The 2017 Folio: 100 — Pioneers
President, Hour Media
Since co-founding Hour Detroit in 1996, John Balardo has grown the magazine into a full-service regional media brand, boasting a monthly circulation of 45,000, a suite of supporting titles like Detroit Home, dbusiness, and Metro Detroit Weddings, and a year-long series of events in the Detroit metro area.
Now, Balardo is expanding the company beyond its Michigan footprint, setting up a regional media operation that spans five additional markets through the company’s acquisitions of Palm Beach Illustrated and Naples Illustrated, in January, and Atlanta, Cincinnati, Orange Coast, and Los Angeles magazines from Emmis Communications, in March – both just the latest in a string of recent expansinos for Hour Media over the past two years.
Founder and global editor-in-chief, Refinery29Christene Barberich serves as the brains behind the digital behemoth that continues to grow in both size and value.
Back in 2005, Christene Barberich launched Refinery29 with three friends. Fast-forward a dozen years, and the brand she helped create has moved from blog to a media powerhouse with more than 500 million users across platforms.
In 2016, users spent a combined 50 million hours on site. The brand’s content has grown in size, too — Refinery29 now covers everything from world news and entertainment to horoscopes and technology, and it does so on-site, on Snapchat, on Facebook, and beyond. Barberich doesn’t just oversee content, she also crafts it, writing about everything from miscarriage myths, to the power of female CEOs.
COO, Gizmodo Media Group (Univision)Lauren Bertolini is COO at Gizmodo Media Group, where she successfully helped the company expand through a tumultuous period.
Bertolini is chief operating officer at Gizmodo Media Group, and also works as SVP, product at Fusion. Her responsibilities include overseeing product and platform strategy, helping editorial teams and shaping overall growth strategy.
Bertolini previously worked at Gawker as VP of product, where she was key in the company’s Kinja publishing platform launch. Now at Univision, she has helped expand the company’s technical integration efforts, including the successful migration of The Root and Fusion onto Kinja. In her new role as COO, Bertolini leads efforts to continuously develop the Kinja platform so that it reflects the branding and identity of each site.
CMO, The EconomistMichael Brunt has headed The Economist through its shift from focusing on advertising to an emphasis on subscribers, championing high quality journalism, digital efforts and customer experience to gain paid readers.
Brunt serves as CMO at The Economist. In his position, Brunt has been a leader for the brand through its shift from an advertising focus to a subscription-focused income. Last year, the publication raised prices globally by 20 percent, but despite the price increase, the subscriber base has managed to grow. Brunt told Folio: in April, “There’s a strong demand for quality journalism, and people are willing to pay for it.”
Brunt also heads the brand’s social media efforts by working with both the editorial and marketing teams to convert their social media audience into actual subscribers. Additionally, he hired a “chief customer journey officer,” while working to identify the specific psychographic factors of readers to enhance the overall customer experience.
President and founder, Connect MediaDaniel Ceniceros serves as a results-oriented b2b media executive delivering a multi-platform content experience in the commercial real estate world.
Connect Media serves individuals in commercial real estate with daily news, email newsletters, videos, continuing education, and live events. As president and founder of the company, Ceniceros has been focused on creating technology experiences for news delivery, data and analytics, and marketing for his broad audience.
The Connect Media brand recently launched the Connect Apartments newsletter in August 2017 to 25,000 subscribers, and the company offers a suite of content marketing and advertising opportunities to partners. Colleagues say that Ceniceros is “a talented and creative sales and product manager, well liked by both his clients and his colleagues.”
President, The AtlanticBob Cohn is president of The Atlantic, where he aided the brand in increasing total revenues across platforms and businesses by 50 percent.
The Atlantic has recently seen a huge surge in readers and digital traffic, and Cohn’s leadership as president of The Atlantic has been a major contributing factor. As of May of this year, the brand now has 1.9 million print readers and 42.3 million global unique visitors digitally. Last year, under his leadership, the magazine won Magazine of the Year in the 2016 National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media.
Before his promotion to president, Cohn served as editor-in-chief of The Atlantic for ten years. Under his leadership, he has helped the brand increase total revenues across platforms and businesses by 50 percent. As president, he oversees all platforms, including print, digital, video, live events, and consulting.
