Forbes Business Model | How does Forbes Make Money?

Forbes is a media and publishing firm based in the United States, formed in 1917. The company regularly covers business, technology, financial markets, financial planning, sports, and various other issues. It also publishes a magazine with the same name, eight times a year, and has a readership of 5.8 million as of spring 2020.

Forbes is most well-known for its lists, which include rankings of billionaires, top 30 under 30, universities, celebrities, and self-made women, to mention a few. Former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes leads the organization.

What is the Business Model of Forbes?
What is the Revenue of Forbes?
Forbes Figures of 2021
How does Forbes Make Money?
Is Forbes a Profitable Business?

What is the Business Model of Forbes?

CEO Mike Federle has revealed Forbes’ new business plan. According to Mike, it is built on an audience and business scale with 150 million individuals. With the focus on direct-to-consumer conversion, this investment [the SPAC] will allow the company to design bespoke products that address these distinct business cohorts.

In other words, they are focusing on trying to convert the regular subscribers into buying additional material like educational products, etc.

The company now wants to utilize its proprietary technology stack and analytics to convert readers into long-term, engaged platform users, including memberships and recurring subscriptions to premium content and highly targeted product offerings.

What is the Revenue of Forbes?

Forbes Logo
Forbes Logo

Forbes is excellent at estimating how much other people are worth, their global wealthy list of billionaires is currently updated in real-time and is a beautiful resource for those interested in such matters.

The total value of the combined company is projected to be $630 million. When Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media Investments bought a controlling stake in Forbes in 2014, it was valued at $475 million.

In 2020, it generated $163 million in sales, with the expectation of about $193 million in 2021. However, the revenue for the year 2021 saw a rise of 40% to $259 million as compared to $185 million in 2020 and the net income stood at $38 million. This figure was beyond the expectations of the company.

Forbes Figures of 2021

The revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021, increased 51% year-over-year to $94 million, driven by contributions across Media and Consumer businesses. The net income was $18 million during this period compared to a net income of $10 million for the same period in 2020.

The revenue for the year 2021 saw a rise of 40% to $259 million as compared to $185 million in 2020 and the net income stood at $38 million.

The adjusted EBITDA saw an increase of 86% to $60 million in 2021 compared to the adjusted EBITDA of $33 million for the previous year.

Every month, Forbes reaches more than 150 million people across all platforms – online, on social, through Live and virtual events, and through video and print. Forbes aims to use the content it publishes to introduce consumer-focused paid products to increase consumer revenue.

How does Forbes Make Money?

Single Purchases

When the company started initially, its model was based on the fact that they were providing information that was verified and well researched. It was released eight times a year, so people were more intrigued.

Subscription Model

The subscription model is the most important way of revenue for the company. The company tried to make fixed customers when selling physical copies. Although when they shifted to the online platform, they followed a similar pattern. This way, they kept providing customers with daily information.

Advertising Revenue

Forbes Advertising Examples
Forbes Advertising Examples

It is an example of a traditional revenue model. Companies buy advertising space on your site or magazine, also known as the advertising business model. Organizations express their intended content in text or visual format in the purchased advertising space. Companies pay you to promote their ads using standard advertising space for a price in the magazine, pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-view (PPV), and other agreed-upon strategies online.

Live Events

Live events have become a significant source of revenue. Forbes hosted more than 60 events worldwide in 2018, including marquee events like the Under 30 Summit, which debuted in Europe this year with an event in Amsterdam. The CMO Summit, which also extended into Europe, and the Women’s Summit are two other important events. Forbes will also host an Under 30 Global Women’s Summit in 2019.

Promotion through Earned Media

Individuals and firms recognized on a Forbes Ranking, Cover Story, or other feature can repurpose the content for use on their owned and sponsored media platforms to highlight their excellent publicity and industry leadership. Billboards, print ads, banner ads, social media displays, television ads, and so on are examples of these.


Forbes also has 40 licensing agreements worldwide, including in China, India, and Russia. The Forbes School of Business, an MBA program in collaboration with online Ashford University, and a Learn at Forbes online skills-training platform are other licenses. Because it is an annual annuity, the licensing company is almost profit-driven. Budget year after year, it was understood that the license agreement requires a minimum payment. In certain circumstances, it’s a one-time payment combined with a revenue share or an equity investment.

Is Forbes a Profitable Business?

Forbes is not required to declare profits because it is a private enterprise. However, Federle said in a December 2018 interview with Digiday that it had its most lucrative year since its inception. He wouldn’t give a particular sales amount but said overall revenues were up more than 18% year over year, with profits up to 42%.

After the difficulties in trading during the pandemic in 2020, the company’s growth shifted towards profitability in 2021. The company claims a net income of $19.5 million for year-to-date 2021, compared to a net loss of $2.8 million for the same period in 2020.


In brief, Forbes is a company that has built a reputable brand in itself. Forbes has traditionally made money from subscriptions, single purchases, and advertising revenue. However, profiting from this paradigm is becoming increasingly complex and the entire media sector is affected.

Forbes’ current income strategy entails increasing live events and utilizing its brand and readership to create scalable products. The revenue potential is being addressed in areas such as education and eCommerce.


What is Forbes’s Business Model?

Forbes is focusing on trying to convert the regular subscribers into buying additional material like educational products, etc. The company now wants to utilize its proprietary technology stack and analytics to convert readers into long-term.

How does Forbes make money?

Forbes makes money through the Subscription model, Single purchases, Advertising revenue, Live events, Promotion through earned media, Licenses, etc.

How much does the Forbes website make?

Forbes website estimated revenue is more than $48 Million. And it has a daily income of more than $44,000.

Who is the CEO of Forbes?

Steve Forbes, Mike Federle, and Michael Perlis are the CEOs of Forbes.

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