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


47. Informa

Business information, United Kingdom (Public)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Digital Content Revenue

$806,405,380 (39% of total)

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Digital Snapshot

Best known for operating the Datamonitor analysis firm, Routledge book publisher and Informa Telecoms & Media service, Informa is a classic specialist business and academic publisher, putting out over 55,000 books and journals. But, like its rivals, the group has worked hard to transition from the classic B2B publishing model to being a subscription online data and information provider. Now just 17 percent of its revenue comes from copy sales; the majority (36 percent) is from subscriptions.

Key Move

Big platforms for a big publisher. In 2011, it launched its Taylor & Francis Online platform to deliver content from 1,600 academic journals. It plans to use the platform to distribute e-books, whose sales grew to 12 percent of its academic book sales last year. Lloyd’s List, the 278-year-old shipping logistics news pamphlet, has been reinvented as a high-end data service with live info on 120,000 vessels, 163,000 shipping companies and 17,000 credit reports.

Our Methodology

Total revenue is disclosed in its annual report. Digital revenue from publishing was reported to be 74 percent of revenue from relevant business units, which a company spokesperson said was Professional & Commercial Information (total revenue £370.5 million) and Academic Information (total revenue £323.6 million). Informa’s Events division has no digital revenue. So, 74 percent of £694.1 million is £513.634 million.

Source: 2011 annual report

— RA



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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