Eric Mika's new home base at Nielsen Business Media's The Hollywood Reporter is Los Angeles, but he isn't there just yet.
The new senior VP-publishing director was in London. Then he jetted to Cannes for the film festival. And then he was off to the Shanghai International Film Festival.
The frequent flier miles are expected to continue accumulating for Mika as he works to make The Hollywood Reporter a dominant brand—and not just as a publication—in Asia and other parts of the world. He is in charge of the general management of sales, marketing and editorial.
Mika's urgency is warranted. For the first four-and-a-half months of this year, the U.S. accounted for 37.1% of worldwide box office receipts, while international markets accounted for 62.9%. As the movie industry globalizes, so too, Mika reasons, must the trade magazines that cover it and covet its advertisers.
"The Hollywood Reporter is an instant and distinguishable brand," Mika said. "It has to grow its international circulation and become sort of a stronger brand as far as its core product. But what I'm more interested in is expanding its digital brands. We're looking at exploding this iconic brand."
When he looks to international markets, Mika finds that, in a sense, he is competing against himself. In two different stints, he worked for Variety magazine, overseeing operations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He helped launch Variety China and other print and electronic products during that time. "I did a phenomenal job, so everywhere I go I'm competing against myself," he said.
Mika's plans include licensing The Hollywood Reporter-branded content for TV stations abroad, as well as expanding the products offered through its digital development division. The company will launch digital newsletters in different languages in Asia. Mika also is discussing domestic licensing programs; currently, a weekly half-hour program of branded content that focuses on the movie-making business airs on Starz.
In addition to reaching decision-makers interested in the growing global entertainment business, Mika is looking to attract consumers who have become fascinated not just with movie stars and celebrities but also with the business of movie-making.
That is proving true on the publication's companion Web site, which is seeing increased hits from consumers. That trend has opened the door to attracting consumer advertisers as well as the core domestic and international b-to-b advertising, Mika said.
After six years at Variety, Mika was hired by Nielsen Business Media in January and given the title of senior VP-managing director, international, of the Film & Performing Acts and Music & Literary Group. Based in London, he added 10 people to the editorial team in Asia and opened an office in Hong Kong. Now, in a sense, he is stepping back into the trenches to focus on just one publication. But Mika doesn't see it exactly that way.
"It's micro with a macro vision," he said.