Bloomberg Media CEO Justin B. Smith on 2021 First Half Performance

Justin B. Smith sent the following memo to Bloomberg Media employees:


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you and your families happy, healthy and enjoying the summer after an incredibly busy first half of the year. Having recently returned from some time off myself, I want to remind you to take your T-Days (vacation) as well as the two additional summer Z-Days (personal) that we’ve allocated. Please look after yourselves, spend time with your family and friends and recharge.

This is important to acknowledge in light of the remarkable team effort that produced Bloomberg Media’s unprecedented first half performance. Even amid strong earnings reports industry-wide, it’s hard not to categorize our growth as market-leading and exceptional.

To remind you what we shared at our Town Hall, Bloomberg Media realized 53% total revenue growth in the first half over last year (we were also up 79% in Q2 vs. Q2 2020). This increase exceeded our aggressive budget target of 34% growth by a significant margin and represented big gains over 2019 as well.

Total advertising and live events rose 73% in the first half over last year, driven by:
  • Core advertising revenue increase of 47% YoY
    • Digital: +59% YoY
    • TV +30%; Radio +35% and Print +28%
    • Quicktake: +310%
    • Sector growth: +194% revenue increase in software and tech, +83% in consumer discretionary (led by automotive) and +47% in financial services
  • Average deal size: +144%
  • Bloomberg Media Studios revenue: +80%
  • Bloomberg Live: Converting from live to virtual to hybrid, the events team saw 5x revenue growth relative to last year and has grown its audience 10x

On the subscription front, our active subscriber base also grew by 34% — reaching more than 325,000 business leaders (40%+ of them outside the U.S.) — leading to an 80% revenue increase over the previous year. Additionally, following its first half ad revenue growth, Quicktake’s OTT and O&O-based viewership grew 50% from June to July for its best-ever month on those platforms, outpacing even the newsy month of January.

The story of the first half makes it clear that we’re not just outpacing a tough early pandemic Q2 of 2020 but also the pre-pandemic Q1 of last year, as well as our record-setting revenue in 2019.

When compared to 2019, our first half ad revenue is up by 30%. These numbers set an important new high water mark for Bloomberg Media’s global revenue. As always, the foundation of our commercial success remains the world class, data-driven journalism that animates all of our global media platforms.

We are well-positioned to deliver the best year in Bloomberg Media’s history. To finish strong and make that a reality, we must focus on the following areas:

  1. Meet robust advertiser and sponsor demand by growing our audience scale and engagement across all platforms world-wide
  2. Lead the world’s return to in-person major global convenings with New Economy Forum in Singapore in November 2021
  3. Launch Quicktake’s new slate of talent-driven shows starting with Imran Ahmed’s “Business of Fashion” show launching this fall, followed by Chris Paul and Emma Barnett’s original programs.
  4. Continue to act with urgency on our culture commitments and D&I efforts, as we foster an empowering environment that enables us to recruit, develop and retain the best talent in the world. We look forward to sharing more from the leadership work streams based on your continued feedback in surveys, town halls and other dialogues. You can also find a refresher of our nine Culture Commitments here.

Our goal is to build the world’s number one business media organization, in service of Bloomberg LP. We’ll accomplish this through a combination of our invention mindset and positive, entrepreneurial culture.

Bloomberg Media will continue to invent to grow, keeping our business and consumers ready for the future. Thank you again for everything you are doing to make that possible.