Blog Post

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

22. Naspers

Diversified, South Africa (Public)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Digital Content Revenue

$1,820,211,624 (22% of total)


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Digital Snapshot

Possibly the biggest multimedia conglomerate you’ve never heard of. What once was merely a newspaper publisher is now a case study in how to expand digitally. Having branched into pay TV in the ’80s, Naspers now operates its own South African domestic online news operation 24.com. But it is best known for making savvy online investments in fast-growing emerging markets. Naspers owns or partly owns the shopping sites Allegro (eastern Europe), Ricardo and OLX (Latin America); the social networks Gadu-Gadu (eastern Europe), Mail.ru Group, vKontakte and Odnoklassniki (Russia); among others. It also owns a third of Chinese internet giant Tencent, from which it gets around a half of its internet revenue.

Key Move

Naspers has made even more acquisitions to transform itself, buying a majority of social shopping’s Multiply for $44 million, emerging markets online game firm Level Up! for $51 million, a majority of Latin American payment provider DineroMail for $28 million, and a majority of Turkish online shopping service Markafoni for $86 million.

Our Methodology

Fiscal year 2010/11 total revenue was ZAR (South African rand) 44,103,000,000, internet revenue was ZAR 12,000,000,000. Subsequent disclosure for six months to September 2011 said that period’s total revenue rose by 50 percent year on year. Therefore, ahead of a  fiscal year 2011/12 disclosure, we are also assuming a 50 percent growth upside to Naspers’ year-on-year performance, making internet revenue an estimated ZAR 18,000,000,000. Around half of Naspers’ internet revenue comes from Tencent, all of which is from digital content. Of the remainder, we are stripping away a third to discount e-commerce revenue from assets like Allegro and QXL. We are including revenue Naspers earns from owned digital assets like Naspers and Mail.ru despite their separate inclusion elsewhere in the paidContent 50.

Source: 2010/11 Annual Report

— RA

21 Responses to “paidContent 50: The world’s most successful digital media companies”

  1. Good Job Mr. Robert

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  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.