Tag Archives: Forbes

Microsoft coverage should look past Vista


TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs wrote Monday in his Business Press Maven column that there has been too much coverage of Microsoft focusing on its new Vista software when there are many products and issues at the company.

Marek FuchsFuchs wrote, “Not that Vista sales aren’t vitally important — at least in the short run. But Forbes weighed in recently with the typical in “Resistance is Futile“: Even though many are grumpy about having to buy Vista, they will lay out money for the operating system upgrade to get the cool new features. And Forbes is probably right.

“But The New York Times cut Microsoft’s future to the quick by examining why the company’s online unit has ‘drifted dangerously off course.’

“Let’s keep wishing we had a nickel for every Vista article that has graced the bottom of a bird cage in the past couple weeks. But considering the dubious nature of the modern software business and the (forgive me ahead of time, it’s early) dandiness of future potential online, when it comes to Microsoft’s ultimate future, let’s focus our attention on why the following is happening and if anything can be done to rectify it:

Over the last year, [Microsoft's] online properties have lost users in the United States. The billions of dollars the company has spent building its own search engine have yet to pay off. And amid a booming Internet market, Microsoft’s online unit is losing money.

“The question the Times article poses is one that this sort of article almost always does: Can one man turn things around? Given the number of times in business journalism history this question has been asked, you’d a-thunk more of these people would have succeeded.”

Read more here.

Good biz journalism = good investment?


Forbes.com columnist Gary Weiss noted on his blog Sunday that Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy had a thought-provoking column on Friday about the New York Times Co.’s two-tiered stock structure.

Loren SteffyIn short, Steffy wrote that if the Times didn’t want the money from investors, it should have never gone public. Former Times’ ombudsman Daniel Okrent has criticized the column, as has others, Steffy noted on his blog.

And Weiss makes an interesting point as well. He wrote, “What makes this whole issue fascinating is that it deals with something we in journalism don’t like to talk about, which is that good journalism is not necessarily a good investment, and vice versa.

“Yes, it seems the Times was trying to insulate its management from investors. Steffy points out that “if the Times, or any news organization, didn’t want to answer to investors, then it shouldn’t have sought the public’s investment.’

“Well, he’s got a point there. Public companies have an obligation to their shareholders to maiximize their return on investment, but that has a nasty way of conflicting with their obligations to provide readers with the best possible newspaper.”

Read more here.

The end of serious biz journalism is near


TheDeal.com executive editor Yvette Kantrow wants to know why Forbes magazine has continued to publish a list of the most valuable fictional characters.

Santa Claus: No longer No. 1Kantrow wrote, “What can we say? We enjoy a good chuckle as much as anyone — although this doesn’t exactly make you weep with laughter — but when a well-known business magazine resorts to making stuff up in a bid to attract eyeballs to its Web site, one can’t help but feel that the end of serious financial journalism is near. It was bad enough when Forbes.com ran a piece a few months ago urging men not to marry career women; now it’s devoting resources to producing copy speculating on the net worth of Thurston Howell III. (By the way, the author of the heavily trafficked screed against career women, Michael Noer, is also the lead writer on the Fictional 15 feature.)

“And you know what? Forbes.com has actually been compiling the Fictional 15 since 2002. Is it just us, or does it seem a bit risky to continually parody what is essentially the cornerstone of the Forbes franchise — its Rich List? Plenty of critics have questioned the accuracy and value of the popular Forbes 400 ranking. (One of the most recent attacks came in Timothy O’Brien’s book, “TrumpNation,” published earlier this year and which attracted a suit from The Donald himself, but that’s a whole other story.) By running a fictional version of the listing, complete with statements like ‘For the first time in the Fictional 15′s history, Santa Claus has been unseated from the number-one spot, replaced by defense contractor Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks,’ doesn’t it become harder to take the entire Forbes ranking machine at all seriously? The bigger question, of course, is what type of readers do such features attract? Are they the high-powered business and finance types that Forbes has traditionally delivered to its advertisers? At the risk of sounding like a stuffed shirt, one does recall with a shudder the venerable adage about bad money driving out good. Maybe we even read about it in the old Forbes.”

Read more here.

Pfizer plays biz media like a fiddle


TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs noted that drug company Pfizer’s public relations strategy in the past week should be used as a case study because of the way it manipulated the business press.

Marek FuchsOn Tuesday, the company announced that it was cutting 2,000 salespeople, or about 20 percent of its sales force. Its sales force had been considered its strength.

Fuchs wrote, “Then Thursday rolled around. Pfizer cleverly invited analysts and investors to its research facilities in Groton, Conn., and sang (at top volume) the praises of the drugs in their pipeline. It also raised estimates a tad, but without meaningful higher revenue growth — that’s no big deal long term, so let’s ignore that.

“Pfizer, a true blue pipeline? Speaking of blue, this is a company whose last big bang came with the rise of Viagra, about eight years ago.

“Nevertheless, chief executive Jeffrey Kindler prattled on and was quoted widely about ‘significant scientific breakthroughs’ and how the company was ‘hungry for more.’

