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16.07.2017

Bloomberg's Josh Rucci: ‘We should talk about mobile battery life’

With publishers increasingly entering the video fray from shot clips to full feature films, the industry needs to have more discussion about the shortcomings of mobile as well.

In particular, says Josh Rucci, general manager and global head of distribution at Bloomberg Media, mobile battery life. Josh spoke at the recent Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin, and later shared some thoughts off stage with FIPP contributor Felix Mago.

“I do think we probably don’t talk about it enough in our circles,” Josh told Felix about mobile battery life. “That’s going to be so important in our mobile, connected world and is something I’d like see addressed for the good of consumers and content owners.”

Mobile is of course core to Bloomberg Media’s services today. Apart from the issue with battery life, “it’s amazing how these developments have developed in such a short period of time. It’s a completely different environment from 10 years ago.”

Josh foresees connected mobility “only increasing. There’ll be more connected homes, more connected spaces, but in the end with a need for a device that takes in data and context signals from different places.” In short – mobile phones as “the powerful computer” in your pocket won’t go anywhere else, any time soon.

“When people buy phone devices now, they’re not buying it for voice (as in phone calls) capabilities. They buy it for media capabilities. It presents major, ongoing opportunities. 

“Of course the business environment is challenging, in particular with two companies (Google and Facebook) taking so much of the ad market. Meeting that challenge through advocacy, through relationships, is going to be so important for us to maintain our existence.

“At the same time, we must come up with innovative offerings: that are free, that are paid-for, that offer advertising solutions – including to combat against ad-blocking which grew out of advertising that was broken. 

This is so important to us to maintain relevance. Last year we have all seen increased interest in branded content. The New York Times subscriptions have seen spectacular growth since the US presidential election. These things are testimony to that.”

When it comes to new devices and platforms, “We must also learn from the mistakes we have made with pop-up ads and so forth. We must use the opportunity to learn from our prior mistakes and develop a commercial model that makes a lot more sense in the connected world.”

Changes in journalism

With most audiences now on mobile, “it forces us to be a lot smarter in the way we package content for distribution,” Josh says. “For example, we are launching more and more integrated products where we’re marrying up text with photos, text with charts, text with videos.”

Visual journalism, in general, has become much more integral. “And that’s not only video”, says Josh, but also “the importance of photos and other images.” 

In respect of video, “I heard a presentation here [at DIS] I think from AwesomenessTV [Kelly Day, chief digital officer] who said their videos range from 10 seconds to 2 hours in length. So, curating those different experiences to meet digital audiences, be that of demographic or be it a specific platform, thinking of having a 15-second video or putting something on Netflix - those are new decisions facing us today.”

Last but not least, “We have a tech solution that is supposed to take a very complex subject along the lines of global conflict or banking regulations or something of that sort and narrow it down to 300 words in a very concise format. We recognise, particularly in Bloomberg’s case, that business decision-makers need quick and concise information that they can make decisions on in a very short time frame. And that’s what we aim to do.”

Future technologies

“The Internet of Things is super interesting right now as we look to develop better targeting for people. And being able to use different objects, connected devices, to have voice, I think these are some of the more interesting developments. With this, the right tagging and so on we can deliver insights throughout the day and maintain high engagement levels with users,” says Josh.

While VR is of interest, he believes cost needs to come down. “For us to scale a business around VR when it requires uniquely produced, expensive content – and on top of that you expect consumers to purchase a device that costs in the hundreds of dollars – I think it needs time.”

Watch Josh's full presentation from 2017's Digital Innovators' Summit here.

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