Arabian Business Web Index - April 2003 Report

Microsoft-backed magazine Slate achieves a nominal profit and online advertising is growing again in the United Kingdom

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By  David Ingham Published  June 2, 2003

E-magazine achieves its first profit|~||~||~|Click here to view the Arabian Business Web Index for April 2003"

In what may be a positive sign for the future of online publishing, the Microsoft-backed Internet magazine, Slate, has recorded its first quarterly profit since it was established in 1996. According to analysts, Slate’s announcement (for the first quarter of 2003) of a nominal profit is significant because it demonstrates a successful business model for online publishers.

Web-based magazines have a reputation for ‘unprofitability’, as demonstrated by, which struggles to survive despite an investment of $2.1 million since July 2002. The Slate announcement came within days of a speech by Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, at the annual Newspaper Association of America convention, where he predicted that print publishers ignore the web at their peril. “We see the online newspaper as one where it takes all the strengths of current newspapers and then adds in new capabilities,” he said.
Slate’s regular readership is estimated at around 6 million individual users per month. In the wake of 2001’s terrorist attacks in the US, its readership surged temporarily to more than 10 million. It is entirely possible that the Q1 number was inflated by the imminent war in Iraq, so observers will be watching the Q2 and particularly Q3 figures closely.

Slate has won a host of awards in its seven year history, including the 2001 Online Journalism Awards for ‘General Excellence’ and ‘Best Online Commentary.’ Putting it all into perspective, however, is the fact that Slate’s annual revenues are in the region of $7 million, derived from a combination of banner adverts, sponsorship and reader subscriptions.

Further evidence of online advertising’s revival comes from the UK. Arabian Business asked the following question last month: ‘Traffic rose on regional web sites as the Iraq conflict unfolded, but will the new found popularity of dot-coms translate into revenue?’

If the UK’s recent experience is any indicator then the answer must be a resounding ‘Yes.’

The latest report on UK online advertising shows dot-coms generally to be in good health. The study, by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), shows that during 2002 the web’s market share increased to 1.4% of total media spend, up from 1.2% in 2001. According to the IAB, “This clearly indicates the industry is on track. Interestingly, in Q4 of 2002 online market share peaked at 1.7%, with levels of spend even greater than at height of the boom.”

Total online advertising spending has grown to £196.7 million (US $315 million), its highest ever level. Online media has once again become the fastest growing advertising media, according to the figures, growing three times faster than the rest of the industry. The report said: “The growth has come from a significant increase in the number of traditional advertisers turning to the medium as a complementary brand building addition to regular schedules.

“According to the leading online media owners, more than half of internet advertising is generated by traditional firms, suggesting the industry has crossed a threshold.” Here in the region, on MSN Arabia has partnered with Kanoo Travel, to provide its users with a greater choice of travel packages and services. “Kanoo’s partnership with reflects our strategic plan to develop our travel and holidays business online,” said Yusuf Ahmed Kanoo, chairman, The Kanoo Group.

Click here to view the Arabian Business Web Index for April 2003"

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||**|||~||~||~|Ranking in category by page views: Web sites are ranked according to the total number of page views reported in the sample period.

URL: Internet address of the Web site.

Site description: Web site owners have submitted their own descriptions. These have been edited by Arabian due to space constraints.

Site category: Categories have been formed by Arabian for the purpose of comparing Web sites in a like-with-like environment.

Total number of visits in period: The cummulative total of visits to a site in the specified period. A person visiting more than once in the sample period will be counted every time that person visits. Visitors to a site for a prolonged period, i.e. opens a Web site and leaves that site open on his machine all day, can count as several visitor sessions in that day. Web tracking software can effectively call a visitor session closed if it remains inactive for a predefined period.

Average duration of visitor session in period: The time taken between entering a site and leaving a site.

No. of new visitors in period: A count of visitors who have not at any time been logged by the Web tracking software.

No. of unique visitors per month: Unique visitors are counted using the visitor's IP address, domain name, or cookie.

No. of page impressions in period: A count of hits to pages defined as documents or forms by the Web tracking software. In most, but not all cases, a cick to a new page within a Web site will count as a single additional page impression. The supporting graphics on pages are not counted.

Sample period: The dates during which the log data was generated.

Verified by: Note of whether the visitor data has been checked by Arabian or whether the site owner has supplied data without independent verification.

Click here to view the Arabian Business Web Index for April 2003" ||**||

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