Inside the transforming media industry at SXSW 2018

Jen Robinson

Bloomberg Media Group Global Head of Digital M. Scott Havens and Twitter VP and Global Head of Content Partnerships Kay M. Madati explored the future of news – from next-gen habits to emerging technologies – in a panel discussion last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. CBS News Digital EVP and General Manager  Christy Tanner and VMG President and Founder Chris Batty joined the conversation as well.

Bloomberg Media hosted a panel at SXSW Interactive that included executives from Twitter, CBS News Digital and VMG.

The news industry – and digital media as a whole – is seeing a “confluence of trends,” Havens said. That includes the rise of streaming, the ubiquity of mobile phones as a way to get news, and the fact that younger audiences don’t necessarily connect with news brands the way previous generations did, he said. These forces are continuously changing how media companies think about both producing news and building a business.

That evolving landscape is also creating new opportunities, said Twitter’s Madati. “The new normal is going to be thinking about how you can bring content to bear on the idea that people are going to be living on devices, in different places and different times, who may not be sitting down” and viewing as they used to do, he added.

TicToc by Bloomberg – the first and only global breaking news network built for Twitter, which launched about two months ago – is an example of that, Madati said, bringing together Twitter’s ability to instantly reach hundreds of millions of people with Bloomberg’s authoritative global reporting, in a way that serves an age-old need for reliable news in a very modern way.

That’s especially true as bots, misinformation and a breakneck news cycle whipsaw consumers. ”We felt there was an opportunity to bring trust, objectivity and credibility to the platform,” Havens said. “TicToc is built as a native customized news experience for Twitter and for how you use Twitter, broken up into quick bites,” he said. “It’s live news — not all the time, but when you need it.”

This approach is already showing strong results. Breaking news and live events are generating high viewership and engagement for TicToc, as Alex Weprin reported in MediaPost:

Speaking on a panel at SXSW in Austin, Texas Monday, M. Scott Havens, global head of digital for Bloomberg Media, said that the channel — which only launched in December — has had the most success when covering live events where video is a natural fit.


“People love breaking news and breaking live events,” Havens said. “We’ve done State of the Union, Space X launches etc, and we can see really high concurrency. As we spin up the global infrastructure to do it around the clock and as Twitter’s product evolves, we’d like to do five to six live events at the same time in places like China, Europe and South America.”


Read the full article.


TicToc had a live event of its own in Austin too — hosting a juice bar at the Twitter House during the festival where attendees could experience and learn more about the news network.

And Bloomberg journalists – as well as leaders from across the company – participated in panels charting what comes next in media, technology and more.

Emily Chang, anchor and executive producer of the daily show Bloomberg Technology and author of the recently best-seller Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys Club of Silicon Valley, explored the past and future of  working in Silicon Valley as a woman. Multiple Bloomberg News journalists joined panel discussions, including reporter Lucas Shaw, who weighed in on how entertainment news is evolving.

Katherine Oliver, Principle, Bloomberg Associates, offered insight on how cities can get smarter, in a conversation with London’s first Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who appointed Blackwell, was also in Austin – where he spoke with Bloomberg Television’s Yvonne Man on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia.”