The paidContent 50: The Most Successful Digital Media Companies In The U.S.

3. Apple


U.S. 2010 digital revenue: $4.1 billion

Snapshot: By closely tying iTunes to all of its devices, Apple has had an enormous influence on the sale of digital content. It has around 70 percent of the (legal) digital music market. And its iOS apps have completely revolutionized how content is distributed to wireless devices, spawning the creation of me-too storefronts on platforms like Android, Symbian, and even the web itself, with, for example, the Chrome Web Store.

Key digital move in 2010: Apple got a big head start in tablets in 2010 with the launch of the iPad, which already features 65,000 apps. The key now is how the ecosystem evolves. The company has already introduced a mandatory in-app payment system for publishers, and when it launches a cloud-based offering, which is expected, Apple will again cause publishers to shift in new directions.

How we generated our estimate: Apple said in its 10-K that iTunes sales totaled $4.1 billion during its fiscal year 2010, which ended in September.