Michael Bloom, who graduated with a B.A. in Communication from the UA in 1990, will be the 2017 SBS Undergraduate Convocation keynote speaker on May 13 at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center.
Bloom has had an impressive array of jobs in technology and media, including building internet start-up companies and holding senior roles at AOL, MTV, and The Guardian. In 2015, Bloom was tapped by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to be president of Omidyar’s start-up media company, First Look Media.
You can read a Q&A with Bloom about reconnecting with the UA, following your passion, and winning best picture for “Spotlight” at the Oscars.
Michael Bloom Biography
Michael Bloom is a media & technology entrepreneur and executive with an expansive background in journalism, tech, music, film and media.
Bloom is currently President of First Look Media -- a bold independent media company launched by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar that empowers the most ambitious voices in journalism, arts and entertainment. Built on the belief that freedom of expression and independent perspectives are vital to a healthy democracy and a vibrant culture, FLM includes the award-winning investigative journalism property, The Intercept; the critically acclaimed documentary unit, Field of Vision; the popular political satire cartoon, The Nib; and its newly branded entertainment studio, Topic, that develops, produces and finances feature films, documentaries, television and digital content.
First Look Media’s first feature film, Spotlight, was the 2016 Academy Award® winning Best Picture, and their entertainment studio, Topic, has an eclectic slate of projects such as the upcoming feature film, My Abandonment, adapted for the screen from the celebrated novel & starring Ben Foster; Bastard, the thriller to be executive produced in partnership with Martin Scorsese & Emma Tillinger Koskoff; the documentary Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press, which will premiere on Netflix; the riveting new documentary RISK from Academy Award winner Laura Poitras, which focuses on Julian Assange and Wikileaks; and the #1 podcast, Missing Richard Simmons which has become a cultural obsession.
First Look Media, as part of its not-for-profit work, also staunchly supports the First Amendment and freedom of the press through various philanthropic efforts. Recently, along with the Democracy Fund, they announced more than $12 million in grants to support an independent, robust free press. FLM also created and houses the Press Freedom Defense Fund, which is designed to strengthen the ability of journalists and others to pursue legal fights where a substantial public interest is at stake.
Bloom’s career began during the early intersection of media and the web, as he built and ran several internet startups including the first company he co-founded in 1995, Stockpoint.com. Stockpoint was one of the earliest commercial internet companies and went on to become a market leader that was acquired and ultimately folded into News Corp.
In 1999, he served as President of iAmaze, an early internet cloud company that he launched which was acquired by AOL, where Bloom served as Vice President & General Manager of AOL Products. AOL used iAmaze’s groundbreaking web platform to re-create many of AOL’s proprietary software products out on the open web, such as AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), AOL Web Mail, AOL Music, and more. In addition to leading iAmaze and other units, Bloom also ran AOL Music & Media Products where they built AOL Music into the #1 music property on the web, featuring one of the first music download services, original programming, radio, and more.
In 2004, Bloom was recruited to join Viacom’s MTV Networks, charged with creating and leading the company's digital music business during a monumental time in the company’s history. He built, launched and ran that business through its joint venture with Rhapsody, and remained as MTV’s Senior Vice President and General Manager for Digital Media until 2009.
Prior to joining First Look Media, Bloom was CEO of Guardian News & Media for North America, where he built that business from a startup into one of the top digital brands, known for its excellence in independent journalism and digital innovation.
Bloom is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona where he earned his degree in Communication in 1990. He and his wonderful wife Robin live in the greater New York area with their two well behaved children and insanely cute pup, Rosie.