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


20. News Corp

Divsersified, United States (Public)

Last year’s rank: #8

Digital Content Revenue

$1,900,000,000 (5.69% of total)

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Digital Snapshot

News Corp.’s digital assets are spread across the company and around the globe — including HarperCollins publishing; network websites for,, ; Dow Jones with the Wall Street Journal and its international expansion; 20th Century Fox streaming and EST; part ownership of video portal Hulu and its subscription service Hulu Plus; websites, apps and digital editions for newspapers in the U.S., England and Australia including the New York Post, the Times of London, The Australian; tablet tabloid The Daily; the remnants of Fox Interactive Media, including IGN; and a new education division.

Key Move

For the first half of 2011, the emphasis was on launching Rupert Murdoch’s vision of The Daily and getting rid of his most public digital failure, MySpace. News Corp. also set up a new education division led by Joel Klein, whose attention was diverted by heading the company handling of the hacking scandal that broke open in July. In the second half, the company resolved at least one question about Hulu’s future: the portal wasn’t for sale. As part of an emphasis on retransmission, Fox changed its policy on overnight open access to its primetime programming, switching to an 8-day window that allows only authenticated users to see episodes the same week they air.

Our Methodology

Based on SEC filings, earnings calls and sources familiar with various aspects of News Corp., this is our best estimate for a complicated company that, as far as we can tell, lacks a unifying way of looking at digital revenue. It includes ebook revenue from HarperCollins, estimated at $254 million, or 20 percent; at least $450 million from U.S. publishing including digital subscription and advertising  revenue from Dow Jones, including the Wall Street Journal, the WSJ Digital Network, Factiva and the Dow Jones Newswires; the New York Post; and The Daily; some $500 million revenue from streaming deals with Netflix, Amazon and others, along with electronic sell-thru, rentals and other digital home entertainment income; at least $150 million from the sites that are part of the Fox Network Group, including,, Scout, the sports regionals and some Hulu-related advertising revenue (that doesn’t include or, which are operated by Fox News and may have contributed up to $20 million); IGN; 2011 revenue from MSpace; News Digital Media in Australia and News Intl. in UK.

— Staci D. Kramer



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

Arsenal Highlights

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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.


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


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.


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.


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.


Why is eBay not in this list? They have an ad business on 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.


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.


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

The Microsoft profile page says: “Microsoft recently sold its stake in”
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.

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