Jeff Parker is most renowned as the founder of First Call and CCBN, as well as another three and possibly more. He started his career as a fixed income portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments, before becoming a successful market data entrepreneur. Inside Market Data calls Parker a “Serial Entrepreneur”, a title well deserved. What is even more interesting is the business models that he seems to invent, which are absolutely brilliant.
When Parker founded First Call to provide earnings estimates data, the state of the then art for earning data was collected and distributed on magnetic tape, delivered on a weekly basis for analysts to incorporate into their models. First Call was the first to provide daily updated data, and eventually evolved to real time updating, where a marked change in estimates would move markets.
He did this all, the brilliant part – by not only selling the First Call service to consumers of earnings estimates, but he sold First Call to the brokerage side of the street, whose research departments were the originators of earning estimates. In other words, he founded a model whereby he got paid by both the suppliers of his data and the consumers of his data.
The street found a convenient way to get their estimates to their customers in the expectation that it would generate trading through their firms and they were more than willing to pay First Call as that channel. Consuming firms sought timely and consolidated data in a convenient form. First Call did both and became the industry standard for estimates data. Parker went on to sell First Call to Thomson Financial, where it continues to thrive as a part of the Thomson Reuters suite of services.
In 1997, he did it all over again when he founded (co-founded) CCBN. He put the same model to work again in parallel to the First Call model. The niche and opportunity was that the public release of corporate data and “analyst calls” where a company’s investor relations group would hold conference calls with the analysts that followed the company were often moving targets…The meeting number or time would change, and to miss the call could mean a material disadvantage to new and timely information about a company’s prospects or results.
CCBN became a consolidator of corporate announcements and conference call schedules and details, filling a huge gap in the market and providing a tremendous value add to both analysts as well as the corporate investor relations departments now having a more efficient channel to reach the street. I guess it’s obvious…once again; Parker’s model was one of being paid by the originators of his data and the consumers of his data. And where is CCBN today, same home as First Call, now a part of the Thomson Reuters company.