The New York Times recently wrote about Bloomberg TV’s quest for a larger audience.
Trevor Fellows, an exec with Bloomberg Media Group, brashly stated:
“We want to be the most influential business television station there is.”
He goes on to say, “We’re fiercely independent, fiercely rational.”
Somehow, I don’t think this was a dig at Jerry Springer reruns.
To get the skinny from a communications perspective, let’s turn to Sheri Baer, who heads the Agency’s broadcast media practice.
After years of working with all of the national broadcast outlets, Sheri’s in the perfect position to share what’s taking place behind the Bloomberg TV curtain.
Q: The New York Times story notes that Bloomberg TV doesn’t want to just be the domain of traders and brokers. Do you agree?
A: I have definitely noticed a shift in Bloomberg TV programming – from purely financial/stock market news to more business news and trends coverage. Definitely higher production value as well. The studio sets are looking slicker.
Q: Sounds like they’re investing in the operation?
A: Absolutely. I don’t think most people realize Bloomberg is the only business network that has fully converted to HD. If you’ve got a decent story backed by compelling B-Roll in HD format, that can be a door-opener.
Q: Is there one particular show that stands out as symbolizing this shift?
A: I’d say “Inside Track with Deirdre Bolton and Erik Schatzker” is clearly looking to explore broad trends and themes. Just our own discussions with the producer have ranged from supply chain issues from the Japan earthquake to the price of energy.
Q: Has Bloomberg TV caught up with CNBC?
A: Tough to say. While there is no way to compare viewership since Bloomberg doesn’t have Nielsen ratings, it’s safe to assume CNBC attracts more viewers. On the other hand, Bloomberg maximizes online exposure for video segments. They’re very savvy on the digital side. Typically, every interview is posted to Bloomberg’s website, YouTube channel and initially to its CEO Spotlight splash page. The airtime “hit” is always valuable, but I would argue the online longevity is a tremendous asset as well.
Q: What else is different about Bloomberg TV these days?
A: I was surprised The New York Times article only referenced the push to promote the morning programming. The afternoon block offers terrific opportunities too.
Q: Like “Bloomberg WEST?”
A: Exactly. This is a huge departure from traditional Bloomberg programming. The show airs from Bloomberg’s new West Coast studio in San Francisco. Although CNBC will do live in-studio segment interviews from its Silicon Valley bureau in San Jose, we’ve never had a full business network show actually based in the Bay Area. Plus, and this is a big one, “Bloomberg WEST” clearly defines itself as NOT a stock show. The show focuses on innovation, so it’s receptive to interesting startup and technology stories – not just news from public companies.
Q: Not easy pitching a tech story to national TV.
A: To say the least. Just based on exposure, East Coast producers can fall into the trap of defining technology as Apple, Google and Facebook. By virtue of being in Silicon Valley, “Bloomberg WEST” is going to have a much broader perspective.
Q: Any other Bloomberg TV shows catch your attention?
A: I also like the approach in “Taking Stock with Pimm Fox.” Don’t let the pun in the title fool you. Pimm likes to dive deeper than the numbers and really looks for the passion and personality behind a company. We’ve had numerous clients featured on this program. I love that he usually starts with, “Help us understand what your company does.”
Note: You can see an example of a segment with Pimm Fox interviewing Rick Hill, CEO for Novellus, here.
Q: What has your personal experience been like working with Bloomberg TV?
A: The folks we work with at Bloomberg TV have consistently been very professional and easy to work with. On a purely anecdotal level, we’ve also seen former CNBC and Fox Business contacts resurface at Bloomberg TV, so they must be seeing some incentive to make the jump. Lead contacts right now include Maryam Shahabi with “Taking Stock with Pimm Fox,” Kat Ricker with Bloomberg’s “Street Smart,” and Leslie Picker with Bloomberg’s “Inside Track.”
Q: Is there any single theme that cuts across all of these contacts?
A: Again, it comes down to advancing the story beyond stats and figures. They want to spotlight the leadership behind the company and get into the market drivers for the business. That’s how we’ve been successful in landing clients on these shows.
Q: Do you think Bloomberg TV’s new positioning will help make it more competitive when it comes to booking guests?
A: I definitely think so. Anyone who works with these networks knows that they’re all looking to book “first” broadcast exclusives. If it was strictly a numbers game, CNBC would win every time. But Bloomberg is doing a really good job touting the caliber of its audience. For example, bookers will cite that Bloomberg TV viewers have the highest median household income and the highest median net worth among cable news networks in the U.S.
That’s a wrap.