Tag Archives: Forbes


Biz magazines underperform industry in first quarter


The 14 business magazines underperformed the rest of the magazine industry in the first quarter, according to data from Publishers Information Bureau.

Combined, the business titles reported a 2.95 decrease in advertising revenue to $245.4 million and a 5.9 percent drop in advertising pages to 2,289.43. That compares to a 1.6 percent decrease in ad revenue and a 4 percent decrease in ad pages for the overall industry.

The performance continues a trend of the business titles underperforming the industry. The 14 business magazines reported ad revenue of $1.33 billion in 2013, down 4.8 percent from 2012, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau. In comparison, the consumer magazine industry reported a 1.1 percent increase in 2013.

The best performing business magazine for the first three months of 2014 was Inc., which reported a 25.9 percent increase in advertising revenue to $8.7 million and a 24.1 percent increase in ad pages to 101.32.

Behind it was Entrepreneur, which reported a 14.3 percent rise in advertising revenue to $23.2 million and a 14.9 percent increase in ad pages to 267.39.

Barron’s also reported a strong quarter, with advertising revenue rising 6.7 percent to $16.8 million and ad pages rising 3.1 percent rising to 305.87.

Among the big three business magazines, Forbes posted the best results, but all saw a decline in advertising revenue and advertising pages.

Forbes posted a 4.1 percent drop in ad revenue to $40.4 million and an 8.7 percent decline in ad pages to 242.98 for the quarter. Bloomberg Businessweek had a 6.6 decline in ad revenue to $33 million and a 10.6 percent drop in ad pages to 204.41, while Fortune had a 7.4 percent decline in ad pages to $38.5 million and a 10.8 percent decline in ad pages to 243.47.

The worst-performing business magazine was Black Enterprise, which had a 44.9 percent drop in ad revenue to $2.1 million and a 46 percent decline in ad pages to 44.61 in the quarter.

To review all of the data, go here.


How much do Forbes contributors make?


Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about the compensation for the business magazine’s online contributors.

Dvorkin writes, “Forty or so full-time staff reporters write for our magazine and post to Forbes.com. They take home salaries, occasionally participating in quarterly incentive programs. They’re now publishing side-by-side with more than 1,200 carefully selected contributors from around the world. One-third of them participate in an audience-based, rather than a page-view based, incentive plan that we regularly adjust to meet marketplace forces (Contributor George Anders expands on Why Writers Need Metrics, Too in this post). The remainder find rewards in an association with FORBES that often leads to paid opportunities elsewhere. Staffers and contributors alike focus on attracting followers to their own individual brands. They’re all bound together by a 97-year-old brand that runs a publishing platform, not a Web site.

“How much do our 400 paid freelance contributors make? Combined, 35%-40% of my total story costs for digital and print, or about 25% of my overall editorial budget. Individually, 60 made as much or more in 2013 than the $45,250 a year the Bureau of Labor Statistics says is the nationwide average for a professional reporter or correspondent. Five or so have built loyal big enough loyal audiences (the model pays more for repeat visitors) to top $100,000. Many dozens more make between $10,000 and $25,000. We probably pay more writers than most news startups combined. None of this fits traditional media’s preferred narrative, leaving full-throated stalwarts and observers clinging to a time-worn rallying cry that is hopelessly nostalgic at best and unprofessionally simplistic at worst.

“FORBES has multiple digital templates that account for hundreds of millions of page views each month. They include article pages, photo pages, list pages, people profile pages, data pages, section pages, department pages, etc. In the last three years or so, the number of article, or post, pages has risen steadily as the growth of photo pages remains flat, with fluctuations tied to the release of our popular lists and mobile consumption (see charts above). Also as indicated above, our contributor base rose sharply with the launch of our platform, then stabilized at the 1,200 range. On-going quality control efforts result in natural turnover. New contributors more aligned to our content and business goals replaced those who didn’t work out for one reason or another.”

Read more here.


Forbes extends brand to airport newsstands


Emma Bazilian of Adweek writes about how Forbes is licensing its name to airport newsstands.

Bazilian writes, “Through a partnership with Paradies, which owns and operates a variety of different airport and hotel stores (including CNBC and New York Times branded shops), Forbes has already opened its first newsstand in Detroit’s Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and will soon open three more in Washington Reagan and Washington Dulles airports. Along with the usual newsstand and convenience store fare, the shops will feature TVs streaming content from the Forbes video network and interactive touch-screen computers on which customers can browse Forbes.com. Throughout the year, the newsstands will run in-store promotions around various Forbes editorial franchises.

