Online operations account for half of Forbes' turnover

Forbes Media today revealed that roughly half the company’s turnover comes from its online operations.

Forbes.com was launched in 1996 and now averages around 19.5m unique users a month, including 1.5-2m from Europe.

Speaking to the press today, president and CEO Mike Perlis said that ‘digital revenue isn’t just a small piece of the picture for us”, and now accounts for roughly of the company’s revenue.

‘It’s very different for Forbes than other publishing companies that traditionally started in print,’said Serlis.

‘I think we’ve been able to change that because we so single-mindedly set Forbes.com aside for a time, and built it up before integrating it into the whole, which is really important now in terms of servicing readers and opportunities for advertisers.’

Ad revenues are boosted by offering premium-priced advertising to specific audiences that use different parts of the website, such as CEOs, CFOs and financial advisers.

Chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, Steve Forbes, said this meant ‘advertisers are reaching very difficult to reach audiences”.

The company this week launched a new English-language edition of Forbes in Europe.

The bi-monthly magazine will be distributed in 11 countries including the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and will initially be sent out to 20,000 senior business executives.

Forbes said that despite the recent economic turmoil in Europe he was confident of a recovery, and felt it was the right time to launch a print edition of the magazine.

The company is now in the process of ‘aggressively recruiting’up to 30 contributors for the magazine in Europe, and is also looking to bring in an undisclosed number of permanent staff.

Asked why the company chose to launch the print edition in Europe, Forbes said that print allowed readers ‘to deal in stories in a much more thorough way,’and that it was impossible to have an online presence without a print presence.

‘Each of those platforms are different but each have unique characteristics – positive characteristics – in conveying to the reader information and analysis,’he said.

‘We thought to do one without the other would be missing a huge opportunity, and would seem rather weird in this day and age,’he added.

Forbes also did not rule out the possibility of charging users for content in the future.

Commenting on the future of internet models, he said: ‘It’s not going to be a one model fits all; you’re going to see numerous hybrids out there. There’s going to be a lot of experimentation to see what works for particular brands

He added: ‘We haven’t used paywalls, maybe we will for certain kinds of content, maybe it will be a small price, or who knows?” He added: ‘What works for us, or has worked for us, may not work for others but we will evolve.’

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