The media industry is emerging from three years of economic instability, but there are still significant challenges.
Newspapers are struggling, and, in many cases, they are unable to compete with instant digital news. Online networks are recasting themselves as content providers. Network television faces the evolution of IPTV. And magazines must determine how to best employ the iPad.
In 2009, McGraw-Hill's BusinessWeek was as vulnerable to the shifting challenges of the media business as any entity. As other properties consolidated or went out of business, BusinessWeek was acquired by Bloomberg LP. In just a single transitional year, our brand has come a long way.
The first bold step was to rebrand the title as Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg built a multibillion-dollar business around providing instant information and data on the global financial markets, but even though its terminal business at the time serviced nearly 300,000 of the world's financial elite, Bloomberg's access to the corporate C-Suite was limited. Bloomberg Businessweek, with an audience of 4.5 million readers and 13 million unique online users, is an avenue to those corner offices and broadens the reach of the Bloomberg brand.
A second step in the transition was integrating the magazine with the resources of the parent company, and specifically the Bloomberg news organization. Leveraging the power of 2,300 journalists who work out of 146 editorial bureaus in 72 countries allows us to produce the world's only global weekly business magazine.
It's a potent and unrivaled combination of news, data and editorial perspective that identifies trends weeks—or even months—before our competitors. Bloomberg Businessweek revels in its ability to surprise, to look forward and to prepare business leaders for the week ahead.
We still compete with traditional business magazines. But they have been retrenching, cutting resources and reducing frequency while we invest financially and intellectually in extending the reach and depth of our products.
Many companies claim to be multimedia, but few can do so with a focus on owning a distinct audience segment. Viewed as a whole, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg.com, Radio, Mobile and Markets magazine, along with Bloomberg Businessweek and Businessweek.com have an opportunity to own the global business elite. In an era of media convergence, power brands, especially in the business-to-business space, must find a way to reach business executives through all of the touch points available in their 24/7 lives. Brands that do not offer their audience the convenience of a 360-degree media experience will be handicapped.
Bloomberg Businessweek is investing for the future. A fundamental reinvention of the magazine in 2010 will be followed by the redesign of Businessweek.com this summer, and a continued focus on building quality circulation growth. We see a big future for mobile at Bloomberg. At its foundation, Bloomberg is both a content and technology company. This enables us to develop our own apps and enhanced feature sets versus outsourcing. We believe this capacity allows us to bring to market products tightly designed around our readers' needs, as evidenced by the incredible ratings we are seeing on our iPad app in the iTunes store.
The hunger and competitiveness at Bloomberg is infectious. There's a belief among the people at Bloomberg that we are here to win. Those who work at Bloomberg Businessweek share in that esprit de corps. We maintain a conviction that to be a market leader, you have to invest in your brand, even during an economic downturn. We are all quite bullish about the future of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek.
Hugh Wiley is the publisher of Bloomberg Businessweek. He can be reached at [email protected]