Free or Paid Content? The 50 Most Successful Digital Companies in the World

50 top digital companies

A list of media companies that are making the most money in the digital economy by  both free and paid content.

The paidContent 50 ranks digital-media companies based on a simple and objective metric: the revenue they earn from digital content, or from the advertising around that content.  The “digital content” businesses include news, information and entertainment distributed over the internet and consumed digitally by consumers and/or businesses.

Four of the world’s largest ad agencies rank high in this list top 50’s list, while smaller advertising companies such as YP Holdings, Yell Group and SuperMedia rank among the lowest.

Here are some interesting insights from this list of content companies:

  • The companies are almost evenly split between those that offer content free and those that charge for it.
  • Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer, Dun & Bradstreet, Reed Elsevier and Informa collectively make around $23.5 billion from selling digital content.
  • Advertising sellers are dominate creating more revenue than the publishers they serve.
  • The hottest young startups are all but absent from this list.
  • Chinese firms that made the list were a big beneficiary of Asia’s smartphone and internet boom that has created a digital content market with incredible potential.
  • These 50 companies had combined digital revenues of $150 billion.

Here’s the second annual paidContent 50 – the top companies ranked in accordance to their revenue:

  1. Google (Search)
  2. China Mobile (Telco)
  3. Bloomberg (Business Information)
  4. Reed Elsevier (Business Information)
  5. Apple (Diversified)
  6. Yahoo (Diversified)
  7. WPP (Advertising)
  8. Thomson Reuters (Business Information)
  9. Tencent (Diversified)
  10. Microsoft (Diversified)
  11. Facebook (Social Networks)
  12. Sony (Diversified)
  13. Pearson (Business Information)
  14. Dentsu (Advertising)
  15. Omnicom Group (Advertising)
  16. China Telecom (Telco)
  17. Baidu (Search)
  18. Publicis Groupe (Advertising)
  19. Netflix (Video)
  20. News Corp (Diversified)
  21. Amazon (Books)
  22. Naspers (Diversified)
  23. Dun&Bradstreet (Business Information)
  24. Groupon (Advertising)
  25. Activision Blizzard (Games)
  26. Comcast (Broadcast)
  27. Time Warner (Diversified)
  28. Hearst (Diversified)
  29. Wolters Kluwer (Business Information)
  30. AOL (Web Content)
  31. Universal Music Group (Music)
  32. IAC (Web content)
  33. Axel Springer (Diversified)
  34. Cox Enterprises (Diversified
  35. CBS (Broadcast)
  36. Netease (Diversified)
  37. Zynga (Games)
  38. Gannett (News Publishing)
  39. Electronic Arts (Games)
  40. Monster Worldwide (Advertising)
  41. Walt Disney (Diversified)
  42. Viacom (Broadcast)
  43. DMGT (News Publishing)
  44. YP Holdings (Advertising)
  45. EMI (Music)
  46. Shanda Games (Games)
  47. Informa (Business Information)
  48. Warner Music (Music)
  49. Yell Group (Classifieds)
  50. Hakuhodo DY (Advertising)

Robert Andrews, founder of paidContent,

We’ve tried to be as scientific as possible with this list — the numbers are rooted in raw numbers, not emotions. But no such list is ever perfect. This is a work-in-progress; it’s aimed at starting the conversation about digital success. Please give us your feedback so we can make next year’s list even better.

Click on the following link to read the complete article along with insights and revenue of each company that made the list: paidContent 50: The world’s most successful digital media companies

Additional articles that may be of interest:

photo credit: Brandon Doran via photo pin cc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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