In a six-point plan that centers on broadening the firm’s audience and actively embracing digital media, Smith was realistic about the future. “Our influence is considerable, but Bloomberg Media’s greatest potential has yet to still be realized,” he wrote in a public post. “Seizing this opportunity will require long-term investment and a large appetite for transformation, risk, as well as a tolerance for intermittent failure.”
In a likely nod to declining TV ratings for cable business shows, Smith addressed competitors. “As our traditional competitors buckle under their own legacy weight, we are unencumbered, benefiting from a series of unique corporate advantages: the Bloomberg business model; our owner’s insistence on long-term perspective; a culture of disruption; and an established tradition of high-quality journalism.”
Smith’s six-point plan
Smith’s six point plan essentially said they would invest more in all areas, print, traditional TV and new digital ventures, leaving unanswered if one area will receive more attention than others.
The first of Smith’s six point plan was perhaps the most significant, as he announced a shift to broaden the target audience from Bloomberg’s sophisticated niche of mostly professional traders and investors to a global business audience. “Acquiring Businessweek was an important first step, but we must go further by decisively shifting our focus to global business in order to attract and engage an even broader audience of business decision makers,” he wrote.
Rather than shrink the firm’s traditional TV footprint, Smith plans to aggressively grow both new digital ventures and expand in traditional TV markets. “By broadening the target market from financial professionals to global business professionals, we will establish a new category of business TV available in 340 million homes around the world,” he wrote. “Our TV content will be closely integrated with the new Bloomberg digital destinations, and our content viewing experience will be designed for consumption across multiple platforms. While we currently lag our traditional linear competitors, we are well positioned to disrupt with direct streaming, over-the-top, and on-demand experiences.”
Bloomberg: Growing digital, enhanced value of video
Smith announced he would launch new “digital destinations” to replace “one size fits all” content experiences with deeper, more narrowly-focused content environments. “Our strategy calls for building out a portfolio of new digital assets that better align our content offerings to global business audience segments,” he said, nothing this would offer advertisers a more targeted method to reach narrow audience interests.
A component of the digital strategy is to focus on video and leverage this content across platforms. “With limited inventory and surging advertiser demand, publishers who can make and distribute high quality video to influential audiences at scale can realize tremendous growth,” he wrote.
Investing in traditional print and radio
Sounding like a politician not wanting to offend divergent voting constituencies, Smith praised traditional channels, promising additional investment.
“Print remains an important vehicle for driving influence around the world. We will continue to invest in our print magazine and radio platforms, while our competitors pull back,” he wrote, noting the strategy is to apply a similar design and brand strategy across all media platforms. Addressing the firm’s radio properties, Smith noted that ninety percent of Americans still listen to the radio, with news/talk/information the consumers’ preferred format. “We’ll continue to bring Bloomberg’s coverage to listeners in New York and Boston while broadening to reflect our new focus on the global business audience,” he wrote, without outlining specifics.
Smith’s plan in short: invest more in all areas.