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Bloomberg’s Paul Marcum Is Trying to Make Business Videos Go Viral

He's up for anything

Photo: Alfred Maskeroni

Specs
New gig Global head of digital video, Bloomberg
Old gig Director, global digital marketing and programming, GE
Age 45
Twitter @jpmarcum

You started at Bloomberg in January as the global head of digital innovation. Why the shift to video?
I joined at the latter part of Justin Smith’s (Bloomberg Media CEO) strategic planning to help look at all the digital opportunities that Bloomberg was facing. As we moved through that, we saw a tremendous opportunity for digital video.

How do the digital videos differ from what you do for broadcast?
We were No. 1 in business video at the end of last year, according to comScore. That wasn’t based only on the broadcast digital livestream, but also on a tremendous number of video-on-demand clips. Frankly, it’s a different experience. Business news doesn’t always have visual elements and the emotion that you want.

Business video isn’t always the most thrilling. Plus, how can you compete against cats?
[Laughs] I think in many ways video can be a slower, more thoughtful way to consume business news. You’re able to convey the personalities behind the news. You’re able to help explain technology and the changes that are impacting business with a more personal experience. What we benefit from is we don’t need to reinvent TV, and we have access to newsmakers. We want to know how can we leverage that in an intimate digital setting.

Are you looking to do longer video features?
We see a huge amount of engagement around a minute. It dips after that, but then comes up again around the five-minute mark, so we’re exploring both lengths.

How are you making sure people see these videos?
Our goal is to make the highest quality video experience available on as many platforms as possible. We’re also working with a number of distribution partners. We have 88,000 subscribers on our YouTube channel, which has been growing from a standing start a year or so ago. We’re getting out there, and frankly, our brand partners want to see us out there. We’ve worked with Kia, Microsoft, Sage, Fidelity and Cisco. There’s no shortage of interested companies from the financial industry, and there are broader brand folks who want to reach the high-quality audience that Bloomberg delivers.

Has advertiser demand for digital video increased?
Advertisers are excited to reach folks through a platform that’s both intimate but also visual and similar to the methods that many advertisers have had success with on TV. I think broadcast is a great platform for advertising, but certainly digital video is growing.

What do you watch online?
I am a huge fan of anything that involves someone doing something crazy that I would never do, like putting on a wingsuit and jumping out of a plane, off a building or off a cliff. That’s something I’m never going to try, and more power to them for strapping on a GoPro and making the jump.

Are we going to see GoPro videos on Bloomberg?
We actually did a video with Sam Grobart, one of our personalities. I think it was the most mundane GoPro video ever. Basically, as a suburban dad, he wore the GoPro into the office for the day. It was actually pretty funny.

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