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

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34. Cox Enterprises

Diversified, United States (Private)

Last year’s rank: #14

Digital Content Revenue

$1,200,000,000 (8% of total)

Digital Snapshot

The bulk of the internet revenue at Cox Enterprises comes from Cox Media Group, which includes more than 100 internet services for its newspapers and TV stations; Cox Target Media (direct mail coupon service Valpak with and syndicated coupons to 150+ sites, and recently-acquired with social savings service DealPros); online advertising unit Cox Digital Solutions; and from, which includes auto bible Kelly Blue Book (

Key Move

Cox Target Media completed its acquisition of and this past June, adding the online savings sites and the DealPros social network of savings experts to its service. With the deal, Cox Target Media picked up at least five million monthly uniques from and broadened its reach to bargain shoppers at a time when more households see the value in saving.

Our Methodology

Cox Enterprises is private but releases overall revenues and some specifics. By far, the bulk of its digital revenue comes from its majority ownership of, contributing $1 billion in revenue in 2011. We estimated digital advertising revenue at $120 million in 2010, but it’s more difficult to build a reliable estimate for 2011. Valpak had revenues of $260 million in 2008 and has been aggressively expanding digitally. Conservatively, we’ll estimate digital revenue in 2011 at $1.2 billion.

Source: Our estimate.

— Dan Frankel

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.