Powerful but elusive, the international business elite is picky about its media. Pippa Considine reviews the global magazines and TV networks that aim to speak to the 'C-suite'.

Power and money are the two attractions of the international business audience. The readers and viewers of the channels and titles aimed at this audience are, more often than not, also the stars of their editorial.

The various television networks and publications that demand attention from the so-called "C-suite" - chief executives, chief operating officers, chairmen and the like - all trade on the rarified nature of their audience, but they all have a different way of finding their slot in tight business schedules.

Some are full-on business reads: what the markets are doing and how to go about making more money. Others have a more news-based approach, giving the viewer or reader a better understanding of the world he or she is working in.

The TV channels are relative newcomers in a sector that includes titles that started up well over a century ago, but the ease of access to TV and the internet has meant the grand old men of international business media have had some serious competition.

Several print and TV brands are now owned by the same company, allowing them to offer cross-platform advertising deals. All have had to adapt to the technological revolution that has occurred over the past few decades and stay on their toes in order to maintain their power base.

The recent Global Capital Markets Survey shows who's hottest with the big-hitting finance managers around the world.


Average issue readership (%)

Total N America Europe Asia-Pacific

Published daily

Financial Times 40 27 53 25

Wall Street Journal 36 77 20 31

Published weekly

Newsweek 14 23 8 17

Published fortnightly

Forbes 20 45 11 17

Fortune 20 46 9 29

Source: Global Capital Markets Survey 2003, Objective Research


Weekly reach (%)

Total N America Europe Asia-Pacific

BBC World 33 21 34 40

CNBC 39 64 28 37

CNN International 61 78 54 58

Source: Global Capital Markets Survey 2003, Objective Research.



Established: 1888

Owner: Pearson

Special supplements: Financial Times Magazine - a Saturday glossy with politics, profiles, arts and general reportage; How to Spend It - a glossy on the first Saturday of the month, covering consumer issues, fashion and style; Special mid-month issues: A Passion for Fashion and Travel Unravelled; Weekly sections: eg. FTfm (FT Fund Management); FT/IT - a fortnightly report focusing on IT; Around 200 world reports and special reports each year

Number of markets: 140

Examples of special deals with advertisers: Campaigns in print, online and using the FT database, eg. a campaign for the Mercedes SL directing people to an online game

Cover price: £1

Circulation: 455,000

"The real point about the FT is that we're a truly global title," Ben Hughes, its global ad director, claims. And the Global Capital Markets Survey, which asks senior financial managers from the top blue chips around the world which media they use, agrees. An average issue readership of 40 per cent puts it ahead of The Wall Street Journal (36 per cent). But the WSJ, although weighted to a US audience, beats the FT on overall circulation (two million compared with 500,000).The European Opinion Leaders Survey ranks the FT as the most "credible" and "influential" European title and a coming launch in Asia further backs the global claim.


Established: 1933

Key advertisers include: Rolex, DHL, Shell, Toyota, HSBC, Oracle and HP

Owner: The Washington Post Company

Special supplements: Issues 200(4), an annual supplement looking at future global trends in politics, society, technology etc; Issues Asia, special annual features including Who's Next? (year-end issue); Travel & Tourism; Futurology; Technologies of the Future

Number of markets: 190

Examples of special deals with advertisers "Beyond the page" campaigns - eg. InterContinental Hotel Group where Newsweek partnered with Travel & Leisure in the US to combine both print/online platforms, and Microsoft Agility where it partnered with CNBC, campaigns leveraging Newsweek's relationship with the World Economic Forum

Cover price: £2.40

Circulation: 4,279,491

Newsweek has a unique global news perspective - its columnists from all political persuasions set it apart, its international ad director, Rhona Murphy, says. "We bring perspective to world stories with inside information and interesting viewpoints." Where other titles may be pretty conservative, Newsweek prefers to stay open, with discussion from different sides. "And we're not just writing about business news," Murphy says. This means that although Newsweek is read by the same upscale business audience as the other international business media, it aims to appeal to everyone.


