ZenithOptimedia just released a list of the world’s largest media companies ranked by media revenue, which it describes as “all revenues deriving from businesses that support advertising, not just the advertising revenue itself.” Number one on the list is Google at nearly $38 billion in 2011 revenues. It’s followed by DirectTV and then News Corp. which owns The Wall Street Journal, Fox TV and many U.K. newspapers.
How dominant is Google? It accounted for 49% of the world’s internet ad expenditure in 2011, according to the ZenithOptimedia press release. Three other Internet media owners (Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo!) generated another $11.3 billion. Much of this revenue came out of the hides of traditional media companies.
That isn’t to say that mainstream media is standing still. “Of the top 30 global media owners, 22 are companies whose main business is to attract audiences with strong content,” says the press release. “Between them, these 22 generated $169 billion in media revenue in 2011, or 61% of the total generated by the Top 30.”
So content rules, but search rules more. The world’s biggest media company produces almost no content, and it’s in a market that’s growing 13% per year.
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