Bloomberg's plan for digital dominance in Asia

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Business news journal extends to multiple platforms in Asia

HONG KONG — Bloomberg has just launched the Asia edition of the revamped Meanwhile, it added digital station Bloomberg Radio Asia, a flagship global TV program, Bloomberg Go, and said it plans to launch Bloomberg HD early next year.

The new Asia site will also introduce breaking news and mobile alerts targeting the local audience, dedicated Asia finance articles, greater focus on Southeast Asia, active social-media curation as well as luxury, tech and feature articles.

This wave of development follows the introduction of the European edition of in April earlier this year. The global revamp was led by Bloomberg Media CEO, Justin B Smith, formerly of Atlantic Media where he spearheaded the launch of Quartz.

"These initiatives are part of the group’s overall global business strategy," explained Parry Ravindranathan, MD of Bloomberg Media Asia-Pacific. "First, Bloomberg Media is a digital-first company. Yes, I know it’s said a lot, but we really are. We have dedicated considerable resources to this because we feel it’s the future of all content."

In Hong Kong, for example, Bloomberg has built a team of six digital editors, dedicated to working with Bloomberg’s 2,500 Asia-Pacific-based journalists and editors to showcase its work across multiple online media, ranging from the site itself to the publisher’s official app, to social media.

Headed by Anjali Kapoor, formerly director of digital news strategy at The Globe and Mail in Canada, the team will work across all of Bloomberg’s media assets, including Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg Markets and Pursuits magazines, Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio, and original digital video.

"At the very basis, the team are journalists," Kapoor says, "They are skilled at telling stories in different ways to different audiences, to put the news in front of the right person at the right time, using video, radio, data graphics — whatever is relevant at the key moments."

Factors the team will take into consideration, continues Kapoor, includes the best format and stories for the mobile morning commute in each local market, for instance: whether the site’s audiences are driving to work, for example, or standing in a train or bus, reading the news off a mobile device. "We also think about what the person is doing when they’re looking for headlines and stories and how best to break it across social media."

The team will also work with the Bloomberg network at large on developing larger features. "We spend time thinking about what a story should look like. How do we tell it graphically? Integrate video? What will it look like at 6am in the morning on a responsive screen, in the app, what headlines should we craft?"

The team’s work is aided by the custom technology platform developed by Bloomberg technologists which also powers the global parent site, Called Brisket, the platform allows editors to remix, rearrange and reshape the site, combining all journalistic assets in ways that are responsive to any screen.

Whether through text, video, visual data, live television or any combination of those assets, the team can respond instantly to the non-stop demands of a 24/7 news cycle on a homepage that is fully responsive for every screen size.

The why
Bloomberg’s substantial investment in its newsrooms and TV offering, at a time when many other media giants are tightening their belts, is indicative of the demand for the information Bloomberg is capable of providing, said Ravindranathan.

According to the firm, has grown 102% year-on-year with 23.6 million unique visitors in June. Its global business video streams have been well received in Asia, and it already has about 3 million monthly video views. In September, Bloomberg's digital properties reached 3.6 million desktop unique visitors in the Asia-Pacific region, more than The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CNNMoney and Business Insider.

"We also believe that this direction is where the future lies. We don’t want to ignore mediums that work for us. TV, for us, is not dead. It’s growing. Radio continues to grow in the US and magazines for us are also doing great [Bloomberg Businessweek has a global circulation of 1 million]," he added. "I believe it’s the right time to invest when everyone else is shrinking, the biggest challenges to us are not the big competitors we’ve had over the past decade — it’s the new players that are disrupting the medium."

Bloomberg Asia’s determination not to be left behind on any front shows in the smaller, quick experiments it makes to test out new mediums. The three-person radio team in Hong Kong was introduced to satisfy the appetite for Asia-based content in the US, but also to test the waters in the region. The Bloomberg Business App recently, and quietly, introduced a WhatsApp share button and Ravindranathan eagerly discussed integration with Smartcars and a potential foray into Snapchat.

"When we look at digital, we think of ­everything," he emphasised.

For advertisers, the Asia edition of the website will allow commercial partners to localize their content across multiple platforms. The new site introduces a modular ad system that will allow advertisers to pick and choose the level of interactivity they wish for and custom-content solutions. Bloomberg has also introduced a suite of bespoke ad-units aimed at "maximizing impact and engagement," read the statement.

Recent advertisers on Bloomberg Business Asia include Subaru, BNP Paribas, Huawei, Charles Schwab, Samsung, SSGA and Singapore Tourism.

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