Q&A: The BNN and Bloomberg partnership in Canada after one year
Jon Erlichman is host of a show called “The Open” on BNN Bloomberg, a Canadian collaboration between BNN and Bloomberg Media that launched last year.
He was a reporter and anchor for Bloomberg Television and ABC News, working in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York before rejoining BNN, where he was part of the team that started the station in 1999.
Since his return to BNN in 2016, Erlichman has interviewed business and political leaders such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
He has also written columns and articles for Fortune magazine and The Wrap, and worked as a tech correspondent for HLN.
Erlichman spoke with Talking Biz News by email about the relationship between BNN and Bloomberg after one year. What follows is an edited transcript.
What were some of the early kinks that needed to be worked out between Bloomberg and BNN?
There’s always a learning curve when two newsrooms join forces. Heading into the partnership, we were confident our organizations had strong similarities, in terms of our cultures and editorial priorities. That proved to be true from day one and helped us coordinate effectively. BNN Bloomberg General Manager Grant Ellis and Bloomberg Media’s Head of Global Partnerships Ted Fine deserve credit for developing a roadmap that worked exceptionally well.
When we rolled out our “Bloomberg Markets” program, which is co-anchored in Toronto and New York, our roadmap gave us a sense of the stories that would resonate globally and locally. For me personally, the transition felt seamless.
On our morning program “The Open,” which I co-host, we easily integrated Bloomberg reporters in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Washington and New York into our daily coverage.Having worked for Bloomberg in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, I have a great relationship with many of the organization’s talented reporters and producers and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them.
How has Bloomberg helped BNN cover stories?
Bloomberg’s global presence has been a game changer. It’s an organization that employs journalists in more than 150 bureaus worldwide and we’ve enjoyed great access to those reporters. For example, we’ve benefited from Bloomberg’s extensive coverage of Brexit, with frequent live reports from London. As well, Bloomberg’s scoop oriented teams in Washington, Ottawa and Mexico City have provided us with additional insight on trade deals such as the new USMCA.
The partnership has also helped us to quickly mobilize our coverage around breaking news in Latin American countries such as Brazil and Venezuela.
And, as someone who covers the tech industry closely, I’ve appreciated our access to Bloomberg beat reporters covering major live events involving Silicon Valley giants such as Apple and Facebook.
How has BNN’s staff grown and/or changed in the past year?
Overall, our staffing levels on the broadcast side have remained steady. BNN continues to operate a thriving newsroom in Toronto, which remains home base for our nine daily live programs produced throughout the week. We’ve also maintained our presence in Calgary, as part of our important coverage of the energy industry and Alberta’s economy.
And, of course, we enjoy daily contributions from CTV News correspondents stationed across Canada and abroad. The combination of our existing resources with our excellent partners at Bloomberg has provided us with some great momentum.
We also continue to add to our digital team, with a growing roster of journalists covering everything from the Canadian tech startup scene to the fast growing cannabis industry.
How much content is on the website each day?
We publish roughly 300 stories a day on everything from stock market investing to real estate. That includes auto-published content from Bloomberg. We’re particularly pleased to see strong interest in our original content and our partner content. For example, our most popular stories are fairly evenly split between Bloomberg News reports and BNN Bloomberg stories. Our Senior Digital Producer April Fong and her team have done a great job on that front.
Me personally, I write frequently about big stories in tech and media. This year, that has included in-depth features on Apple, Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Facebook, as well as scoop based reporting such as my recent exclusive story on former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Meanwhile, BNN Bloomberg’s video content also now has wider reach. For example, our videos are frequently featured on the Bloomberg Terminal, and our television interviews are often featured in Bloomberg’s reporting, which is then distributed to other publications through its wire service.
What’s been the biggest surprise so far as a result of the partnership?
I’m extremely proud of how quickly we’ve been able to coordinate news gathering. I know from personal experience how effective Bloomberg can be at sharing its resources globally to break news. That ‘know-how’ now extends to our partnership.
For example, I recently had an exclusive interview in Toronto with Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey. Through our partnership, we were able to coordinate our broadcast, print, and digital coverage globally.
BNN Bloomberg’s Managing Editor Noah Zivitz and Bloomberg Executive Producer Sandra Mergulhão have been incredibly helpful in overseeing those efforts.Another pleasant surprise for me has been the ability to contribute to Bloomberg Radio. I often join my good friends Carol Massar and Jason Kelly for weekly segments on the technology sector.
How has BNN Bloomberg’s audience climbed in the past year?
BNN entered its partnership with Bloomberg from a position of strength. We remain Canada’s leader in financial broadcasting and the premier digital destination for business news. While we don’t share specific numbers on audience size, I can say our numbers are up and the partnership has helped us improve in the areas where our viewers sought additional coverage, both on television and online.
Notably, our early morning is more closely aligned with global markets, which matters to sophisticated investors.
What’s been the biggest viewer reaction that you’ve gotten as a result of the partnership?
Anecdotally, I’ve received tremendous feedback through emails, tweets and even people on the street. Overwhelmingly, the message has been that our coverage of Canadian business with global perspective is greatly appreciated.
Many of our viewers are making decisions regarding their financial future. So the addition of Bloomberg’s breaking analysis of news events and exclusive content and interviews has provided fresh perspective to our in-depth coverage of the landscape here at home.
Are there any future plans to expand with new and different shows, or web content?
Beyond our partnership with Bloomberg, we have some great originals we’re focused on. I host our celebrity entrepreneur series “Sidelines,” which was just introduced to our primetime lineup on Tuesdays. We also just announced the addition of CTV National News, the nation’s most watched newscast, to our weeknight programming.
On the digital side, we’re exploring the creation of more social videos through our partnership with Bloomberg. We’ve already enjoyed success teaming up with Bloomberg’s Twitter network, TicToc, which has incorporated video from our recent Jack Dorsey interview, as well as our “Sidelines” guests, such as Penelope Cruz.
What has been the biggest benefit for BNN?
We’re really proud that in the past year, we’ve become bigger and better. Bloomberg has been a terrific partner and has helped us cover stories of global importance, as well as deliver exclusive scoops and in-depth investigations both on television and online.