Bloomberg Media Restructures Ad-Sales Group

New York Staffers Cut as Company Adopts Cross-Selling Approach

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Businessweek is part of Bloomberg Media, which is restructuring its ad-sales force.
Businessweek is part of Bloomberg Media, which is restructuring its ad-sales force.

Bloomberg Media is restructuring its ad-sales staff, resulting in about a dozen layoffs at its New York headquarters, the company said. It plans to replace all of those staffers with new hires.

"We are in a position of maintaining or growing our headcount," said Paul Caine, global chief revenue officer at Bloomberg Media. "But as we're making these decisions about where the personnel need to be, we're shifting resources to regions outside of New York."

Previously, Bloomberg Media's salespeople represented media properties -- such as Bloomberg TV and radio and Bloomberg Businessweek and their websites -- resulting in seven different sales teams in the U.S. That means a marketer or media buyer could have seven contacts at Bloomberg media.

"Bloomberg was unique because we made it a little bit more challenging," said Mr. Caine. "I want to ease all of the frustration advertisers might have."

The restructuring creates one team, allowing salespeople to sell across Bloomberg Media's multiple platforms. Ad sellers will now represent categories, such as auto and food. The company plans to add staff in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston and Washington D.C.

"This approach is not new in terms of the industry," added Mr. Caine. "It's new in a sense of Bloomberg."

Sellers at Google, Twitter and Yahoo are all, for the most part, grouped according to category. Hearst, which publishes Cosmopolitan and Esquire magazines, groups its sellers according to category, region and media platform.

The bulk of Bloomberg's revenue stems from its eponymous financial terminals. It expected record revenues companywide in 2013, according to Fortune magazine, but at least parts of the media arm reportedly operates in the red, with Bloomberg Businessweek losing tens of millions of dollars each year.

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith is leading a transition to focus on storytelling across platforms. He has, for instance, sought to tie the company's linear TV efforts with its digital-video assets. "We've trained the linear team to think through a digital lens and we've trained digital to think about it through a linear lens," Mr. Smith told Ad Age in February. "We might run a package on TV that was produced by the digital team."

Mr. Smith, who led a turnaround at Atlantic Media before joining Bloomberg, is also planning to introduce several new digital properties. To that end, the company hired Josh Topolsky, co-founder of the tech site The Verge, as well as Chris Rovzar, the former digital editor of Vanity Fair, to spearhead editorial projects.

On the business side, Bloomberg Media hired Sandy Golinkin, the publisher of Lucky magazine from 2000 to 2008, to lead luxury sales. It also poached Keith Grossman from Wired magazine to be the first publisher of Bloomberg Digital. (Vanity Fair, Lucky and Wired are all owned Conde Nast.) And Jacki Kelley, a veteran of both ad sales and ad buying, left Interpublic Group to become chief operating officer at Bloomberg Media.

Mr. Caine, a former Time Inc. veteran who joined Bloomberg Media in June, is restructuring the sales team to match Mr. Smith's vision. "We have the mission to help our advertisers tell their stories as well," he said. Mr. Caine will also expand and integrate the international sales to mirror the new structure in the U.S.

It's a smart move on Bloomberg's part, said Shenan Reed, president-digital at MEC North America, a division of the GroupM media-buying conglomerate. "We're not looking at them in silos," she said. "We're looking at their content and consumer first. After that we're looking at their channels and how we can engage them. I think they need to stay completely engaged across all their offerings."

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