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Bloomberg Is Backing Away From Selling Ads Through Programmatic Platforms.

As more podcasters look toward programmatic platforms to sell advertising, Bloomberg Media is heading in the opposite direction. The company says it will drop programmatic advertising at the end of the year. CEO Scott Havens says starting January 1, 2023, Bloomberg Media will no longer allow third parties to sell ads to its audience through third-party programmatic, or other non-direct sold “demand channels,” across its website and apps.

“Going forward, if brands want to reach our audience, they’ll need to work directly with our world class media team,” Havens says.

In a memo laying out the decision, Havens says the goal is to create a “better ecosystem” for Bloomberg users. By stepping away from programmatic platforms, he says it will reduce the volume of ads and improve the user experience. For brands that do buy direct, Havens says it will give them the “cleanest environment” in which to reach the brand’s 100 million users worldwide. “It also means our partners’ campaign creative will have more real estate to reach the right people in a far more effective way,” he says.

Bloomberg reportedly works with 18 programmatic ad sellers right now and cutting those ties will likely lead to a short-term revenue hit. But it is said to account for just five percent of its ad revenue and Havens tells staffers that the company is in a good position to manage any immediate revenue impact. “I am confident that in doing this we’ll have a larger, more engaged audience that will ultimately lead to a stronger advertising business and a healthier consumer subscription business,” Havens says.

Since Havens rose from Global Head of Digital to CEO in January, Bloomberg launched a registration platform on its website in June to give it more first-party data from which to sell against. So far five million people have registered. It also has a global footprint with 450,000 subscribers that helps reduce the pressure to monetize through ad sales. It also built is own ad tech platform known as Audience Accelerator.

“We don’t believe it makes sense to allow marketers to reach our valuable audience at a low cost with sub-optimal creative. We prefer to create a more mutually beneficial relationship by partnering with brands directly,” Havens told staff in his memo. “We’ll use our valuable real estate to market our talent, global events, podcasts, shows and custom content from our studio.”

Bloomberg’s audio business has long included Bloomberg Radio, and increasingly it has expanded deeper into podcasting too. Last year it announced a three-year partnership with iHeartMedia to produce a slate of podcasts. In turn, iHeart will distribute Bloomberg’s slate of shows through the iHeartPodcast Network. The deal calls for advertising in the podcasts to be sold by Bloomberg’s own in-house sales team and for iHeart to also sell advertising on the shows.

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