Bloomberg vs. CNBC

The Comcast acquisition of NBC-Universal has opened a nice little bargaining window for Bloomberg TV,according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bloomberg is using the merger review process to put pressure on Comcast to sell CNBC (as if!) or give Bloomberg better placement on the cable dial.

It’s a clever negotiating strategy. But what interested us most in the story were these numbers on the relative revenues of both business news networks:

Bloomberg TV is distributed by pay-TV companies to 67 million homes and will produce $130 million in revenue and earn a 35 percent profit margin in 2010, research firm SNL Kagan says.

Meanwhile, CNBC will produce an estimated $714 million in revenue this year and earn a 61.5 percent profit margin. Pay-TV operators distribute CNBC to 100 million homes.

Which leads us to wonder why Bloomberg hasn’t done more to take its cable content and make it available on the web. Those ad dollars won’t replicate CNBC’s massive lead and margins, but it will help move Bloomberg toward a much bigger footprint and better position for the coming distribution model that circumvents cable entirely.