Ken Kurson on Entrepreneurship in Media

Ken Kurson has been a potent and well-informed  observer of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the media and journalism industries over the course of the last decade. Kurson was the longtime editor in chief at The New York Observer and the Commercial Observer. His time serving as the news property’s longtime editor in chief involved his leadership in the paper’s transition from a print to a digital news property. 

The Observer was always a well-read and respected publication; and especially well-read among members of New York City elite circles. The real estate industry was one of the most loyal and dedicated parts of The New York Observer’s (and its related entities) audience. This was for good reason. The outlet under Kurson’s leadership produced high quality journalism, with a focus on real estate news, happenings and developments. 

It  attracted a tremendously sophisticated readership and demographic; and one that led to advertisers seeking to get involved and engaged in a substantial way. In the New York media market, there aren’t many news outlets that cater to as sophisticated readership as the outlet did, under Kurson’s leadership. But Kurson played a vital role in the outlet’s transition from a print media outlet to ensuring it  had a viable digital presence. This transition is one that we are witnessing across many outlets across the media industry. 

Kurson created Book and Film Globe in an effort to revitalize an interest in reading, literature and the arts among people across the globe. Reading used to be a favorite past-time; but with things advancing technologically, that has unfortunately changed in certain areas of the country and the world. Having said that, we have seen a change in the way readers consume literature and books. Similarly to the way the media industry as a whole has dramatically changed, consumption of books is also being done digitally – in an increasingly popular fashion. This is a trend that will likely persist for many years to come. 

The transition to digital media platforms for many outlets have been quite a dramatic transition. The reason stems from the fact that it  is in part a function of the changes in the fundamentals of the economic model of the media industry. Few people pick up a print copy of the newspaper anymore. Most have moved online. And if they aren’t browsing the news from the comfort of their desktops or laptops, they’re doing so from the comfort of their mobile phones; iPads; or anything else of that nature. 

This transition has totally revolutionized not only the way audiences consume their news; and the future ways they are bound to consume news; but also the ways that news properties have adapted to the changing circumstances. For instance, when it  comes to sustaining the fundamental economics and financial situations of all of these changes – you see the marketing and publishing teams at so many outlets seeking out advertising revenue from different sources. 

Given that print advertising has died out as print media has become a continued clear and present dying breed, the advertisers are naturally flocking to where the broadest audiences are. As the audiences continue turning to the digital media offerings of these properties, advertisers are intent on pursuing strategies that allow them the opportunity to target the members of these audiences in a calculated and strategic manner. 

With this, the financial model of the news industry has changed; and will continue changing in the near and distant future. But there are inherent values from an advertising standpoint, due to these changes. For instance, analytics afford publishers and a news property’s internal marketing team to define the demographic makeup of their respective outlet’s audiences in a very sophisticated and targeted way. This doesn’t just include being able to identify what their demographic backgrounds might be; but this also includes information about their needs, wants and desires when it  comes to content. Information about which reporters’ work they are most interested in reading. And additional intelligence about the type of content (based on subject and topic) that appeals to them the most. Advertisers can then leverage this information to make far better informed and educated decisions about where to invest their advertising dollars.