‘Media Business' Innovator honorees see opportunity amid challenges

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New York—B-to-b publishing executives honored at last Thursday's Media Business Innovators in Business Publishing Awards luncheon expressed confidence that industry challenges breed innovation and opportunity.

“Despite the perceptions, there has never been a more exciting time or opportunity for b-to-b media growth,” said Tom Kemp, chairman-CEO of Northstar Travel Media, named a Top Innovator in the CEO category.

“Media companies over the past few years have been challenged by the shift from legacy brands to digital formats; the last 18 months have been the most difficult time of my career,” Kemp acknowledged in accepting his award.

“But we need to differentiate the impact of secular change from economic, cyclical impact,” he said. “We need to think of these times in context and not think that there is no future for b-to-b media.”

Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence, who was also honored in the CEO category, said: “Innovation has to come from a point closest to the customer. We need to move from content to context. We need to leverage the medium in new ways.”

Pazour stressed that business media companies must determine which content will be free and which will be offered for a fee.

“We don't need to pick between free and paid; we need both,” he said. “We need some content to attract visitors but with added intelligence and insight behind pay walls.”

Pazour also expressed confidence in trade shows, noting that customers “can only interact via social media so much, and at some point they need to touch the flesh.”

Gordon T. Hughes II, outgoing president-CEO of American Business Media, was presented with Media Business' first-ever Lifetime Media Innovator award.

“I always believed that history provides a path to the future,” Hughes said in his acceptance speech. “Imagine American industry operating without a consistent flow of information, which enables a modernization of business, products and services. What business publishers do is make America strong, whether it's publishing monthly, weekly, daily or now minute by minute.” Hughes joined what was then American Business Press in 1994. A successor has not been named.

Also receiving awards at last week's ceremony were:
• Publishing executives: Matt Yorke, president-strategic marketing services, International Data Group; Pete May, president-publisher, Greener World Media; and Michael Rooney, senior VP-chief revenue officer, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Co.
• Online: Rob Grimshaw, managing director,, and Carine Roman, senior VP-online operations, Ziff Davis Enterprise.
• Events: Kevin Vermeulen, senior VP, ALM.

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