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

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2. China Mobile

Telco, China (Public)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Photo: The Tenth Dragon / Flickr

Digital Content Revenue

$7,593,960,000 (9% of total)

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Digital Snapshot

Only in the world’s most populous nation do you get scale like this. Many of China Mobile’s 649 million subscribers use its Wireless Music Club, ringtone and MusicDownload services; plus mobile news, movie and TV videos; books, magazines, comics and email.

Key Move

China Mobile has been riding China’s smartphone adoption explosion. The country’s app use jumped by an “astronomical” 870 percent through 2011. That boosted China Mobile’s apps and services revenue by 12 percent (many apps are free). Its Mobile Market app store has 158 million registered users and clocked 630 million 2011 downloads.

Our Methodology

China Mobile said in its 2011 annual report: “The group’s applications and information services experienced rapid growth. In 2011, its revenue reached RMB48.4 billion ($7.5 billion), up by 12.0%”. Wireless Music revenue reached RMB22.1 billion. Mobile Mailbox accounted for RMB1.5 billion. Mobile Reading contributed RMB0.63 billion. Mobile Video came in at RMB0.57 billion in revenue. Other, unquantified revenue lines are Mobile Gaming and location-based services.

Source: 2011 Annual Return

— RA

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

  1. Good Job Mr. Robert

    I am a freelancing SEO and SMM professional. The recent update of google penguin and panda has changed the SEO pattern radically.

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

    I really hate this because, making loss to others for their own profit is a Digital Crime and Weak Business policy from my view. Check my site Arsenal Highlights

  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 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.