Being digital first, in hindsight I'm glad BQ launched before TV: Anil Uniyal, CEO, Bloomberg|Quint

Uniyal feels that Bloomberg|Quint has been a journey of unlearning-of how not to think TV in a digital world, in terms of processes, work flow, equipment, technology, monetization, or the people you hire

by Priyanka Mehra
Published - Mar 7, 2017 9:11 AM Updated: Mar 7, 2017 9:11 AM
Being digital first, in hindsight I'm glad BQ launched before TV: Anil Uniyal, CEO, Bloomberg|Quint

Launching Bloomberg|Quint Television in a manner that hasn’t been done before and scaling up the Bloomberg|Quint (BQ) organization in terms of culture and capabilities are some of the focus areas for Anil Uniyal, CEO, Bloomberg|Quint.

“Hailing from a TV background, it has been a new learning every day. Being digital first, in hindsight I’m glad BQ launched before TV; it meant that one consciously looked from the digital lens,” says an upbeat Uniyal, quiet confidence evident in his manner, when we quiz him on what he has had to ‘unlearn’ after donning the role as Bloomberg|Quint’s captain.

The erstwhile CEO of CNBC TV 18 and CNBC Broadcast Limited made news when he joined Raghav Bahl’s Quint; a well-known name in the business news space, Uniyal feels that Bloomberg|Quint has been a journey of unlearning—of how not to think TV in a digital world, in terms of processes, work flow, equipment, technology, monetization, or the people you hire.

“One had to park all that one knew and start afresh. So, it has been a learning right from setting up a digital publishing platform and digital video to production, work flow, and processes. Digital is a vast ocean and no one appears to be an ace swimmer; so it's live and learn every day,” he adds.

Uniyal talks about ‘what’  he considers competition in the domain, being  a social-first newsroom, his thoughts on Arnab Goswami’s Republic, launching Bloomberg|Quint Television in few months from now and more……….

Excerpts from the interview:

Bloomberg|Quint is positioned as a ‘digitally-led multi-platform business media company’. How difficult will this paradigm be in the real world once the TV channel is launched?

We are an integrated multi-platform business. We do not see any conflict once the TV channel is launched; we are fully synergized in our approach. There is one team serving the consumer and advertiser, so to speak. Platforms are means to an end, not the end in themselves. This integrated approach is, in fact, why it may not be that difficult for us. The reason problems arise is because of legacy structures or un-adaptable talent, and as a new venture we have taken care to design and hire appropriately.

We strongly believe that the near to mid-term future lies in the integrated model right from content to production to monetization. Editorially, we are content creators agnostic towards platforms and commercially, we are solution providers agnostic towards format or platforms.

Who are your leading advertisers? Which are the categories that you see gaining traction from?

We see strong traction with categories like BFSI, Tech, Auto, Telecom, services, and corporate brands. Our focus is on crafting brand partnerships, where we deliver quality audiences at scale. We are looking at building IPs and content products in partnership with brands, which engage consumers and not just deliver on reach. We have started working with clients who understand the power of content marketing and are building strong global brands.

Whom do you consider competition in the domain?

More than whom, it is more important to know what kind is our competition. We are focused on delivering news and perspective that make leaders smarter. We are in the business of influencing the influencers and shaping tomorrow’s business leaders. Brands who seek to do the same are our competitors.

What are your thoughts on Republic and its positioning?

The folks behind Republic are very talented and I believe that with a strong personality to drive it, they can play on the front foot. Execution, of course, will play a big role. I wish them the best.

What are some of the risks you have taken?

More than risk, it is the challenge that one has taken—the challenge to launch a fully integrated business news service in a ‘busy and non-differentiated, legacy-driven space’.

When can we expect the channel to launch?

The broad timelines are 3 to 4 months from now.

What is your approach in today’s media landscape wherein social media is an integral component and contributor of opinions and news?

We are perhaps building the country’s truly integrated multi-platform business news network. Whether in content or commercial operations, we have avoided silo-led thinking. At the back end, there is one team with capabilities to produce, adapt, and deliver across platforms, in a way that each platform demands it. Our hiring of talent also reflects this integrated bias, so to speak. We see social media as a ‘primary distribution’ platform, not just from an ‘incremental marketing’ point of view. Since day one, we began strongly as a social-first newsroom and the Bloomberg|Quint organization is deeply digital in its DNA. We have designed ourselves so as to ensure this integration is seamless and reinforcing, rather than retrofitting or reactionary, even after our TV network launches. Going forward, we feel value creation can only occur when media brands operate as brands first and mediums later.

Can you share growth numbers with us in terms of revenue? What are your targets for 2017?

I wouldn’t like to comment on our revenue growth. In terms of users, we have seen stellar growth in our users within a few months of going live. Importantly, high engagement has accompanied the growth in traffic, which bears out our belief that India needed a truly digital-first, credible, and premium business news product and Bloomberg|Quint serves that need. We hit a run-rate of 1 million monthly users on-site within a month of exiting our ‘beta’ phase. Our user base and engagement on social and partner platforms has grown as well. We had a great Budget, clocking over 50 million in social reach, 15 million in digital video views including 25K shares in the Budget week itself placing us ahead of several legacy players.

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