“Well, hunger and a quarter won’t shine your shoes, but who am I to quibble? It is extraordinarily hard to predict what is going on with FDA approval on any given Thursday, but the business media was not so cautious. This was a company that said it was ‘hungry.’

“A string of laudatory articles followed Thursday’s meeting, including one from Forbes titled ‘Six Pfizer Drugs to Watch’ about ‘intriguing’ drugs that ‘bear watching’ and another from Forbes titled: ‘Pfizer Fights Back.’”

Read more here.

Forbes' Russian edition in huge controversy


The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Russian edition of Forbes magazine is in a dispute with the billionaire wife of Moscow’s mayor that set off a firestorm in the country this week.

The December issue was pulled, the editor in chief resigned in protest and Forbes magazine in the U.S. demanded that the German company that publishes the Russian edition under license reverse its withdrawal decision. Late yesterday, the German company, Axel Springer AG, agreed.

Reporters Guy Chazan and Matthew Karnitschnig wrote, “The controversy began Monday when the Russian version of Newsweek published an ad for the Forbes issue showing the magazine’s cover with a photo of Ms. Baturina accompanied by the words: ‘My protection is guaranteed.’

Russian Forbes“According to Maxim Kashulinsky, the Forbes editor who quit, Axel Springer pulled the issue the day it was supposed to hit newsstands after Ms. Baturina’s company threatened to sue over the article. Mr. Kashulinsky called the decision ‘disgusting.’

“Forbes issued a statement demanding that Axel Springer ‘immediately release the current issue as printed.’ After the German company relented, Forbes took a friendlier tack, saying, in a statement it ‘believes that Axel Springer’s cautiousness is understandable.’Axel Springer acknowledged being contacted by Ms. Baturina’s lawyers but said the decision to pull the issue was made because she had been misquoted on the magazine’s cover. It said Ms. Baturina had in fact said, ‘Like any investor, I am guaranteed protection of my rights,’ and the quote as published would have misled readers. An Inteko spokesman said he had nothing to add to the Axel Springer statement.

“Mr. Kashulinsky maintained that he replaced the offending quote prior to publication with one approved by Ms. Baturina. He charged that Axel Springer pulled the issue because Inteko had obtained an advance copy of the article — in violation of Forbes’s policy — and threatened to sue for libel if it was printed. Mr. Kashulinsky said he didn’t know how Inteko got a copy of the story.

“Axel Springer changed its position late yesterday after completing a ‘review of the facts,’ a company spokeswoman said.”

Read more here.

New mag seeks gap between investment tips and analysis


Isaac Kardon writes in the New York Sun about American magazine, the new business glossy that just started, and noted that the publication is drawing its inspiration from what Fortune magazine was like when it was launched in February 1930.

American magazineThe editor is James Glassman, who has edited Roll Call and the New Republic. Kardon wrote, “The goal is to bridge the gap in the business magazine market between investment tips and high-level analysis, he said.

“The cover stories in the first issue investigate why so many chief executives are underpaid, the intellectual about-face of television broadcaster Lou Dobbs, and the economics of football.

“‘Fortune, Business Week, and Forbes have gone downscale,’ Mr. Glassman said. ‘Our magazine is directed at C-level executives, as in CEOs, CFOs, and CFOs of Fortune 1000 companies.’

“The starting circulation of the magazine is 40,000; the target is 120,000. ‘We see ourselves on par with Harvard Business Review,’ the publishing director, Samuel Schulman, said.

Read here.

Forbes pulled in-text ads after reporters complained


The growing trend of media outlets placing links in stories to advertising for products was explored in the Wall Street Journal on Monday by David Kesmodel and Julia Angwin, and their reporting noted that Forbes.com dropped such ads because journalists felt uncomfortable.

Kesmodel and Angwin wrote, “Forbes.com, owned by Forbes Media LLC, tested in-text advertising on its site in the summer and fall of 2004. But the publisher pulled the ads after its reporters complained. ‘While the general feedback from [users and advertisers] was more positive than negative, our editorial staff was very uncomfortable with the concept,’ a Forbes.com spokeswoman said in a statement.”

Later, they noted, “Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal Online, Barron’s Online and other Web sites, in addition to this newspaper, won’t run in-text ads, a spokeswoman says. The ads blur the line between advertising and editorial and ‘interrupt the reader’s experience,’ she says.”

Read more here.

Preview of new CNBC web site now available


A preview of the new CNBC web site, which goes live on Dec. 4, is now available here. The current web site can be seen here. Compare the two for yourself.

It promises exclusive live events, video on demand, tools for personal stock portfolios and global coverage. You can program a ticker for the stocks that you care about the most. It’s also promising exclusive interviews.

