ZenithOptimedia has released a list of the largest media companies around the world, ranked by media revenue, which it describes as “all revenues deriving from businesses that support advertising, not just the advertising revenue itself.” While only 4 online media owners made the top 30 list, it’s important to note – as the researchers do – that the figures pertain to the 2011 financial year, the most recent one that could be used for consistency’s sake. Since then, online advertising has been growing by leaps and bounds. And yet, even in 2011, one digital company ruled them all: Google.
Google stands alone at the top of the list, with an estimated $37.9 billion in revenues, more than $10 billion ahead of its nearest competitor, The DirectTV Group. Google’s commanding position within the online advertising market (of which search is the primary revenue driver) give it its edge over the traditional media and entertainment companies on the list. The other online advertising companies to make the list are Yahoo! (#15), Microsoft (#26), and Facebook (#27).
ZenithOptimedia offers some interesting analysis of the list. Some of the key points are outlined below.
- 22 of the top 30 – and 6 of the top 10 – media companies are traditional media and entertainment companies that create and distribute content, proving the enduring worth of content producers. In combination, these companies totaled 61% of the top 30’s revenues in 2011.
- Facebook and Microsoft were among 5 new entrants to the list, benefiting from the rise in online advertising. The other 3 entrants are Globo, ProSiebenSat.1 and Sanoma. The first of those, Globo, is a Brazilian company – reflecting the rise of that country’s ad market, which is projected to overtake the UK to become the 5th largest in the world by 2015.
- 8 of the top 10 media companies are based in the US, while the remaining 2 are from Europe.
- Although China, the world’s third largest advertising market, did not place any companies in the top 30, that ought to change with the next ranking, with Baidu’s recent impressive run likely to get it onto the list.
About the Data: ZenithOptimedia defines media revenue as all revenues deriving from businesses that support advertising – television broadcasting, newspaper publishing, internet search, social media, and so on. This includes not only advertising revenues but also other monies earned from these businesses, such as circulation revenues for newspapers or magazines, or subscription revenues for pay-TV. For publicly listed companies, the revenue figures are taken from their annual report and accounts; for the privately held companies on the list (Advance, Asahi Shimbun, Cox and Yomiuri Shimbun), the revenue figures are ZenithOptimedia estimates.