Oke Okaro, general manager and global head of mobile for Bloomberg, joined the company almost two years ago from ESPN, where he spent six years building ESPN's mobile business as VP-mobile. Okaro is now responsible for setting the strategy for Bloomberg's mobile business and managing day-to-day operations. Digital Directions asked Okaro about Bloomberg Businessweek's vision for mobile.
Digital Directions: What's new in mobile for Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012?
Oke Okaro: Today, the Bloomberg Businessweek+ app is available on the iPad, but we will be bringing it to the iPhone in an experience that is optimal for the iPhone in a few weeks. Like Bloomberg
Businessweek+ for the iPad, it will be a subscription product, and, like the iPad, you will be able to get the iPhone app for free if you are a subscriber to Bloomberg Businessweek magazine [in print].
Later this year, we will bring more video content to these apps because people have asked for it. We also will keep a close eye on other devices and platforms to see which ones take off with business executives. When some of these gain critical mass, we'll make the decision whether to bring Bloomberg Businessweek to those devices.
DD: You introduced Bloomberg Businessweek+ for the iPad in April. How has it performed?
Okaro: We have 144,000 monthly unique users of this app. Through November, we had 1 million issues of our magazine downloaded through the app.
We're very pleased with the number of subscriptions we've sold through iTunes, as well as the number of print subscribers who have opted to validate their subscriptions for the iPad. And we're very happy with the engagement metrics we have, [such as] people who are coming back every week. Through iTunes, we are reaching an incremental audience. For example, Bloomberg Businessweek has 7% of its readership outside the U.S., but the app has 30% of its readership outside the U.S.
DD: How was the Bloomberg Businessweek+ app developed and what are its key features?
Okaro: We did about 95% of the development in house. We put together an original experience after reimagining the magazine for the iPad. Bloomberg Businessweek+ has all the features and capabilities you would expect when consuming a magazine on this device. For example, you can change the font sizes, share the content, add content to a personal archive, search current and past issues and consume the magazine when you're offline. In addition to the magazine content, our editor, Josh Tyrangie, produces a video every week that gives people a good behind-the-scenes perspective on putting together the magazine and the key articles.
Everything in the product is new, including the advertising experience. We support rich media, so an ad can have video or sound associated with it. An ad can have elements that move and different types of interactivity.
DD: Is the advertising bundled with print?
Okaro: Advertising in our iPad product is packaged separately from print and Businessweek.com. In order to get the iPad product, the advertisers—who could also be advertising in print or online—have to pay a premium.