Top 30 media companies in the world: Google makes number one


Google is now the world’s largest media owner, with Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook also making top 30, according to new research.

The report, from ZenithOptimedia ranked the firms in the world by media revenue, which it describes as “all revenues deriving from businesses that support advertising, not just the advertising revenue itself.”

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.

These were followed by News Corporation ($26.4bn), the Walt Disney Company ($19.7bn) and Comcast ($16.2bn).

Time Warner ($15.6bn) took the sixth spot, followed by Bertelsmann ($11.3bn), Cox Enterprises ($11.1bn), CBS Corporation ($10.8bn) and BSkyB ($10.2bn).

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).

Google alone accounted for 49% of the world’s internet ad spend, Yahoo for 6% and both Microsoft and Facebook on 4% each. Twitter didn’t make the top 30 with revenues of $140m.


Rising stars

Five new entrants made their debut in the ranking this year – Facebook, Microsoft, Globo, ProSiebenSat.1 and Sanoma.

Globo and Televisa were the only two media owners from emerging markets to make the list, with the rest of the ranking dominated by companies based in North America and Europe. No companies from China made the list, however China’s leading search engine Baidu narrowly missed out on a place this time and is a likely candidate for inclusion next year, according to ZenithOptimedia.

“Google’s position as the number one global media owner is testament not only to its strength in search, but also to its expansion in other key digital platforms,” says ZenithOptimedia head of forecasting Jonathan Barnard. “ZenithOptimedia’s top 30 ranking now includes four digital media owners, and we expect there to be at least one more next year.”

“We also expect more media owners from China and other “rising markets” to join the two Latin American media owners in the top 30,” adds Barnard. “Despite the rise of digital, media and entertainment companies that create compelling content remain at the heart of the media business, and account for most of the revenues from our top 30.”

The Top Thirty Global Media Owners report ranks the world’s largest media companies by media revenue, as estimated by ZenithOptimedia . The report first launched in 2007 and was last published in 2010.

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.


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.

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