“‘Airports have always been strong outlets for magazine sales, and the traveling public has an affinity for what we publish,’ Forbes Media svp, consumer marketing and business development Nina LaFrance told Adweek. As for why Detroit was a good fit for the first-ever Forbes newsstand, LaFrance explained, ‘We’ve done a lot of coverage on [the] Detroit market in past and it’s a significant hub for business travelers.’

“Forbes has been getting into some unusual brand extensions over the past year—take, for instance, the Forbes Media Tower in the Philippines or the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University in Iowa—but this latest one seems right in line with the company’s magazine roots.”

Read more here.

Forbes billionaires 2

Forbes unveils real-time billionaires list


Forbes announced Monday a new digital tool that provides real-time updates on the net worth and ranking for each individual featured on the Forbes world’s billionaires list.

Bloomberg News, which competes with Forbes in covering billionaires, launched The Bloomberg Billionaires Index in January 2013 that includes the top 100 billionaires worldwide and features transparent data visualization tools that let you easily slice and dice the data. That followed the April 2012 launch by Forbes of a feature called the Real-Time Billionaire Tracker, which follows the ups and downs of some of the 50 richest people in the world.

The new Forbes tool follows more than 1,600 billionaires around the world.  The value of individuals’ public holdings will be updated every 5 minutes when respective markets are open.  Billionaires who only have holdings in private companies will have their net worth updated once a day.

“The world’s wealthiest continue to have an impact on huge swaths of the global economy,” said Luisa Kroll, wealth editor at Forbes, in a statement.  “By being able to track their movements on a daily basis, not once a year, readers will have a much better sense of where these billionaires’ influence is being felt and how their fortunes are ebbing and flowing along with the markets.”

For the launch of the new wealth tracking platform, Forbes will update the net worth of the more than 1,600 individuals who qualified for the Forbes world’s billionaires list this year.  Forbes will continue to add to that group as new billionaires are discovered.


Forbes power

Forbes vows to keep stake in company


Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes has told employees he will definitely keep a minority stake in the company after it is sold, reports Keith Kelly of the New York Post.

Kelly writes, “He made the announcement at a quarterly company-wide town hall meeting on March 13.

“One insider said the impression he gave is that it was ‘only Steve’ — and not other family members — who would be staying with the new owner.

“‘He was pretty adamant,’ said one source, ‘he said, ‘I am going to be involved with the new owner.’’

“Forbes also confided that several potential suitors who wanted to do a deal without him were rejected early on. It casts some new light on the selling process, since it now appears Steve Forbes wanted to stay involved from the get-go.

“But he still did not identify the winning bidder. ‘That was pretty irritating,’ said the source, although Steve Forbes promised staffers there would be news ‘shortly.’”

Read more here.

Caleb Melby

Bloomberg hires Melby from Forbes to cover executive comp


Caleb Melby, who has been covering the wealthy for Forbes, has been hired by Bloomberg News to work on its billionaires team.

Melby is known for writing Forbes’ first graphic novel, “The Zen of Steve Jobs.” He will work out of New York and cover executive compensation.

Bloomberg and Forbes have been competing on the billionaires beat for the past few years, with both launching online, interactive graphics that show how much the wealth of billionaires are changing on a daily basis. In addition, Bloomberg has been outing previously undisclosed billionaires.

Melby left Forbes on March 6. He is a 2011 graduate of Northwestern University and an Eagle Scout. He also interned for the Chicago Tribune.

While at Northwestern, Melby began writing for Northbynorthwestern.com. Later, he would become the executive editor of the website, interviewing the likes of Harrison Ford, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Seth Meyers along the way and writing the cover story of the appending magazine, which had been named Best Student Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

Forbes Ukraine

Forbes Ukraine publisher loses his license


The media holding of former billionaire Serhiy Kurchenko, who is now facing criminal investigations into his finances and freezes on his assets, has lost its license to publish the Ukrainian version of Forbes magazine.

Ivan Verstyuk of the Kyiv Post writes, “Forbes Media, which controls the iconic global media brand, revoked the licensing agreement, citing damage to its reputation.

“Kurchenko, who may be hiding out in Moscow, is suspected of being the front man to conceal assets of fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and his inner circle. He is accused by Ukrainian authorities of costing the state $1 billion through tax evasion and other corrupt schemes blessed by Yanukovych’s administration.

