Bloomberg LP, one of the biggest names in buttoned-down business talk, is about to unveil a new TV show seeking instead to push the limits on a more broadly appealing kind of financial chatter.
The company’s business-news cable network sports a plethora of shows with names like “Market Makers” and “Bloomberg West.” But its newest program has a title that is rather informal: “What’d You Miss?” will debut Monday in a “soft launch” and feature a host whose main expertise comes from digital journalism and a co-host who vows to find a way to “tell my mom why it matters” when explaining the most important news of the day. They intend to make ample use of data, graphics and charts.
“What’d You Miss?” will rely on the avuncular personality of Joe Weisenthal, who arrived at Bloomberg to oversee its consumer-focused markets coverage in November of last year after making a name for himself as the always-on correspondent at Business Insider who covered the financial markets on a seemingly 24/7 basis. He and co-host Alix Steel described a show that will find the most interesting information behind the headlines every day as the markets wrap. The 30-minute-long “What’d You Miss,” which launches June 29 at 4 p.m. ET, is designed to serve as the network’s flagship markets program.
“You don’t have to make a tradeoff between sophistication and breadth,” Weisenthal said in an interview Thursday morning. “You can create a product that people who are deep in the weeds of the market will appreciate and will learn something from but also the broader audience can say, ‘Oh, I learned something new.’” He and Steel expect to make use of financial data from the parent company’s popular terminals to find interesting nuggets that add context to daily headlines.
“We are both really curious people,” said Steel. “We can find a new way to talk about things and why they are interesting.”
The show is the latest property to debut as Bloomberg LP tries to broaden its customer base beyond the stock traders and financial business professionals who have relied on its terminals for years to get the latest corporate news and market maneuvers. In January, the company launched a new digital site, Bloomberg Business, that assembles video and text in a single area and tries to lend the content a more populist feel. Stories on the site Thursday include a look at acquisitions of craft beer by Anheuser Busch InBev and a poll examining Senator Bernie Sanders’ standing against Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democrat Party’s nomination for U.S. president.
The moves are seismic for Bloomberg, whose founder, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has returned to run the company. In recent weeks, several press reports have suggested that Bloomberg’s new direction — it has also broadened its coverage of politics — has set off some longtime employees who have seen old patterns disrupted and a cadre of new executives come in the front door.
On TV, said Claudia Milne, who heads up global TV at Bloomberg, the idea is to “find new and exciting ways of diving into the terminal and letting the audience get a taste of what we can share with them.” Bloomberg TV is available in more than 360 million homes across more than 70 countries worldwide, the company said, and a live-stream of the network is available on the Bloomberg Business hub. The network is not and has never been measured by Nielsen.
Citing comScore, Bloomberg said average monthly unique video viewers have more than tripled year over year in the first three months since Bloomberg Business launched, topping 8 million. Sixty-seven percent of all visitors to Bloomberg Business watch video, the company said.
Weisenthal and Steel expect to work in such a way that attracts viewers through social media as well as the old-fashioned method. Indeed, the title of the program comes from the way in which Weisenthal would try to get caught up via Twitter after going to sleep. “I wanted to know what happened in the markets overnight, because markets never sleep, “he said. “That’s turned out to be a sure-fire way to get a real quick update.”