Bloomberg Media CEO: International will be key to growth in 2019
Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith sent out the following announcement to the staff on Monday:
As we shared last month at our Global Town Hall, Bloomberg Media’s breakout 2018 performance yielded some of the most impressive results we’ve seen relative to the rest of the industry. Once again, well done.
In 2018, we hit record revenue, with 16% year-over-year growth. We managed to hit this historical high-water mark in Bloomberg Media revenue while we were launching four new initiatives and innovating across our core businesses–an impressive achievement. In 2018, digital advertising revenue grew 15%, with new digital format advertising up 44%. Bloomberg Live, another growth driver, jumped 82% last year.
2018 was a challenging year for the news media. While competitors pivoted to stem declining valuations and counter the dominance of the tech platforms, Bloomberg Media invented our way forward by trying new things. This type of risk-taking is the essence of Bloomberg LP’s company culture of action and entrepreneurialism.
As we turn our focus to the year ahead, our priority for 2019 is to double-down on our strategy of innovation-based growth. We’ll aggressively expand our four new businesses and integrate them more deeply across our existing suite of products, platforms, services and teams. We are again projecting double digit year-over-year growth in 2019 and Q1 is already looking strong.
TicToc continues to redefine news consumption for the next generation professional who crave mobile-first video news they can trust. In 2019, TicToc’s reach will extend beyond Twitter and onto new platforms. TicToc is now in more than 30 airports in US and Canada and will soon release its first foreign language version. A new digital video platform launching end of this month will curate category-based playlists of TicToc videos, allowing viewers to get beyond the social feed and deeper into our quality content. We expect TicToc to stream on OTT platforms later this year too.
The New Economy Forum will expand in our second year, with plans to convene the world’s preeminent private and public sector leaders in Asia this fall. Throughout the year, we will bring in new partners, implement our NEF SolutionsLab to take action on key initiatives discussed last year and build NEF into a year-round global media platform.
Tripling our first-year subscription benchmarks should make us proud of the value of our content and our ability to build a new consumer revenue stream from scratch. We’ll be using our in-house data lake, group subscriptions and a strengthened customer service center to grow engaged traffic, drive conversion and reduce churn in year two of our subscription business. Our goal of a 60% increase in subscriptions is bold, but within reach.
Much of the work we started with brands around our marketing and strategic services business will come to life in 2019, and we expect client interest to accelerate as a result.
International expansion will also be key to our growth in 2019. Our new television studio in Beijing is set to launch this Spring, with a second Shanghai studio in the works. We have plans to pursue TV, digital, and content expansions in Israel, Switzerland, Middle East and Latin America. BLIVE events will continue its rapid growth by deepening sponsor integration, creating new custom opportunities, and expanding globally with the Bloomberg Equality Summit launching in London and Dubai. Radio will continue its march towards digital platforms as we expand our podcast businesses. Businessweek and Markets magazines will continue delivering our most respected journalism across all our platforms. Opportunities will continue to emerge as we integrate further across platforms, services and teams.
We’re pleased with our results in 2018, and confident in our ability to achieve another strong year of growth in 2019, despite the industry’s challenges. Together we’ve created a new blueprint of a global, modern media company. Thank you for your hard work and contribution across all we do.