paidContent 50: The world’s most successful digital media companies

21 Comments

13. Pearson

Business information, United Kingdom (Public)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Digital Content Revenue

$3,140,000,000 (34% of total)


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Digital Snapshot

Pearson says its business has “fundamentally shifted” from one-fifth to one-third digital revenue in the last five years. It is thanks largely to the group’s many education businesses, like its MyLab homework system in the U.S., which are transitioning from printed books to e-books and from one-way education to collaborative learning through online platforms, for which Pearson has 42.9 million users. But a 29 percent jump in digital subscriptions to The Financial Times to 267,000 meant the paper made 47 percent of its money (£200.69 million) from digital in 2011. E-books hit 12 percent of Penguin revenues.

Key Move

Though iPad’s 2010 launch gave wings to digital subscriptions, the FT turned its back on apps. As the platform wars came to a head, Pearson’s business paper yanked its iPad and iPhone edition from iTunes Store, grumbling about lack of customer data and Apple’s 30 percent commission. Instead, the FT became one of the first big publishers to swap executable apps for web apps – its well-regarded HTML5 edition effectively mimics its forebear, contributing 19 percent of new digital subscriptions, which continue chugging away at the same pace as before.

Our Methodology

Pearson’s annual report said: “In 2011, our digital revenues were £2bn or 33% of Pearson’s total sales.”

Source: 2011 Annual Report

— RA

21 Comments

James

Tripadvisor is all digital media and is around $750 M in yearly revenue and should likely be included on this list.

Arsenal Highlights

Good Job Mr. Robert

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And google has done this algorithm change to spread their digital ads business nothing than this.

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ciaranj

If you want to rank things on revenue, fine. But then don’t call it the ‘Most Succesful List’: Microsoft might ‘make’ $3.9b on digital content, but it also loses around $3b every year too.

glocer

Thomson Reuters?! After Eikon failure & loss of half staff..? Are you mad.

kenhasselblad

What makes me wonder ist, taht there under th etzop 50 is not a single company from Germany. Germany is the biggest market in EUropa, but no German Hundefutter among the big player. I don’t buy that.

Abdallah Al-Hakim

I think this is a terrific list despite any reservations some people have about the methodology. It really demonstrates the huge growth potential of digital media companies in some of the emerging markets. Also, as a scientist – I note Elsevier being top 5 in revenue (Elsevier is publisher behind many of the top scientific journals).

Rick Noel

Google+ is a big strategy shift for Google and could, if executed well, become another digital revenue stream ti augment the search cash cow.

Mindbendingpuzzles

What about Valve and their digital games platform: Steam. I know they are a private company and figures are hard to come by but in 2011 Forbes reckoned they have more than 50% of the 4 billion dollar PC games download market. That is huge.

I would really love to see Paid Content do some investigation on Valve because they are an incredibly innovative company who really push digital retailing to its limits.

Dave

Groupon and Monster are’t really media companies. I’m not even sure that ad agencies should qualify in the same category as Viacom or Time Warner. Totally different business model.

Brendan

Why is eBay not in this list? They have an ad business on eBay.com and their classified sites, and the seller fees they collect are essentially paid ads since the platform doesn’t handle the items. This list is also missing Alibaba Group from China (including Taobao), and Gree from Japan.

Paul

Does this list distinguish between companies that charge users for access and those that do not, or was that weighted in the rankings?

Zato Gibson

“Creating this list wasn’t easy.”

I can imagine. Manipulating the numbers to get Microsoft into the top 10 must have been really tough.

AlanL

Yes, but they still should have had time to comment on the fact that MSN is no longer part of Microsoft and hasn’t been for several weeks. Sure that means they get to claim the revenue for this year but at least point out that they won’t have it next year.

Robert Andrews

AlanL:
The Microsoft profile page says: “Microsoft recently sold its stake in MSNBC.com.”
And the research period for all companies here predates that sale.
Any revenue change as a result will be reflected in next year’s pC50.
Thanks.

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