CTO, Condé NastEdward Cudahy is CTO of Condé Nast, where he has helped the company establish its engineering organization, creating and developing media platforms and long-range solutions to reach audiences.
Cudahy has been CTO of Condé Nast since last year, formerly serving as the company’s VP of engineering. Since he joined the Condé Nast team, he has been vital to the establishing the company’s engineering organization, and has led its platform strategy with the development of a proprietary media platform, copilot. Under his leadership, his team creates long-range solutions, generating content in all form factors and reaching audiences on every significant platform.
As CTO, Cudahy oversees the company’s software engineering teams and technology operations and infrastructure. Prior to his start at Condé Nast, he served as chief geek at Loosecubes.
CEO, Modern LuxuryMichael Dickey is the CEO of Modern Luxury, which just became arguably the largest regional luxury lifestyle publisher in the magazine space.
Dickey is CEO of Modern Luxury, and under his leadership, the company recently acquired GreenGale Publishing, the second-largest publisher in the regional luxury lifestyle space, in a major expansion.
“We think it’s going to benefit us by providing a much stronger presence in the markets where we overlap, as well as bringing those additional markets into the fold,” Dickey told Folio: in April, regarding the acquisition.
As CEO of Modern Luxury, Dickey has served as a leader for the expanding company, now owning a total of 84 publications.
CTO and Co-founder, Industry DiveEli Dickinson is crafting a mobile-first approach to business-to-business publishing.
Industry Dive has products in 13 verticals and reaches over 3 million senior executives each month. The company prioritizes user experience, and as CTO, Eli Dickinson makes sure that vision becomes a reality. In March, the company launched a new app, Industry Dive: Business News for Execs, which provides free access to the news briefs and feature articles from all of the company’s brands.
“My biggest accomplishment [this year is] making myself ‘less important,’” Dickinson says. “Now we have the people and processes in place so that we can move a lot faster and innovate better than I possibly could on my own.”
CEO, IDGWith a new owner and new priorities, all eyes are on Friedenberg to see where he leads the diversified media company next.
In early 2017, China Oceanwide became the controlling shareholder of IDG’s operating businesses, which include the International Data Corporation and IDG Communications, the world’s largest media, data and marketing services company with premium brands including CIO, PC World and Computerword.
Friedenberg says China Oceanwide is helping IDG in more ways than one. “It’s been a magnificent partnership,” he told Reuters in July, adding that the deal brings added resources. “Not only does IDG now get the capability of organically growing, but also inorganically growing, so we are looking at mergers and acquisitions, as a key growth strategy moving forward.”
Executive Chairman, EnsembleIQAlan Glass is leading the new company formed through a merger of some of b2b media’s biggest and most storied players.
If there was one deal that shook the b2b media space in 2016, it the merger and subsequent rebranding of three storied business media companies: Edgell Communications, Stagnito Business Information, and the Path to Purchase Institute. Given his 35 years of leadership experience in the publishing world, who better to lead the newly formed company through such a transition than Alan Glass?
A year on, Glass tells Folio: he aims to build on EnsembleIQ’s foundation by providing content, events, and research and information products that serve all aspects of the retail and consumer goods spaces. Regardless of whether Glass’s ambitious plans come to fruition, there’s no doubt his leadership will have an impact on the b2b media space going forward.
President and CEO, BPA WorldwideWith his latest endeavor, Glenn Hansen is shaping the b2b publishing space with targeted insights.
BPA Worldwide has grown and changed since it was founded back in 1931, and Hansen has played a key role in shaping the organization — he’s been with the company for nearly 40 years.
In the second quarter of 2017, BPA Worldwide launched a private digital ad marketplace (PMP) for b2b members after conducting a month-long listening tour with publishers and marketers to hear how a legacy auditor like BPA can better serve their 21st-century needs.
“The top reasons publishers don’t currently use programmatic selling is scale, lack of familiarity with the process and the challenge of establishing independent third-party quality differentiators,” Hansen said when announcing the PMP. “The BPA PMP addresses those challenges.”
Chief Content Officer, Vice President, AMIDylan Howard has led AMI through its acquisitions of major titles Us Weekly and Men’s Journal, while also helping the company reach record numbers in both the print and digital spheres.
