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

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33. Axel Springer

Diversified, Germany (Public)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Digital Content Revenue

$1,216,602,540 (31% of total)


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Digital Snapshot

The multimedia conglomerate publishes Europe’s highest-circulation newspaper, Germany’s Bild, as well as many others, all of which have corresponding online editions. Springer has moved rapidly into pure-play online services and led the second paid-content wave in 2009 when, ahead even of News Corp., it introduced content fees for mobile apps. Now it has 35 paid mobile apps, 24 paid tablet apps, and it has introduced web fees for several of its news and magazine titles, along with new tablet aggregator apps for its own-brand titles, iKiosk and MyEdition. The company hit record profits of €534 million in 2011.

Key Move

Springer has bought a host of sites, including French property ads site SeLoger for a whopping €633 million, M4N, Perfiliate and, recently, TotalJobs, the UK’s number-two jobs site, through its new digital jobs unit for £110 million. Having grown its digital revenue from two percent of the total in 2004 to 31 percent in 2011, the company is showing how a 66-year-old media player can transition to digital by expanding to adjacent growth areas, not merely repurposing its core content for new media. Next, it’s targeting a 50/50 split.

Our Methodology

Springer disclosed digital revenue was 31% of its total, saying: “In 2011, for the first time, revenues from digital media accounted for more than 30 % of total Group revenues. In absolute terms, we have nearly reached the € 1 billion mark in revenues from our digital business. These activities are also highly profitable (with an EBITDA margin of 16.4 %).”

Source: 2011 AR

— RA

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