From rating agency actions to political developments, issuance trends, and fiscal challenges, The Bond Buyer has reported on the municipal bond industry through its peaks and valleys – as well as through the evolution of information delivery.
For more than 100 years, The Bond Buyer has held its place in the municipal bond industry in much the same way that Variety has served the entertainment industry. If you were in the municipal bond business 30 years ago, chances are, you started your day with a cup of coffee and a copy of The Bond Buyer on your desk. Ten years ago, it may have been a cup of coffee and The Bond Buyer’s website on your computer screen.
And the evolution continues. When The Bond Buyer first launched a website as a companion to the print newspaper in 1997, its format closely followed the structure of the newspaper. On June 22, The Bond Buyer unveiled its “new and improved” website, which not only continues its tradition of delivering daily news, but now offers breaking news and updates in throughout the day.
“The markets simply move faster today, and we recognized that our subscribers need to get information from us more quickly,” said Michael Stanton, Publisher of The Bond Buyer.
News is just the beginning. The revamped website contains videos, social media feeds, commentary, and interactive market data. “Information is where the value is,” Stanton said, explaining why The Bond Buyer remains a primarily subscriber-based publication, both online and in print.
Highlights of the website redesign include:
- A running ticker on the site’s home page that includes breaking news headlines
- A tool that allows readers to customize news feeds and data content (“My Bond Buyer”)
- Content organized by function. The Markets section of the site, for example, is broken down into buy-side, sell-side, general, and people news.
- News organized by region, and searchable by state
- Videos featuring interviews with industry experts
- Additional opportunities for input and commentary from readers and market participants
- Enhanced market data and tools. Users can select specific data, from primary market statistics to ratings changes and yield indexes, for a given time period (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually).
While most features of the revamped site are still reserved for subscribers, the new site contains a handful of features – including videos, a breaking news ticker, and select articles marked by an unlocked padlock icon – available for public access. Free articles, which are selected by The Bond Buyer’s newsroom based on current trends, are designed to give new readers an opportunity to sample its content. (Note: articles that are free upon publication remain free in the archives.) The Bond Buyer also offers a two-week free trial subscription.
What are the most popular trending topics among today’s Bond Buyer readers? Based on website traffic and analysis of most-emailed articles, today’s readers are particularly interested in news about tax reform and rating agency actions, according to Stanton. “Tax reform content tends to be a prevalent topic because it so heavily defines the market. Rating agency actions generate high interest since rating agencies are the primary vehicle through which the market interacts with the general public,” he explains.
The newspaper subscriber base and website visitor base have increasingly overlapped over the past several years, with a growing trend toward the online version. Whether or not there will come a time when the print version becomes extinct remains in the hands of those holding a crystal ball. “We’ll let our readers tell us,” said Stanton.
For now, readers are telling The Bond Buyer that they appreciate the new look – although it took some time for long-time readers to adjust their habits.
“One of our biggest priorities was to make sure we did not take away any content that was crucial to our readers’ daily workflows,” Stanton said. “In the first few days, we got several questions from people who needed help finding the features they relied upon, but that transition seems to have gone smoothly.”