American Media Inc. (AMI) has had quite a year, with the recent acquisitions of Us Weekly and Men’s Journal from Wenner Media and a growth for both its print and digital titles. The company’s magazines boast a combined total circulation of more than 4.1 million and claim to reach more than 50 million readers each month, while its digital properties spread to an average of 75 million unique visitors and over 550 million page views monthly.
Howard told Folio: in May that he sees print as a tremendous part of the company’s future, as well as investing in digital and TV for new revenue streams. As chief content officer and vice president of AMI, he oversees company publications such as Us, Star, Ok!, The National Enquirer, Globe, The National Examiner, Soap Opera Digest, and Men’s Fitness. In 2011, What’s more Howard was named Entertainment Journalist of the Year at the National Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Chief Content Officer, Apartment Therapy MediaSusan Kaplow brings years of expertise to her new role as chief content officer of Apartment Therapy Media, where brands reach an audience of 20 million monthly readers.
Kaplow joined the team at Apartment Therapy Media (ATM) in mid-August 2017. The company owns and publishes the shelter and food websites Apartment Therapy and Kitchn. According to comScore, the brands reach 20 million monthly readers. Before joining ATM, Kaplow did a one-year stint at SheKnows Media as chief content officer, and prior to that, she was the executive vice president of editorial development and operations at Refinery29.
Kaplow has expertise in creating both video and flat content that drives traffic, engagement and shareability, and she is known by her colleagues for developing and scaling large content teams.
CEO, 1105 MediaKapur is CEO at 1105 Media, where he has reshaped the company in the last few years, helping the launch of account-based platform Prophyts earlier this year.
Since joining 1105 Media about three years ago, Kapur has changed the company’s direction and future. Earlier this year, the publisher launched Prophyts, a new account-based marketing platform that uses predictive analysis to connect marketers with early-stage potential buyers. Kapur told Folio: in June that marketers are increasingly calling for a solution that can easily and effectively identify potential leads earlier in the customer journey.
“We evolved traditional ABM from one that is manual to one that is predictive,” said Kapur at the time.
As CEO, Kapur has rebranded the organization’s portfolio, working with business units to develop new content and products. He came to 1105 as an outsider to the industry, formerly working as CEO of Sonic Emotion, a developer of 3D sound technology, and his fresh outlook and new ideas have certainly begun to pay off.
Chairman, Nylon MediaSince his 2014 takeover of Nylon Media, no one can deny that Luzzatto has made his mark on the fashion brand.
Marc Luzzatto is the chairman of Nylon Media and president and chief executive officer of The Luzzatto Company, Inc. through which he conducts real estate private equity investment activities. Since taking over Nylon alongside a new management team in 2014, Luzzatto has headed several acquisitions and partnerships and overseen massive audience growth for the brand, particularly on social media.
Despite continued struggles in print and rumors of a digital-only shift persisting since Luzzatto took over, Nylon held out for three years before shuttering its print edition this Fall. Now, Luzzatto aims to steer the 18-year-old title into its next era: video.
President, Hearst Business MediaMalloch has been leading one of the largest b2b media operations for several years, and it continues to grow, make acquisitions, and innovate.
For years, Hearst’s trade publishing business was based on print magazines. But since signing on as president of Hearst Business Media in 2010, Malloch changed the strategy and business model, moving the group toward revenue-generated from subscriptions, licensing fees, and technological investments.
Today, the business is nearly 100 percent digital. In January, Hearst Business Media acquired the Work-Loss Data Institute, a workers’ compensation data and guidelines provider, and in late 2016, Hearst Business Media also acquired CAMP Systems International Inc., another move toward diversification in the information and data sectors. CAMP was acquired from GTCR, a private equity firm, for around $2 billion.
CEO, Informa Business IntelligencePatrick Martell is charting the course for Informa’s new business-intelligence unit.
Martell serves as chief executive of the Business Intelligence Division at Informa, and has also taken on the role of chief integration officer, helping oversee the seamless integration of Informa and Penton since the former acquired the latter last year.