“The 28-year-old Kharkiv native has repeatedly denied the charges, maintaining that he is “an honest businessman” who has invested significant amounts of money into Ukraine’s economy. Kurchenko is currently on a list of 18 individuals consisting mostly of former senior officials whose assets the European Union has frozen “for involvement in crimes in connection with the embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds and their illegal transfer outside Ukraine.”

“Part of Kurchenko’s Ukrainian Media Holding, Forbes Ukraine’s official circulation is 20,000 and it claims to be one of the few profitable media outlets on the local market.”

Read more here.

Forbes Mexico

Forbes to launch Central America edition


Forbes will launch a Central America edition in March featuring the wealthiest people in the region, reports Oscar Lopez of Latin Times.

Lopez writes, “The information was confirmed by Max Linares, CEO of Forbes Mexico, who commented that the magazine will have an monthly distribution of 50,000, of which 30,000 will be distributed equally across Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. Meanwhile El Salvador and Honduras will receive 7,500 each and Nicaragua 5,000 copies.

“‘The Central American market represents a great opportunity for the launch of a powerful brand at a global level such as Forbes,’ Linares said. Much like Forbes Mexico, the Central American version will be published by the Mexican company Media Business Generators SA de CV, which works through a licensing agreement with Forbes Media LLC, according to the Forbes Mexico website. This deal, which began in Mexico in 2012, involved a $25 million dollar investment for the magazine in Central America.

“Forbes is in fact opening offices in Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic — it already has foreign correspondents in each of the Central American countries. According to Linares, various local businesses will be responsible for the Magazine’s distribution.”

Read more here.

Forbes home page

What makes for a top post on Forbes.com


Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about the stories on its website that get the most reads.

Here are some of his conclusions:

1) Reporting Matters: Staff reporter Parmy Olson’s exclusive rags-to-riches story of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum hit the Top 15 four times — a full week after it was first published. It generated 10% of its total page views in the 7-day period and drove significant next-page traffic. In a digital-to-magazine triumph, her Inside Facebook’s $19 Billion Megadeal cover for the Billionaire’s issue was also a Top 15 post.

2) The Pile On: Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines was famous for “flooding the zone” — sending as many reporters as possible to cover a major story. On the Web, writers can flock to niche stories — and audiences respond. Right now, Tesla and Bitcoin posts are golden.

3) Text Over Galleries: In a smartphone world, news audiences gravitate to headlines and stories (photos of red carpet dresses excluded). A post about Michael Jordan earning $90 million last year generated the only non-Billionaires gallery to hit the list all week.

4) Search Still Rules:The Top 100 Inspirational Quotes was published in May 2013. It was on the Top 15 list six times. The upside: 8 million page views so far. The downside: little retention value.

5) Go-To Companies: Apple, Samsung, Walmart. They are audience favorites all the time. Facebook and Twitter? Nope. There’s something about things you can hold and retail.

Read more here.

Forbes Bulgaria

The value of licensed editions at Forbes


Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about what the international licensed editions mean for the business magazine.

Dvorkin writes, “Sometimes my focus involves our licensed editions, as it did when the Internet convulsed over the demise of Flappy Bird, a wildly popular app from a mysterious 29-year-old Vietnamese developer. I asked one of our editors if he knew who ran FORBES VIETNAM. He did. Within hours its editor texted the gamer, then flew from Saigon to Hanoi to beat all other journalists to the first interview.

“There’s a bigger point here. FORBES is the fastest-growing international magazine brand–and the only truly global brand in our direct competitive set. Our 32 licensed editions, all but 4 in local languages, have a total circulation of 1 million. The top five websites among them have a combined monthly audience of 10 million. It goes beyond bragging rights. By reaching out to a network of knowledgeable, hardworking reporters who know the ins and outs of their countries, we can bring more depth and understanding to stories gaining worldwide interest at the speed of the social Web.

“The FORBES global platform began to take shape a decade ago. Paul Klebnikov, who was killed ten years ago bravely exposing corruption in Russia, helped lead the way. Paul, a former FORBES magazine senior editor, moved to Moscow to become the editor of FORBES RUSSIA, one of our first licensed editions. He had reported on Russian billionaires while in New York and continued to do so when he hit the ground there. Paul’s work was the beginning of a model for collaboration. Fourteen licensees helped collect information for this issue’s 28th annual Billionaires List.”

Read more here.