Nov 10, 2020 - Economy

Exclusive: Reuters launches new business line aimed at professionals

Photo Illustration: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Reuters is launching "Reuters Professional," a new business line that will include news, analysis and events for decision-makers, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Much of Reuters' revenue is focused on serving corporate clients through licensing news and data services. With this effort, Reuters will push to serve individual professionals more directly, which it believes brings significant financial opportunity.

  • "We think that the professionals market is a $36 billion industry," says Josh London, who will head Reuters Professional.

Driving the news: Reuters Professional will be a B2B and B2C play, aimed at reaching professionals across an array of digital platforms.

  • Reuters' website, which the company plans to relaunch with new B2B focus areas early next year, will lean more heavily into providing industry-specific expertise across topics.
  • Reuters recently bolstered its professional legal news offering by adding 15 new editorial staff members to its legal news team. It's pushing more heavily into new B2B topic areas, like the future of work during the pandemic, which it calls "The Great Reboot."
  • The company estimates that it reaches 124 million professional decision-makers​ globally, through experiences on digital, mobile, social, audio and over-the-top media platforms.
  • Reuters hopes that its global reach and 170 years+ of history as a global news brand will set it apart from other media companies trying to reach professionals.

The new business line will also lean heavily into events. Reuters' events business was created through an acquisition last year of FC Business Intelligence, a global B2B events company — the company's first acquisition in 10 years.

  • Reuters will launch a major conference called Reuters Next, which it hopes will be one of the biggest and most ambitious leadership summits in the world.
  • The event will bring together over 25,000 executives over four days in January to hear from leading names in business, finance, politics, tech and media.
  • Due to the pandemic, the event will be virtual this year, but Reuters hopes to include both virtual and in-person events in its professional offering in the future.
  • Reuters Next, taking place Jan. 11–14, 2021, will feature European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth and many others.

Yes, but: Reuters faces stiff competition in the B2B space. Bloomberg will host its New Economy Forum conference, aimed at global professionals, next week. The World Economic Forum in Davos also focuses on the same audience.

  • Many media companies are looking to focus more heavily on niche topic areas that serve professionals with topics like the future of work, automation and blockchain.
  • Reuters has experimented with having formalized destinations that serve professionals in the past, but some of those efforts fizzled out.
  • For example, in 2014, Reuters sold its private equity news website PEHub, as well as other B2B publications to UCG, a Maryland-based communications company.

The big picture: Reuters' greater business strategy revolves around serving three groups:

  1. Media and tech companies, as well as other businesses, via its News Agency business.
  2. Financial services professionals by providing news and data services through Refinitiv.
  3. Professional audiences with the new launch of Reuters Professional. Reuters has already been serving this group for a while, but the launch of professional services will solidify this effort.

The bottom line: "We've been serving professionals since 1851, so this is a natural progression of that expertise," says London.

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