Established:1917. Forbes Global launched in 1998

Key advertisers: Accenture, Carlsberg, DaimlerChrysler, DHL, HP, HSBC, Rolex, Singapore Airlines, UBS and XL Capital

Owner: Privately owned by the Forbes family

Special supplements: The Forbes 400: The Richest People in America (October); The Largest Private Companies (November); The World's Billionaires (March); The A List: Forbes Global Selects the Best Big Companies (April); Forbes FYI - a quarterly lifestyle edition (in the US)

Number of markets: 116

Examples of special deals with advertisers: Forbes has a portfolio of properties that provide a multimedia platform for advertisers:, Forbes on Fox, Forbes Management Conferences, Forbes Custom Media Cover price Forbes Global between $3.50 and $5.60; Forbes (US) $4.95

Circulation: Forbes Global 138,919, Forbes (US) 922,252

Forbes has a policy of putting business personalities in the spotlight. "It's primarily focused on entrepreneurs in companies and how they have transformed their businesses," the publisher of Forbes Global, Bob Crozier, says. The publication is unashamedly about how to be smart and make more money or put more value on your business. The Forbes specials, such as the list of billionaires, are, Crozier says, "a blessing and a curse. We are not really about the wealthy, we are about entrepreneurs and businessmen."


Established: 1991 in Asia, 1995 globally

Key advertisers include: Allianz, Boeing, Cisco Systems, Credit Suisse, Cathay Pacific, Diners Club, HP, IBM, Indonesian Tourism, Lacoste, Mitsubishi, Patek Philippe, Shell, Stella Artois, United Distillers and Vodafone

Owner: BBC Worldwide

Number of markets: 200

Special programming: Long-form factual shows, eg. Correspondent, Earth Report on the environment, Click On Line; seasons of programming, eg. Nobel season (December) or scheduled round BBC World live debates

Examples of special deals with advertisers: Creative solutions and commercials production with clients, eg. productions for Turespagne and State Street. Also offers production of "realtime" advertisements linked to events

Reach: 267 million households, 900,000 hotel rooms and more than 20 airlines and cruise ships

BBC World brands itself as the news channel that goes behind the headlines with in-depth documentaries and current affairs programming. "We have more overseas bureaux than anyone else (58) and a bigger direct newsgathering operation," BBC World's strategy and sales operations director, Colin Lawrence, claims. The channel has grown phenomenally quickly. It began in its present format in 1995; by 1999 it was cited as the fastest-growing pan-European news channel for the third year running by the European Media and Marketing Survey. The Iraqi conflict gave it a further boost in viewers. Where it clearly falls down is in the US, where it is broadcast, but via another channel.


Established: 1889

Owner: Dow Jones

Number of markets: 80 (newsstand)

Key advertisers: Vodafone, HSBC, IBM, HP, Rolex, Shell, Orange, Credit Suisse First Boston, DaimlerChrylser, Nasdaq, BT and UBS Warburg

Special supplements: Personal Journal (weekly); Technology Journal (ten per year); Stock Market Review (quarterly); Business Education (quarterly); Corporate Governance (twice a year); Mutual Funds Review; Annual reports: World Business Report; Europe 500; Women in Business; Innovation Awards; Year-end Review

Special deals with advertisers: Print and online campaigns can be put together with other Dow Jones publications and print, online and TV with Dow Jones media properties, eg. Oracle sponsoring programming on CNBC Europe with ads in print and online

Cover price: £1.20

Circulation: US 1,820,600, Europe 95,802, Asia 81,389

The Wall Street Journal's "mission" is to produce in-depth insight into global news and events and how they affect businesses and economies. Direct rivals to the 114-year-old title are scarce. The International Herald Tribune is more of a traditional all-round title and the FT's circulation does not come close. It still draws accusations of being too US-centric, despite regional editions bringing a local perspective.


