European media companies need to change their online strategies dramatically if they want to stay competitive, according to a new report by analyst Forrester Research, out today.

Media firms should aim to gain at least 50 percent of their online revenue from non-advertising sources after one year in operation, Forrester said.

This compares to about 30 percent of revenue from other sources in the print publishing world, the company said in a statement.

Media firms must make their editorial content more dynamic in order to attract visitors and sponsors, Forrester said.

Producing online content requires a real-time creation process, the analyst said. Media companies should enable writers to post stories in less than one hour from draft to online, and rely more on freelancers, the company said in a statement.

In addition, stories should include added value such as video clips and links that are relevant, and sites should offer chat rooms and bulletin boards that involve users and create a close community.

Another key to making the online business a success is to make it a separate business unit, said Forrester.

Forrester is harsh on media firms that have not yet caught up in the online world. Revenue from the traditional classified advertisements is drying up, the company said, while specialised sites and portals are stealing away audiences by offering targeted content.