Q&A: Bloomberg’s Digital Chief Has His Sights Set on Cord Cutters

And why he calls Facebook 'the 800-pound gorilla'


Specs
Current gig Global head of digital, Bloomberg Media
Previous gig Svp, digital, Time, Inc.
Twitter @msh200
Age 44

Adweek: Why did you want to come over to Bloomberg from Time?
Scott Havens: The resources at this company are pretty amazing for somebody like me who really wants to build editorial and data-driven products on a global scale. It offered an opportunity that truly is unrivaled and unsurpassed in a media market which is challenged right now. I was really interested in growing my experience in international expansion. That wasn't something that I had done before and wasn't going to be able to do too much of it at Time. And video, I really saw the opportunity here, given that we have a linear cable TV channel and a robust digital original video team to help grow that business to the next level.

You mentioned international expansion. What markets are you focused on right now?
In combination with our TV and digital business, we've gone into Canada and we're in Mexico. We're heading to the Middle East; we've got stuff going on in India, and a few other areas that we're looking at, including Australia, Africa and South America. We've got a whole list of countries and regions that we'd like to go into in a more profound way.

Speaking of digital video, what are you trying to do in that space?
We're investing heavily in our OTT platform; we were pretty early to the game. What you'll start seeing from us is programming to help grow our OTT presence, because really that's the future of television. We're lucky enough that we have live TV right now as a product we can offer up in OTT when others have to be authenticated and are locked down. We're able to play in a different space. That makes us appealing to this whole rising cord-nevers and cord-cutters demographic.

What's the best way for Bloomberg to reach these cord-cutters and cord-nevers?
We have a live TV signal. If some world event like Brussels happens, and you're a cord-cutter or a cord-never and you go to Roku, who are you going to fire up? There's not that many options. We have a news desk that is running 24/7 globally that we can beam into. So you have that option. I know from the data and focus groups that cord-nevers and cord-cutters want that. That's one area where we can start to establish ourselves in way that they may not have thought of us in a linear way.

What other digital platforms will Bloomberg be eyeing this year?
Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in terms of discovery and traffic referral. We are going to look first and foremost at the platforms that deliver the most value to us, and that would be Facebook right now. We're absolutely watching the rise of messaging platforms­—WeChat, LINE—especially around the world as ways to dip into content. We don't use LINE and WeChat here to share content, but they do in Asia. We're going to have a more regional-centric view of the world on those new messaging platforms. We're pretty focused on the business executives around the world. We're not necessarily looking to connect with 15-year-old kids that want to listen to Justin Bieber. It's one of the reasons we've not gone aggressively into Snapchat yet. It's a relatively young, although it's getting older, demographic, so we've got to pick and choose.

This story first appeared in the April 18 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.