Merging operations at two large and well established organizations on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean is no small task, but the indication seems to be that Martell has taken to his new responsibilities with poise, significantly broadening Informa’s business intelligence operations by bringing Penton into the fold, and driving as much as $18 million in net operating synergies, according to the company.
SVP, Publishing and Media, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)Jess Perry is savvy publishing executive, who has brought her consumer book skills to a large association.
Perry is a pioneering leader in digital publishing, but she’s not giving up on print. Before making the transition to association media in 2014, Perry held senior positions at Dow Jones, Yahoo, Condé Nast, and the National Journal Group. Today, she leads media operations and sales for SHRM, which claims 285,000 members in more than 165 countries around the world.
Perry is growing online revenue, something that’s helping to fund the print and digital version of HR Magazine, by keeping association members engaged with SHRM.org, HR News, SHRM webcasts and multimedia, e-newsletters, and the SHRM Store ecommerce.
CEO, Time Out DigitalChristine Petersen helped grow TripAdvisor from startup to one of the largest travel sites in the world. Now, she takes her talents to a rapidly growing Time Out Group.
Over Christine Petersen’s ten-year run at TripAdvisor as CMO and then head of the company’s business-facing operations, she helped grow the platform from a fledgling Massachusetts-based startup to the world’s largest and best known travel site, attracting millions of visitors each month across dozens of international markets.
Now, she’s bringing her talents to magazine media. In January, Time Out group tapped Petersen as its interim CEO of Time Out Digital, a position made permanent in April. In taking on the new role, Petersen joins a company in a period of dramatic expansion. What was for years a pair of weekly free magazines in London and New York is now a truly global syndicate, operating 40 print editions and over 100 websites in local markets from Barcelona to Kuala Lumpur.
“I see a similar opportunity in where we can take Time Out,” Petersen told Folio: in August. “It’s a different model, obviously, but I think we have just as much authority and ability to direct our readers — whether they be digital or print or people who interact with our live events — to really tell people where to go and what to do.”
Chief Content Officer, SmithsonianAt this association publication, Barbara Rehm delivers content that can compete with most consumer books.
Rehm is a media industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience across print, online, social, and broadcast channels. Today, she’s working to oversee all Smithsonian media properties, including its magazines, digital networks, books, and Smithsonian Productions in its Smithsonian cable television channel partnership with Showtime Networks.
Between April and June, the Smithsonian website received an average of about 7 million unique visitors every month, according to figures from comScore, and garnered more than 15 million page views. Last year, Smithsonian.com earned the Webby Award for the Best Magazine Website in the People’s Voice Award category.
CEO, Vice MediaSmith took a free monthly “zine” and has built it into a media empire valued at nearly $6 billion.
It’s been quite the year for Smith, the co-founder and CEO of Vice Media. In June 2017, private equity firm TPG invest $450 million in the company, something that bumped the company’s valuation to $5.7 billion — double the New York Times’ current market cap, and something that represents a 128 percent increase since 2014.
Forbes estimates that Smith owns roughly 20 percent of the company, which puts his own net worth in the $1 billion range. And Vice Media keeps expanding into different verticals. In May, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises signed an exclusive content partnership with Vice Media.
CEO, This Old House VenturesEric Thorkilsen returns to This Old House, marking a new independent chapter for the storied home improvement brand.
A decade after departing his role as president of This Old House Ventures within Time Inc., Eric Thorkilsen made his triumphant return in 2016, purchasing the brand alongside private equity firm TZP Group and becoming CEO of the newly independent company managing the magazine and its affiliated TV series and other brand extensions.
“I have been a champion of This Old House for the better part of three decades and it is an honor to be able to rejoin this extraordinary franchise and bring it to a new generation of fans,” Thorkilsen said at the time.
A year later, the company now claims its on track to top 50 million page views each month and provides additional digital products to readers with This Old House Insiders, a new $7 per month membership program.
Jason and Todd Alström
Founders, BeerAdvocateSince founding BeerAdvocate in 1996, brothers Jason and Todd Alström have transformed the brand into a global craft brewing authority in both print an digital.
Perhaps the only monthly beer magazine in wide distribution across North America, Beer Advocate is exclusively available to paid members (which number in the tens of thousands). The brand is a force on other channels as well, with a website that hosts hundreds of thousands of beer reviews, an active and enthusiastic online community of beer lovers, an event series that’s produced over 60 beer festivals since 2003.