Established: 1930 in the US, 1950s in Asia-Pacific, 1984 in Europe

Key advertisers include: DaimlerChrysler, Singapore Airlines, UBS, Four Seasons, Johnnie Walker and Toyota

Owner: AOL Time Warner

Special supplements: Fortune 500 (April); Fortune Global 500 (July); 50 Most Powerful Women in Business (October); 40 Under 40 (September)

Number of markets: 120

Examples of special deals with advertisers: Cross-platform with CNN, eg. Intercontinental Hotels' programme sponsorship leveraged by ads in Fortune, UBS programme sponsorship leveraged by online activity and ads in Fortune and Time

Cover price: £3

Circulation: 1,120,000

Fortune prides itself not only on its in-depth approach to business stories but its contacts with the business elite. "No-one matches Fortune's access to the people who are influencing business," its international sales director, Andy Bush, says. Fortune's special issues, especially the Fortune 500 and Fortune Global 500, are probably more famous than the magazine itself. But, like its arch-rival Forbes, its circulation outside of the US is still relatively low. While penetration is one way forward, Bush says the fight for advertising is about developing new revenue streams from new categories and encouraging international advertisers to look at the bigger picture. "The biggest battle we face is to develop pan-regional rather than local budgets," he says.


Established: 1980

Key advertisers: Cisco Systems, Deutsche Bank, Dubai International Airport, EDF, HP, InterContinental Hotels, Alfa Romeo, Johnnie Walker, DaimlerChrysler, Lacoste, Skyteam, UBS and Vodafone

Owner: AOL Time Warner

Number of markets: 200 (for all branded and network services)

Examples of special deals with advertisers: Cross-platform deals using the CNN properties including internet, radio and mobile services, plus deals across AOL Time Warner media, including Fortune, eg. Toyota- and Alfa Romeo-sponsored programming packages, packages around event programming, eg. Vodafone sponsoring every Formula One Grand Prix weekend

Reach: CNN International, 165 million households; CNN TV networks, 260 million; CNN including all brand extensions one billion

CNN is an undoubted international news heavyweight. It goes to great lengths to regionalise its programming, but its appeal stems from its global coverage. Its audience includes "people with an international perspective and a desire to know about world events". Jonathan Davies, a senior vice-president of Turner Broadcasting System Europe's news advertising sales, says. As well as pulling in international media's typical upscale audience, the channel is getting younger. "CNN is becoming increasingly hip," he claims. CNN is distributed on a number of platforms, including radio, wireless, internet as well as TV. "CNN should be ubiquitous. You should be able to access it in any way: we will keep up with the technology."


Established: 1989 in the US, 1998 in Europe

Key advertisers: Airbus, Boeing, Barclays Bank, Chevron Texaco, Cisco Systems, Dubai Civil Aviation, Excel Capital, HSBC, Lacoste, Oracle, Rolex, State Street Global, Samsung, Saudi Aramco and UBS

Owner: Dow Jones

Special programming: CNBC Sports and weekend programming, eg. The Comedy Block, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Squawk Box, Power Lunch

Number of markets: 200

Examples of special deals with advertisers: Cross-platform, including deals with Dow Jones' sister publication The Wall Street Journal, eg. Sun Microsystems' programme sponsorship supported by ads in the WSJ, or The Players, funded by Oracle with ads in the WSJ. Also offers deals with advertising on taxis, etc

Reach: 190 million households

Unlike most of its global peers, CNBC is distinctly about business. "Our viewers are primarily senior business executives, wealthy private investors and people working in the investment industry," Mick Buckley, CNBC Europe's commercial director, says. Stories are given a business spin and senior executives feature heavily as interviewees, with more than 100 CEOs appearing on screen each month. The business focus means the channel has less competition from national broadcasters or its more generalist rivals such as CNN or BBC World. One of the biggest selling points is what Buckley terms "the engaged nature of our viewer ... when we interview chief executives, stock prices can move up and down as we talk."

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