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Bloomberg organizes to energize content licensing

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As global general manager of media licensing and distribution for Bloomberg, Susan Vobejda is responsible for a centralized business unit that includes all third-party partnerships involving Bloomberg media content, including the newswire and photo services, television, digital video and data products. Prior to Vobejda's arrival, Bloomberg licensing activities were handled in different areas: the television distribution group, the global content syndication group (for the newswires and photo service) and as part of the business development function (for the digital and mobile teams). In early 2012, she spearheaded the consolidation of all licensing activities and reorganized the way Bloomberg approached the market. Rather than structuring the sales organization around media types, Vobejda made sure “everyone in our organization can represent our entire product suite.” However, the team was split so that one group could focus on “longer lead-time, deeper partnerships—that take more time to negotiate and work through,” while others handled the bulk of the company's 1,000-plus licensing clients, she said. As a result of the reorganization, revenue is projected to grow by more than 20% this year, Vobejda said. New-product development is a priority. “We have built a very robust product team over the last 18 months,” Vobejda said. Among the launches on the drawing board for later in 2013 are data products geared to television broadcasters. The fastest-growing business within the licensing group, meanwhile, is digital video. “There's a lot of demand by advertisers for video content,” Vobejda said. “Our partners don't have the resources we have to produce high-quality business and financial news video; but, once they license one or more of our feeds, they have video inventory that's already formatted to have advertising flowed into it.” Another growing area within Vobejda's unit is partnerships with media companies outside the U.S., which increasingly include content produced in the country's local language. Bloomberg Businessweek, for example, has launched Chinese-language editions in China and Hong Kong. In Latin America, Bloomberg has formed a long-term partnership with El Financiero, a Mexican integrated media company, to launch a multiplatform, Spanish-language business news service for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. It will include a high-definition TV channel integrating Bloomberg's global business and financial video with locally produced content, as well as online and mobile websites and a co-branded section of the El Financiero newspaper. Vobejda added that Bloomberg has just started to recruit local-language partners for the Bloomberg.com and Businessweek.com websites.
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