Exclusive: Urban One’s CEO Alfred Liggins Honored In Atlanta, Discusses The Future Of Black Media

Urban One’s CEO Alfred Liggins was recently honored by Fulton County and the City of Atlanta. During a VIP reception for the 2023 Urban One Honors, Liggins received proclamations from Fulton County Commissioner Natalie Hall and Atlanta City Council member Doug Shipmen. 

Urban One, created by Liggins’ mother Cathy Hughes, owns multiple properties in TV, radio, and digital. 

During the ceremony, Liggins took a moment to shed light on the future of Black media and the changing landscape of how content is consumed. 

With the rise of tech companies, traditional media has been impacted severely. The tech companies are able to better collect data on users and their habits. 

“They have an idea of exactly where you are, and what kinds of other things that you consume online so they can triangulate who you are, what your age is, your sex and what kind of buying habits you have,” Liggins said. “Advertisers like that kind of data and information. And and that’s not data and information that most traditional media companies have. That’s data and information that the tech platforms have.”

Media companies must now discover how to adjust to the new landscape.

“So we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to distribute our stories and our content in that new environment,” he said. “I don’t believe that it’s going to look like the traditional linear network. There still will be a place for linear networks, but this content is going to have to be consumed on multiple different platforms.”

The next step will be understanding how to consistently monetize. 

“We’re going to have to figure out how do you monetize that and still be able to make a living doing it,” he said. “The problem with the tech companies getting between you and the consumer and the distribution chain is that they take the lion’s share or they take a significant piece of the revenue from creators.”

Liggins’ goal is to find a way to continue producing engaging content for the present and next generation. 

“We’re still figuring it out as we speak, so I don’t know what it looks like 20 years from now,” he said. “I still want to be in the business and my goal has always been to actually build a company that would survive past my career. Similar to Walt Disney, his companies still exist. We’re putting lots of brainpower towards it, but it is a conundrum. We’re not the only ones going through it right now. I mean, anybody who watches the business sees the upheaval happening at Disney, Paramount and all these other places.”

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