Mike Bloomberg Appeals to Advertisers at His Company's NewFronts Pitch

And Cracks Wise About Them

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Mike Bloomberg at his company's NewFront presentation.
Mike Bloomberg at his company's NewFront presentation.

Bloomberg Media's first NewFronts presentation wrapped up on Monday afternoon with a brief speech from the company's founder, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who covered a variety of topics in a handful of minutes.

"We'd be honored to have your business," he told the many advertisers and ad buyers in the room.

He made a joke at the expense of adland. "It's a little early for drinks," he said in the minutes before the presentation adjourned for cocktails. Then he corrected himself: "Not in the 'Mad Men' community." (People laughed.)

He praised Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith, calling him one of the "smartest and most innovative people in media."

And he took a swipe at The New York Times, saying the newspaper has trouble attracting subscribers. Bloomberg, he countered, has 325,000 subscribers who pay $22,000 a year. Of course, those subscribers are paying for the Bloomberg terminal and the financial information it offers, not for Bloomberg Media content, which is free online.

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith at presenting at the NewFronts.
Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith at presenting at the NewFronts.

Before trotting out the company's billionaire founder, however, Bloomberg Media execs gave advertisers a presentation that was a healthy mix of audience data and previews of its digital-video content. That included four new series, such as "The Morning Brief," a 90-second video explaining the most important news of the day, and "Handmade," which tells the stories of artisans and the crafts they make.

Execs also highlighted a new video platform at Bloomberg called Responsive.TV. It allows viewers to watch a video at various lengths: short, medium, long and full length. Viewers can also swipe away video content they don't want to see, which drew a comparison to a popular dating app.

"It's kind of like Tinder for video," Josh Topolsky, chief digital content officer at Bloomberg Media, told the audience. (That line also drew some laughs; it wasn't the toughest crowd, apparently.)

Responsive.TV will include advertisers' video, which will appear among editorial videos as viewers swipe through video content, Bloomberg Media executives said. To that end, the company introduced Bloomberg Media Studios, which will make sponsored videos for brands.

The company also invited advertisers to come to the Bloomberg headquarters in Manhattan every Friday for "innovation sessions," which it described as "hands-on workshops for advertisers to put Bloomberg Media to work for them."

And an advertising watchword of the moment -- viewability -- made an appearance. Paul Caine, Bloomberg Media's chief revenue officer, called out viewability as a cornerstone of Bloomberg Media's video slate for advertisers. Viewability refers to whether an ad actually appears on a person's screen (as opposed to being served out of sight). Advertisers can buy video placements that appear in editorial slots -- though they are labeled as ads -- or that take over the entire screen to help enable viewability, Mr. Caine said.

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