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The economics behind Bloomberg Business

Bloomberg Business launched earlier this week aggregating digital content from Bloomberg.com and Businessweek.com as well as Bloomberg News, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Politics and Bloomberg Graphics.

Businessweek will continue to be printed as a magazine under the same name.

Parry Ravindranathan, managing director at Bloomberg Media Asia Pacific, explains the rationale for launching Bloomberg Business at this time.

“Bloomberg Media wants to become broader than finance and more consumer friendly,” he said.

“People see us as a purely financial brand and we are good at producing finance and business content but we want to broaden our audience bases and offer different kinds of content such as technology, luxury and political news.”

For example, technology giant Microsoft was the global sponsor of the Bloomberg Business launch.

This raises the question as to whether the launch is a response to the shrinking financial sector, which has had its ups and downs ever since the 2008 financial tsunami and financial institutions such as Standard Chartered and American Express have announced mass staff lay-offs earlier this month.

Ravindranathan denies that advertising from the financial industry is declining and said expanding the scope and scale of Bloomberg Media’s diversification into non-financial news content is part of plans to grow advertising bases in other industries.

“Financial advertising is not shrinking and it’s not about any industry shrinking.   These are just cycles and we don’t plan our advertising solutions around cycles.  Finance is core to our business and we have big advertisers from the financial industry,” Ravindranathan said.

“By expanding our content beyond finance, it simply gives us a larger audience, greater influence and market penetration for our brand.”

Smartphone manufacturers in the technology industry and airlines and tourism boards from the travel industry have been among the non-financial advertisers on Bloomberg’s digital platforms in the past.

Native ads offered on Bloomberg’s digital platforms will also be offered on Bloomberg Business, tentatively planned to begin within the next two weeks.

Next in the pipeline is Bloomberg Business Asia, which will be a region-specific version of the platform with news relevant to readers in Asia.

Bloomberg Media is in the process of putting together a regional team of around five to six people whose priority will be to launch the Asia platform and continued expansion of the team is planned for the future.

The team will work across all channels – TV, digital and print – and Bloomberg products whose content will be aggregated by Bloomberg Business as well as with Bloomberg Media chief digital content officer Joshua Topolsky and his team in New York.

After the launch of Bloomberg Business Asia, market-specific versions of Bloomberg Business will also be launched.

While Hong Kong, Singapore and Southeast Asian countries are among the markets that will have specific pages within Bloomberg Business Asia, two markets that Bloomberg Asia may begin rolling out market-specific versions of the platform first are India and Australia, starting with English-language offerings.

Data journalism has been a new battlefield in which international media organisations have been competing.  The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, for example, publish data-driven interactive visualisations to support news stories.  Data journalism taps into large vaults of often public data scraped and organised by software written by data journalists and cannot be easily and quickly processed and analysed by a typical news journalist on their own.

To coincide with the launch of Bloomberg Business, the company will also expand its digital journalism offerings through Bloomberg Graphics.

“Data is integral to us and we produce lots of it.  It will be about packaging the data we produce, which we can do easily and with a back-end system that supports it.  We have used data journalism to support TV and digital content in the past.”

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