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Forbes Selling Majority Shares

August 1, 2014

One website that has given a lot of inspiration to this blog is Forbes.com. Forbes has been a family owned company since 1917when it was founded however this is about to change. Grandson of the founder, Steve Forbes, published a letter on the site July 18th announcing that Forbes Media will sell the majority interest “to a group of international investors”. While the Forbes family will no longer be the majority owners Steven Forbes will retain his position of Board Chairman and Editor-in-Chief.

Forbes shares that since the internet has continued to grow and change so has the communications industry and what it takes for a company in this field to survive. He refers to content being free “like bread and water at restaurants”, because the internet has made everything so available and everyone has some part in it. While people continue to purchase online and paper subscriptions to major publications millennials will argue, “why pay for information you can find online for free?”

The debate: With print publications, readers pay the publisher for the information and ads. While online you are subject to banner ads and pops up but you can also receive a lot of information without having to pay. Yes, sites can limit access to what is often considered “premium content” and require payment to access it, but there are still ways to avoid paying. With countless websites and sources on the internet, readers are turning to free formats for their news. Online sites only selling information and not tangible products rely heavily on advertisement dollars to pay the bills.

What do you think can help the communications industry survive the internet? Is relying on advertisements sustainable or will this eventually fall short? Let us know below.

Read Steve Forbes letter here.