Here are some of the other features I was able to glean from the preview:

  • On your watchlist, CNBC will let you know when there is a new video available or upcoming interview on the air that might be of particular interest to you based on the holdings in your portfolio.
  • If you currently have a portfolio on MSN Money, the preview web site allows you to download your portfolio so it will be ready on Dec. 4.
  • MSN Money will be sending an e-mail to its registered users on Dec. 4 to alert them to the launch of CNBC’s new site.
  • You can also “pre-register” for the CNBC site now.

The web site has the CNBC logo in the upper left hand corner, with the slogan “First in Business Worldwide.”

CNBCMSN Money, of which CNBC has been a part of since 2001, underwent an overhaul earlier this week that included new stock charts, stock quote pages and a personalized news feature that seems aimed at keeping viewers after it splits with CNBC. Read about it here.

Microsoft Corp. and NBC merged their financial Web sites, MoneyCentral.com and CNBC.com, in June 2001, shortly after the tech bubble burst. The new site, CNBC on MSN Money, became part of MSN, Microsoft’s family of online sites that also includes Slate.

Microsoft operated the Web site out of offices in Redmond, Wash., with editorial services split between Redmond and Fort Lee, N.J., where CNBC is based.

At the time, analysts said NBC was likely interested in this partnership because its CNBC Web site had not been as successful in capturing web users as expected.

The goal this time around will be how successful CNBC will be in taking Web users away from sites such as Forbes.com, BusinessWeek.com, MarketWatch.com, TheStreet.com and MotleyFool.com that already cater to investors and those wanting personal finance advice.

Last week, CNBC announced a number of new hires for its web site operation. Read about those here.

Mixed results for business magazines in October


Business magazines reported results in terms of ad revenue and pages that were all over the place in October, with publications such as the Economist, Forbes and Fortune showing gains from the same month a year ago, but others reporting a drop, according to data posted on the Magazine Publishers of America web site.

The EconomistThe Economist reported the biggest gains, with a 26.2 percent gain in ad dollars to $8.7 million and an 8.7 percent increase in pages to 216.25 for October.

Other results include:

– Business 2.0 saw a 25 percent decrease in ad sales to $3.5 million and a 28 percent decrease in ad pages.

BusinessWeek magazine posted a 3.6 percent decline in ad sales to $38.9 million for the month, but a 4 percent increase in ad pages to 342.

– Fast Company showed a 19.4 percent rise in ad sales to $3.2 million and a 12.4 percent jump in pages to 46.39.

Forbes posted a 6.3 percent increase in ad sales to $59.6 million for October and a 3.3 percent rise in ad pages to 605.7.

Fortune reported an 8.7 percent rise in ad sales to $39.5 million and a 2.6 percent increase to 375.27.

Inc. magazine had a 1.6 percent decline in ad sales to $6.8 million and a 5.1 percent drop in ad pages to 69.5.

– Kiplinger’s Personal Finance saw its ad sales drop by nearly 31 percent to $3.1 million and its fall drop 28.5 percent.

Money magazine’s ad sales rose 9.8 percent to $17.4 million, while its pages rose 3.6 percent to 102.7.

– Smart Money, which hired a new executive editor last week, posted a 6.4 percent decline in ad sales to $4.8 million and a 12.9 percent decline in pages to 62.6.

See all of the statistics here. The year-to-date numbers are here, and they show Business 2.0, The Economist, Forbes, Inc. and Smart Money have posted increases in ad revenue for the first 10 months of the year.

CNBC hires staff to prepare for Web site relaunch


Business news cable channel CNBC has hired six people to work on its website, which will relaunch on Dec. 4. CNBC.com is currently part of MSNBC.com.

“We’ve recruited all-stars from across the industry to create a ‘game-changing’ site that perfectly complements our worldwide television network while offering a breadth and depth of business news coverage that simply doesn’t exist on the web today,” said CNBC President Mark Hoffman.

CNBCAccording to a press release, the hires are:

Albert Bozzo: Former executive producer and director of the video network of Forbes.com. Bozzo joins Cnbc.com as senior news editor. At Forbes.com, Bozzo was responsible for all aspects of editorial, production and technical operations.

Scott Billings: Billings joins Cnbc.com as senior news editor. Previously, he was the news editor/producer for WSJ.com Video where he created and produced a daily newscast of Wall Street Journal stories.

Viktor Cea: Cea joins Cnbc.com as director of content and design. He joins cnbc.com from Gartner Inc., where he was vice president, design & development for product platforms, responsible for the strategic and creative direction for Gartner products.

Jeanne Rothermich: Rothermich joins Cnbc.com as senior producer for TV coverage. Most recently, she served as vice president, interactive strategy for MSNBC, where she also held a number of positions focused on cross-platform strategy to enhance TV and web promotions and programming.

In addition, Alex Crippen has been named Executive Producer of Cnbc.com, responsible for live coverage, following more than 15 years of various editorial positions with CNBC. He also continues to serve as executive producer for breaking news, CNBC World and CNBC Business Radio. And Susan DeBaun becomes Cnbc.com’s director of strategic operations. She has been with CNBC for more than nine years and has held positions in technology operations, graphics and quality.

Read more here.