March 11, 2019
Bloomberg Media hosted the panel, “The Intersection of New Formats in Media” at SXSW Interactive this weekend, to discuss the rapid changes in content consumption preferences and the fragmentation across multiple platforms, including video, newsletter, podcast, social feeds, voice, linear-TV and more.
Speaking to a room of 600+ people on Saturday morning, panelists Jean Ellen Cowgill, General Manager of TicToc by Bloomberg & Global Head of Digital Strategy and Business Development, Bloomberg Media; Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, Executive Producer and General Manager for Video, The Atlantic; Nick Quah, Founder & Publisher, Hot Pod Media; and moderator Sara Fischer, Media Reporter of Axios, discussed topics that are top-of-mind at media and content companies, including how to explore innovative strategies in content distribution across new formats.
Key highlights from Jean Ellen Cowgill during the panel:
On the success of TicToc by Bloomberg as a new format :
“We launched TicToc, which is intended to reach a new audience, a younger audience…In terms of what it represents from a larger media perspective, I think it represents the ways in which large companies need to think about their portfolio and the different ways that they have initiatives that complement one another in reaching specific, different, but complementary audiences. I mean that definitely is the story in media right now, especially where we’re seeing success in experimentation and diversification, trying things that don’t just rely on additional streams of revenue. Not all of them are going to work in the long term, but there are clear trends, and if you don’t get on board with them then you are missing opportunities for audience growth, for engagement, for revenue even if that trend dies.”
On TicToc’s platform strategy:
“For TicToc, in particular, we are in a unique partnership with Twitter which has afforded us a lot of benefits in terms of audience growth. We have a post sales model with them on the platform and we’re still in partnership — and that’s a really good partnership for us and I think it’s a good partnership for them. But we always knew that we wanted to expand to multiple platforms because if we’re going to be a media brand that you trust and that you can find wherever you are, then we have to live and float across this very fragmented news day that now exists. That really is the challenge for TicToc today — using what we learned during our incubation year, year one on Twitter, and figuring out how we expand to other social platforms and other forms…We don’t want you to think of us a magazine brand, or a Twitter brand, or a social brand. We want you to think of us as a news publisher that you can trust to help you understand what’s going on. Whether you give us 60 seconds or as we expand in the future, whether you are willing to give us 30 minutes or an hour of your day.”
On TicToc’s attractiveness to advertisers:
“The brand safety concerns for advertisers are real, and one of the things we can offer is the ability to float across these different platforms with quality journalism. We are not going to end up next to something that you do not want your brand associated with, and I think that is something advertisers are getting savvier at understanding. That’s a real opportunity.”
On marketing to a general audience when TicToc intends to reach a niche group:
“You have to know your audience to start. You have to know who you are starting with as your core, who is going to be passionate, who is going to be a fan. As you grow, you’re going to get a more casual audience. We live in an algorithmic platform world – so what we try to do is create content that is going to speak to that passionate core group but as it hits your feed, if you’re a more casual viewer, they can say they learned something. We’re not going to be for everyone and that’s okay, but stick to knowing who you are creating for and how it’s going to resonate with a broader audience in a casual way – playing to both of those pieces is how we’re going to see success.”