Bloomberg Execs on David Westin, Paywalls and Playtime for the One Percent

The roster of media mavens, moguls and bold face names spotted today at Michael's.

lunch at michaels With all this talk of the care and feeding of New York’s one percenters fueling the city’s tabloids these days, it seemed only fitting that this week’s lunch at Michael’s was with Paul Caine and Jacki Kelley of Bloomberg Media Group, a company which is central to the life of masters and mistresses of the universe all over the world.

Paul Caine, Diane Clehane and Jacki Kelley
Paul Caine, Diane Clehane and Jacki Kelley
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Paul is global chief revenue and client partnerships officer at Bloomberg Media Group, Bloomberg L.P.’s global multi-platform media organization. It encompasses the entire Bloomberg media empire: web, mobile, television, digital video, radio, print magazines and live events platforms. Prior to joining Bloomberg, he was CEO of Westwood One, the largest independent national audio media company in North America. In a matter of months, Paul rebranded the company and oversaw its sale to Cumulus Media Inc. for $260 million. (In a bit of fortuitous timing, two of Westwood One’s former CEOs, David Landau and Spencer Brown, stopped by our table to say hello.) I’ve known Paul since his days at Time Inc. and he’s always been, without doubt, one of the nicest guys in the business.

I’d never met Jacki before, but her reputation as an industry powerhouse certainly preceded her. (Everyone from Crains to Business Insider has tapped her as one of the most influential women in advertising and she’s been honored by several organizations including New York WICI and Advertising Women of New York) Jacki joined Bloomberg Media as COO a year ago and since then, has relaunched the company’s flagship digital destination, Bloomberg Business with stellar results. In her prior post, she was CEO for IPG Mediabrands North America and President of Global Clients where she led IPG’s successful bid for all of Microsoft’s creative and deployment work globally. Under her leadership, Bloomberg has seen a double-digit bump in traffic since January and had its best traffic month ever in April, with 20.8 million uniques, surpassing The Wall Street Journal for the first time. “That was really significant because we are a digital company first,” Paul told me. And one which currently has 90 million video streams per month.

The numbers Paul and Jacki were reeling off during lunch were indeed head-spinning. Bloomberg terminal owners (whose MHI is $576,000) are forking over an average $25,000 for their annual subscription. So the bar, to say the least, is set very high. Aside from providing the world’s top-tier influencers up to the minute (literally) news on the global markets, finance, technology and politics, Bloomberg is now poised to command the same authority on the leisure pursuits of their discerning customers.

Last week, Bloomberg Media unveiled the redesigned Bloomberg Pursuits magazine, a quarterly guide to the burgeoning luxury market, which is sent to terminal subscribers who opt-in to receive it. “A very elite and elusive audience,” noted Paul. Advertisers for the first issue include Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Hermès. Where all of Bloomberg’s other media properties encourage a ‘Lean In’ mentality, Paul explained Bloomberg Pursuits, edited by Emma Rosenblum, is all about ‘leaning back’ offering readers curated information and inspiration on how to spend their most valuable commodity of all — their leisure time. Like all of Bloomberg’s other editorial products, editorial content from Bloomberg Pursuits will figure prominently on all platforms: mobile, television, digital video, print, radio and live events. The Summer 2015 issue features tennis star Maria Sharapova on the cover.

Fondly recalling those days not too long ago when the city seemed like it was in a lot better shape under the Bloomberg administration, I asked Paul and Jacki how Michael Bloomberg‘s legendary work ethic and fierce independence shapes the company and its products. “Bloomberg’s different business model allows us a different long-term prospective and to invest differently. It allows us to be more ambitious,” said Jacki. Paul weighed in saying, “We don’t spend time thinking about advertising models, we think about providing great content. Some media companies create vehicles just to serve advertisers.” Using Pursuits as an example, Paul told me the reboot wasn’t designed to attract advertisers, “but they love the quality of the audience.”

“Mike never wanted a subscription fee [for Bloomberg TV,]” said Jacki. The terminal subscriptions “serve as a paywall” explained Paul, allowing “the focus on real, hardcore journalism across all platforms.” I was surprised to learn Bloomberg has more news bureaus around the world than CNN, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times combined. Jacki pointed to the roster of top-tier journalists that fill the ranks like Game Change authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (who host With All Due Respect on Bloomberg TV) and their most recent hire, former ABC News president David Westin, who starts later this month as an on-air personality. Jacki declined to elaborate further on what precisely David will be doing, but said he will appear on “one program and maybe multiple shows.” All of this, she said, points to the ongoing innovations that Bloomberg is making within the company in addressing the burning question in media today: What does a modern newsroom of the future look like?

Technology, of course, has always been at the heart of Bloomberg’s strategy for growth. Bloomberg Business was just named a business news launch partner of Apple’s iOS 9. Bloomberg has a long and layered history with Apple (and employs eight full-time staffers to cover the company). Jacki also pointed out that when CEO Tim Cook “made his highly personal announcement” that he was gay, he choose Bloomberg Businessweek to tell his story. Undoubtedly there will be plenty of interesting stories being told at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in San Francisco next week. Speakers include Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. That same week, Businessweek will publish an entire issue devoted to code.

“Mike stands for quality,” said Paul as we finished up our coffee. “He wants people to have the best information about everything. It’s not about influencing them. It’s providing them with the information they need to make the best decisions. Our customers are really smart–and they require us to live up to that.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Denise LeFrak and friends

2. Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Warren Hoge

4. Leonard Lauder and Brad Grey

5. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman

6. Jolie Hunt and pals

7. Michael Kassan

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia

9. Andrew Stein

10. Tracey Jackson

11. Steve Rattner

12. Jennifer Maguire Isham;  Second seating: Vanity Fair’s David Margolick

14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew

15. Paul Scura and Charles Koppelman

16. United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky

17. Judy Price

18. Galvanized CEO David Zinczenko with his chief strategy officer Jon Hammond and former Top Chef Masters host Kelly Choi, author of the new 7-Day Flat Belly Tea Cleanse. Did you know today is National Iced Tea Day? Now you do.

20. Producer Joan Gelman and Joan Hamburg

21. Penske Media Vice Chair Gerry Byrne and Ed Bleier

22. GQ publisher Howard Mittman

23. Tribecca Films’ Stan Maker

24. British Heritage publisher Jack Kliger with his wife, Amy Kliger and Chris Phillips from Apartment Therapy (Catchy name for a website, no?)

25. PR maestro Tom Goodman

26. Cynthia Lewis and an exotic-looking dark-haired gal

27. Paul Caine, Jacki Kelley and yours truly

28. Bisila Bokoko

29. John Needham

81. LAK PR CEO Lisa Linden with Greg Wagner, development director at the University of Albama

Faces in the crowd: ‘Jersey Girls’ Kira Semler and Vi Huse at the bar … Business consultant Mike Berman in the Garden Room

Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.

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