One Audience, All Media: Bloomberg Media’s Biz-Focused Strategy

Paul-Caine-Bloomberg-MediaBloomberg Media wants to reach its target audience of affluent businesspeople wherever they happen to be over the course of the day. That might mean mobile and TV in the morning, radio on the way to work, websites during the workday and magazines at night.

“Our brand has the ability and importance to connect to those consumers throughout the day,” Chief Revenue Officer Paul Caine said.

It’s the opposite of Facebook’s strategy. Bloomberg only wants to serve its niche audience, but it wants to serve it deeply and across different forms of media.

Because of the breadth of the media forms it covers, Bloomberg Media is somewhat insulated from shifts between those channels. Plus, it earns the majority of revenue from digital, a fast-growing channel overall.

Even as print declines, it’s not in a tough spot the way magazine-focused companies are. And since it has already established a TV channel, in some ways it’s ahead of the TV companies going digital and the digital companies dabbling in TV.

Caine talked to AdExchanger about how Bloomberg has positioned itself in the data-driven advertising environment. 

AdExchanger: Advertisers are choosing to put something like 85 cents of every new advertising dollar into Facebook and Google. What does that mean for Bloomberg?

PAUL CAINE: Their business models are enviable and strong. But we are a focused premium publisher engaging with a single type of consumer. We reach them throughout the day with our business products, and the rest of the day with our luxury products. We are not providing the type of engagement and opportunity that Facebook does. That’s not the business we are in. Their mass numbers allow them to connect the world. We want to inform our consumer base.

What is Bloomberg’s perspective on platform publishing?

Justin Smith [Bloomberg Publishing’s chief executive] has spoken a lot about that lately. We decided to take a moment and not participate with many of those social platforms in terms of news aggregation. We’ve decided to focus on our [owned channels].

It doesn’t mean we don’t use social platforms. We do. What’s the business model moving forward for the premium publisher in relation to the platform? How can we stand behind our products and make sure they are valued? We are premium. We have a high CPM. That reflects the value of our exclusive and hard-to-reach audience and our value in how we connect with consumers. 

There is a land grab for digital video right now among content companies that haven’t really created video. Since Bloomberg has a TV business, does that create a special advantage?

Video is a very natural position for us because of our global studio network, and highly trained and successful on-air talent. For many publications it’s a new space, but for Bloomberg it’s not. We are the largest provider of digital video content in our space because of the roots that we have in TV.

Hello World is a great example of that, because it’s a digital video series and a TV product. Some stories are best told on multiple platforms. We also have [digital video] products likeMADE, which is a deep dive into how luxury and premium items are created.

What about live OTT programming?

We are building a strong, robust OTT product now.

How is programmatic affecting your business?

Programmatic is a way to buy audiences based on data through automated mechanisms, so that is exciting, because for some advertisers that is either their entire strategy or a portion of their strategy. It’s up to us to offer that through our platforms and continue to grow as the industry continues to grow. We believe in the value of an idea that lives across the platforms and to tell stories to consumers in the most impactful way. Programmatic represents a buying decision, but it can also work alongside all the high-touch, idea-based engagement.

What data products and packages does Bloomberg offer? 

Bloomberg is grounded in data and technology, and we have private data that we compile and then use to create better opportunities. One is called B:Match. It helps advertisers find the audience they seek on whatever platform they’re on, on the stories they are most interested in, and takes into account time of day and what headlines they like. It’s using data for action.

Bloomberg’s salespeople sell across platforms: radio, TV, print, digital. How have things gone in the two years since you made that switch?

In the beginning, because we’re a large global organization and shifted everyone’s job, it was training and organizing and coordination. Today the salespeople are generating stronger, multiplatform ideas and engaging differently with clients than we ever did before. Clients like having a single point of relationship with all of what Bloomberg has.

Many traditional media companies (like Time Inc.) are very keen to see digital revenue outpace traditional channels. Is there a dynamic like that at play with Bloomberg? 

We have 35 years of heritage as a digital-first company. The majority of our revenue has come and continues to be from digital. We have a robust digital revenue stream and a strong TV revenue stream, and we are not watching one siphon into another. Print is one area that continues to get scrutiny across the industry. But it’s a great way to engage with the consumers, and all three magazines are strong, and we continue to invest there.

Are there media companies that won’t be around five years from now?

Nobody goes away, I hope. Every media company that has a media consumer that want to engage with it has an opportunity to grow, accelerate and pivot. Excellent media companies will continue to figure out to the path to engage with consumers.

This is part of an interview series with media leaders about the future of digital advertising. Check out previous interviews with The Atlantic, Evolve Media, Forbes, Mic, The New York Times, PurchRefinery29Time Inc., The Washington Post and Ziff Davis – and more to come.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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