomson Reuters is a multinational media and financial information resource. Thomson Reuters prides itself on delivering leading intelligence on various sectors, from finance, tax, and accounting to legal and intellectual property.

Refinitiv Eikon

In 2011, Thomson Reuters moved beyond the realm of financial news with the release of a more affordable option to the Bloomberg Terminal: the Thomson Reuters Eikon, now known as the Refinitiv Eikon. Like the Bloomberg Terminal, Eikon is a software system used to monitor and analyze financial information. Eikon provides financial professionals with access to market data, analytics, and messaging tools. Information can also be exported to Microsoft Excel for continued data analysis.

Furthermore, Eikon can use all tweets on a given subject to identify positive or negative indicators. Unstructured data from social media sources have been vital in identifying trends over the past decade, but few platforms, other than Eikon, have been able to collect and analyze this data.

In 2018, Thomson Reuters and The Blackstone Group, a leading asset management company, created a firm called Refinitiv that is 55% owned by Blackstone. Refinitiv is a financial information provider serving more than 40,000 institutions in about 190 countries, and has a 30-year agreement to use Reuters data. Refinitiv is also now the entity managing the Eikon.

Key Differences—Comparing Market Metrics

Eikon and Bloomberg Terminal are the two most used business information platforms in the world. The Bloomberg Terminal has a 33.4% market share, while Eikon has a 23.1%, according to the latest available data. The remaining market share is primarily comprised of FactSet, S&P Capital IQ, and Morningstar Direct.

Bloomberg Terminal has about 325,000 users while Eikon has about 190,000.

For individuals who work at large financial institutions, the cost of either program is high, but necessary to compete. However, the costs can be staggering for non-profit higher education institutions and government agencies, and also for small businesses. Bloomberg Terminal is the most expensive among financial data providers, at $24,000 per year, according to the latest detailed analysis of Bloomberg and its rivals by Wall Street Prep. For customers with two or more subscriptions, Bloomberg charges $20,000 per year. By comparison, a fully loaded version of Eikon costs $22,000, and a discounted version costs $3,600, according to Wall Street Prep.

Bloomberg Professional Services does not publish a price for a Bloomberg Terminal subscription, and Refinitiv does not publish a price for Eikon. 

While Bloomberg Terminal and Thomson Reuters Eikon are far and away the two most popular platforms in this space, there are several less expensive substitutes. FactSet, S&P Capital IQ, Morningstar Inc., and YCharts are all viable alternatives. The choice depends on one’s needs and budget. 

After Bloomberg and Eikon, FactSet and Capital IQ also are popular financial data platforms for professionals. For smaller more personal use, YCharts offers a lite and professional version. These subscriptions are geared toward individual investors and the YCharts professional service is better suited for small businesses.