Interview: Bloomberg's content moves with the times

By Sooraj Shah
15 Mar 2012 View Comments
Bloomberg's Oke Okaro

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As part of our series focusing on the latest developments in business technology, Sooraj Shah talks to Bloomberg’s mobile guru about the impact smartphones and tablets are having on the way organisations disseminate and consume information

Further reading

As the man in charge of mobile strategy at international financial news corporation Bloomberg, Oke Okaro is committed to making up-to-the-minute business information available to users anywhere and at anytime. This means, says Okaro, that Bloomberg has to innovate to ensure that it is giving business executives relevant information in the form they need it, when they need it.

“The way in which people are consuming content is changing and this is because of mobile computing,” he says.

Okaro believes there are four key trends that will affect Bloomberg and its competitors in the near future.

First, the growing amount of news and information aimed at business users will give rise to services that filter this information and tailor it to the consumer, allowing users of different types of device to receive more relevant and targeted updates.

“There is an emerging category of players that tailor that experience. Content will be more relevant to consumers and also easily digestible,” he says.

Company directors and managers will increasingly look to mine this content for evidence to support their business strategies. This will involve the use of analytics software, he says.
The second trend reflects the growing globalisation of the business information audience.

“People use a company’s website, mobile website and applications in many different countries, so company bosses will ask, ‘How do I deliver that optimal experience by time of day, location and in a way that is very relevant to how they choose to consume the content,” he says.

The third wave of change relates to social media, says Okaro.

“There will be another category of services built on social media websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook that I call ‘intraspaced networks’. They will be about groups that are interested in specific topics that engage with each other but they will be much more focused than personal social networks,” he says.

These “intraspaced networks” will support people from within a business or groups of businesses who have a shared interest and a mutual need for information relating to that interest.
Finally, organisations must prepare for the day when users consume more data via mobile devices than they do through PCs.

“It is still early days for mobile computing, according to [research company] ComScore. In the EU’s five largest economies Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the UK, only 42 per cent of all phones are smartphones and in the US the figure is 44 per cent,” he says.

“Not as many people are using smartphones as one may suspect, but I believe that one day consumption of content on mobile will be more than it is on PCs,” he adds.

Bloomberg’s response to these trends have so far been focused on one platform: Apple’s iOS. Bloomberg has three applications available on the Apple iPad or iPhone.  

“We offer the Bloomberg Business Week+ application for the iPad, which was the first app to use Apple’s subscription service and give readers a magazine that was not a PDF file but an interactive magazine with audio and video content,” Okaro says.

“We have the Bloomberg Radio+ application, which is for the iPhone. It enables listeners to select a radio programme on demand, and within that programme if there is reference to a slideshow or a company we can show listeners that slideshow and information about a company to give them more context.

“The third application is Bloomberg TV+ for the iPad, which enables users to watch our 24-hour live news service. Users also have the ability to watch a bitesize news video clip or get the current news in text depending on what the user’s preference is,” he says.

According to Okaro, Bloomberg will look to make these applications available on other platforms such as Android in the near future.

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