Since being named president-CEO of Forbes Media in November 2010, Mike Perlis has focused on growing revenue and profits for the core business while finding new ways to extend the brand beyond traditional media.
His efforts paid off in 2012, when Forbes had its best financial performance in five years, Perlis said. He broke down his initiatives according to what he calls “the four pillars”—print, digital media, brand extensions and technology.
“We value print highly because we have authority and brand recognition. It's also profitable,” he said. “Forbes always had a very sober and smart approach to circulation management. We maintain a 900,000 paid-circulation rate base, and we deliver that profitably.”
Under the direction of Lewis DVorkin, chief product officer at Forbes Media, Forbes.com has developed a groundbreaking content model in which hundreds of contributors, paid and unpaid, produce and curate content, comment, and interact with site users and social media platforms. This model attracts 45 million to 48 million unique visitors a month to Forbes.com and drives digital ad revenue, which increased 19% from 2011 to 2012, Perlis said.
Brand extensions include a growing portfolio of events and licensed editions of Forbes in 27 local languages around the world. Perlis said Forbes will soon announce an online education product, and he is exploring atypical brand extensions, such as licensing Forbes-branded signage for office buildings outside the U.S.