CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - Michael Burgi on the launch of Forbes’ international magazine

The second-largest US business and finance magazine, Forbes, prides itself on a shoot-from-the-hip approach to covering free-market enterprise.

The second-largest US business and finance magazine, Forbes, prides

itself on a shoot-from-the-hip approach to covering free-market


In late September, the New York-based company announced plans to launch

Forbes Global Business & Finance, an international version of the

publication, in the spring of next year.

Although its arrival comes years after its sister publication, Forbes’

executives believe they have chosen the right time to go global. Steve

Rau, advertising director of Forbes Global, says: ’There’s a new

attitude outside the US - communism is in recession and a

pro-capitalism, free-market attitude prevails.’

With a circulation of 782,000, Forbes remains one of the last big-name

independently-owned magazines in the US, unlike its two competitors.

Fortune, a bi-weekly magazine, is part of Time Inc. and counts 762,000

subscribers, while Business Week is owned by McGraw Hill and counts

915,000 subscribers.

Bill Flatley, vice-president of sales for Forbes in the US, explains

that it has led the field in terms of ad pages since 1992. ’It looks as

if we will be top again this year,’ says Flatley, citing the fact that

the magazine is pacing about 10 per cent ahead of 1996 numbers at 3,016

pages through September.

Flatley identifies two reasons for this. ’Our subscribers are loyal in

terms of fees and commitment,’ he says. ’Plus, we simply do a better job

writing about issues of interest to the decision makers: who’s winning,

who’s losing and why.’

Forbes generated 4,548 ad pages in 1996, ahead of Business Week’s 3,884

pages and Fortune’s 3,336 pages. However, Business Week is the market

leader in terms of revenue, generating dollars 298 million compared with

Forbes’ dollars 222 million and Fortune’s dollars 198 million. Declining

to identify Forbes’ ratecard, Flatley claims it is the least expensive

magazine: ’It is the lowest out-of-pocket cost in this category.’

Forbes Global has a modest target circulation of 50,000 paid


But Rau expects that number to grow quickly, since the magazine is

starting from a lower base than Fortune or Business Week, which have

international circulations of 128,000 or 156,000 respectively. ’We know

from research that there’s a strong demand for us out there,’ he


To date, one advertiser has signed up: Turespana, which will run an

8-page supplement in the inaugural April 6, 2998 issue.


Published by Forbes Inc.

Launch 1917

Frequency monthly

Paid circulation 782,796 *

1996 ad revenue dollars 222, 446, 993

1996 ad pages 4,548

* to June 30 1997. Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations.


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