Friday, September 28, 2018

Bloomberg, Financial Times Invent....Radio! (plus: a news aggregator is set to pass Uber as highest-valued 'start-up')

For our younger readers radio was a medium of communication that...

Hey, whatever works, when you have a Chinese aggregator app getting a $75 billion valuation from KKR and SoftBank you do everything you can to keep folks on your platform. More on ByteDance and its JJinri Toutiao after the jump.

From Digiday:
Bloomberg Media is using text-to-audio to keep app users engaged
Bloomberg Media in May introduced a text-to-audio function in its app and online with the hunch that commuters would prefer to multitask while getting their news.

According to Julia Beizer, global chief product officer, adoption started off slow, particularly on mobile web, and shortly after launch, people were listening to two and a half stories on average per app session. Now, this has increased to six stories and has become the second-most popular media type on the app (behind live TV).

“Audio is particularly interesting for our audience because of that multitasking utility, that is a real news use case,” said Beizer. “The delivery of journalism is changing to meet this moment, audio for a multitasking audience a huge tool in our toolkit.”

Publishers like the Financial Times, which has a similar audience segment of global business decision makers, has been converting text to audio articles since last year and is seeing that people are coming back regularly to listen.

Audio fits into the product team’s wider goals of driving utility for the Bloomberg audience, particularly a younger audience. According to Beizer, the Bloomberg audience age is varied, skewing younger than expected in areas. For the Markets area of the site, for instance, 48 percent of the audience is under 35 years old.

Studies show that podcast listeners tend to be younger: Research from U.K. radio trade body Radio Joint Audience Research in March found that two-thirds of new podcast listeners are aged between 16 and 35. And new users are growing: 21 percent of podcast listeners have started listening in the last six months.

Bloomberg has taken advantage of the renaissance in podcasting. The company said that audience downloads for its some 25 podcast have increased 35 percent year over year, but was unwilling to give exact numbers....MORE
And via the South China Morning Post:

Will SoftBank’s latest investment make China’s ByteDance the world’s most valuable tech start-up?
SoftBank Group Corp, KKR & Co and General Atlantic plan to make a giant investment in fast-rising Chinese internet player Beijing ByteDance Technology, according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that could make it the world’s biggest start-up.

The latest round may value ByteDance, parent of news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and video sensation Tik Tok, at around US$75 billion before investment, said the people, who requested not to be named because the matter is private.

Tokyo-based SoftBank is initially targeting an investment of about US$1.5 billion, although it is unclear how big its final check will be, the people said. While KKR and General Atlantic have led discussions, the people said SoftBank could play a much bigger role if its investment approaches the outsize amounts it is known for.

Six-year-old ByteDance, which was said to be seeking around US$3 billion in the current round, started out by using artificial intelligence to personalise content for users, but has successfully branched out into short-video via a service called Douyin, known as Tik Tok overseas. That service had 500 million monthly active users as of July....MORE