The authority wielded by the Alström brothers makes them a frequent target of criticism in the passionate world of brewing, but their influence on both the industry and the epicurean media space are hard to ignore.
CEO, DotDashNeil Vogel is a media executive who is rebuilding a 20-year-old brand and business from the ground up.
Vogel is the CEO of DotDash, which was known as About.com until its May 2017 re-launch and rebrand. Today, DotDash helps 100 million people a month answer questions and solve problems through a number of targeted content verticals, including health site Verywell;, home site The Spruce; the personal finance site The Balance; tech brand Lifewire; travel platform TripSavvy; and learning an education site ThoughtCo.
As legacy publishers sprint toward more cross-brand, unified operations, Vogel says he’s modeling DotDash off of the traditional publishing model at companies like Condé Nast and Hearst, splitting brands up as independent entities. Vogel says that’s based off changing consumer preferences, in which readers no longer want one general outlet providing content on a wide variety of topics.
“Nobody wants diabetes advice from the place they learn to stain their floors,” Vogel told attendees at the 2016 Collision technology conference.
President and CEO, Watt Global MediaGreg Watt is the fourth-generation head of 100-year-old family-owned b2b publisher Watt Global Media.
A full century after his great-grandfather J.W. Watt founded the company, in 1917, Greg Watt is doing right by the family legacy, having spent the past ten years transforming the company to adapt to the modern marketplace.
Watt Global Media now serves 180,000 professionals across various agriculture-related industries, with a robust data operation, numerous live trade shows and conferences spanning multiple continents, and media offerings on nearly every distribution channel available.
Through it all, Watt maintains the company’s founding values of accountability, inclusiveness, and helping employees manage both their careers and their lives.
CEO and Founder, WinsightMike Wood is a b2b executive that’s turning to investment to grow an expanding portfolio.
Wood is CEO and founder of Winsight, a business-to-business media, event, and information company serving the convenience retailing, grocery, restaurant and on-the-go food industries.
Winsight has seen several significant developments in 2017: U.S. private equity firm Pamlico Capital invested in the company in February through a majority recapitalization deal, funded with both equity and debt, teasing additional future investments by the company. In June, Wood made good on that promise when Winsight acquired Grocery Headquarters magazine and upping the company’s portfolio to 16 brands serving the restaurant and food service industries. Winsight is planning to redesign the print magazine, website, and its related digital properties.
CMO, SourceMediaMatt Yorke, CMO of SourceMedia, is leading a data-oriented overhaul of the company’s marketing strategy.
In January, Matt Yorke joined SourceMedia after spending a little over a year at ad agency OMD. SourceMedia reaches over 2 million subscribers, and Yorke is working to overhaul the company’s entire marketing strategy to better leverage that base. Three months into his role, the company announced the launch of SourceCode, which taps directly into SourceMedia’s proprietary, first-party audience data to engineer integrated marketing solutions.
A major part of this data-focused shift has been not just investing in and implementing upgraded technology, but overseeing a cultural change in the company to better embrace data-driven insights in every facet of SourceMedia’s operation.
“Part of it is just cultural, recognizing that it’s our job to drive commerce when we serve the communities we’re serving,” Yorke told Folio: in February. “We need to invest both in the tech and also the people. The other cultural aspect is the brands recognizing that they are part of a bigger organization. Historically, we’ve been a house of brands, and now we’ve become more of a branded house.”
Global President, Hearst Digital MediaTroy Young is global president of Hearst Digital Media, where he oversees strategies for over 20 digital brands, reaching an audience of 190 million unique visitors.
Troy Young serves as global president of Hearst Digital Media. Since joining the organization five years ago, he has worked to manage content, technology, operations, product, and business development strategies for over 20 digital brands, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, Harper’s Baazar, Delish, and more, reaching an audience of 190 million unique visitors, as well as producing 1 billion video views.
In his role, Young also manages Hearst Magazines’ international digital business, with a collective audience of 236 million unique visitors across over 30 regions. With over 20 years of experience as a media executive, Young leads a portfolio of brands that boasts one of the largest millennial audiences for any media company.