This is part of a series of articles focused on the key issues that will be covered in our Monetising Media event at the end of September.
Bloomberg, the media business that actually makes most of its money from financial services terminals (yours for just $20,000 a year), wants to become what the head of its media arm, Justin Smith, describes as “a leading digitally-led, multi-platform media company for global business…an indispensable source of information for the world’s most influential people”.
That plan is taking shape in the form of investment in more focused verticals such as politics and various hires such as The Verge co-founder Josh Topolsky.
While written content features heavily in those plans, Bloomberg is equally convinced that its video content can reach a wider business audience online that is very attractive to advertisers, while retaining its core audience in finance. As Bloomberg Media global head of digital video Paul Marcum tells TheMediaBriefing:
“We have that ability to have our cake and eat it too. We do have an extraordinary audience. It has been the core of this company, but we see the rest of the world. We are in a data driven economy, we all need more information. So as a media organisation we are servicing that market.”
You might expect a company like Bloomberg to be less obsessed with the youth market than its consumer peers, but Smith’s project is aimed at building a long-term future for Bloomberg (supported in the meantime by that terminal business) and Marcum is keenly aware that growing enthusiasm for web video is going to permeate all parts of the media economy:
“The differences between 14 and 24s, and 25s and 30s and up the scale is just extraordinary. That audience, and we all know this to be true, has embraced video across multiple platforms, and that trend line is not decreasing. That audience is going to be more and more relevant to all publishers including Bloomberg’s business audience.”
The only thing that comes close to matching the enthusiasm of younger generations for online video is the growing enthusiasm from advertisers for video ads. According to Marcum, that has enabled Bloomberg to develop a strong video ad model based on traditional pre-roll ads (and in the case of live feeds, mid-roll) sold by an in-house team, with ads matched to appropriate types of video using a tagging system:
“In terms of the format, everyone is excited about pre-roll. We have great marketing partners who want to come in for tech and those who want to come in for market updates. It requires an amount of effort to match tags that come out of the production process and match them to the buys. And of course the ad operations team does that well.”
Though video programmatic advertising is quickly catching up with its simpler display counterparts, Marcum says he isn’t worried ad buyers will shift away from premium sites once they realise they can find the same audiences elsewhere:
“Context absolutely matters, that’s particularly true when you are working with brands that are choosing to express themselves in video. Advertisers have been very comfortable with video and the performance of that particular video. It sits with that content.”
“We are a high premium publisher and producer. Our audience is certainly in demand for a great number of advertisers. That puts us in a position where we are able to maintain brand consistency as we go to market and deliver that value to marketers.”
Despite Bloomberg Media’s priveleged position within a cash-rich business and its ability to reach an especially high-value audience, its long-term goals require a broader scope. As for pretty much every other media business out there thinking about how to keep the audiences of the future interested, video is going to play a very, very big role in that.