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Bloomberg expands Twitter news network TicToc into Asia

Less than three months after launching in New York, Bloomberg has expanded its 24/7 Twitter news service TicToc into Asia.

The business media powerhouse has strung together a team of 12 journalists at its Hong Kong news room with plans to double down its coverage of the Asia region.

Led by Bloomberg producer Owen Franks, the team will be responsible for broadcasting breaking news reported by Bloomberg staff from around the world, while ingesting its Twitter news feed with video, images and polls.

Speaking to Mumbrella, M. Scott Havens, global head of digital, Bloomberg Media, admitted the channel’s coverage was relatively “US-centric” at present, but hoped it would “expand to cover more wider and in-depth stories”.

When asked about whether TicToc was a valuable product for Bloomberg in Asia, where Twitter has largely struggled against its social competitors for audiences and marketing dollars, he said: “With Twitter, not every country has the same adoption. When we think about it’s broad global reach and its positioning, Twitter is the largest active daily news network. That’s why it made sense to incubate this on Twitter.

M. Scott Havens: “The younger generation is not going to have a cable news network, they’re going to Twitter”

“TicToc is the most monetizable product I’ve ever worked with. And I’ve been doing this for 20 years. We’ve sold 10 figures in US dollars of sponsorship. We’re making good money of selling advertising. We see a lot of growth there within advertising and maybe beyond.”

Launched in December TicToc has a following of 171,000 and averages 750,000 daily viewers, according to Bloomberg.

The channel posts five-minute live news streams every hour, plus a short contextual video or news story 12 times per-hour.

Conceived the “next generation news network”, the platform looks largely to build Bloomberg’s audience among younger consumers – aged specifically between 24 and 35.

“We have a very ambitious goal,” Havens said. “The younger generation is not going to have a cable news network, they’re going to Twitter; they’re on their phone. We want to create a native news network they can be connected with.”

When asked about young people’s ability to trust social media as a source of news, following multiple scandals about fake news, he said: “They are working together with us to make sure they are combating fake news, bots and trolls. They’re investing it. I don’t see why Twitter can’t crystallise itself as the de facto platform to go to for news.”

Bloomberg Media chief executive officer Justin Smith added: “[Fake news] is about the daily drip that has been coming out over months, or maybe years at this point, which is beginning to unmask the extent and the maliciousness of how these platforms have been weaponised.

“We’re in the early days of seeing how this will shape consumers’ attitudes towards media and I do believe there’s a big window opening up for trusted brands to assert themselves and win back some of the primacy they had in consumers’ lives.

“I do think Google is showing a positive and more forceful intent on working with publishers. It has been palpable to us: more so than their brethren.”

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