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

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6. Yahoo

Diversified, United States (Public)

Last year’s rank: #2

Photo: Flickr/ DoNotLick

Digital Content Revenue

$4,989,199,000 (100% of total)

Digital Snapshot

If you go by metrics alone, Yahoo looks like a goldmine: nearly 700 million monthly uniques, up 12 percent over a tough 2010; U.S. leader in categories including news, finance and sports.

Key Move

Carol Bartz’s firing as CEO was the biggest of Yahoo’s headlines last year – the company has been an executive merry-go-round, with Scott Thompson, Ross Levinsohn (interim) and, finally, Google’s Marissa Mayer taking the helm. Just as Yahoo’s boardroom travails have been controversial, even comical, the ongoing perception lingers that the company is a once-great juggernaut with no sense of direction anymore. But, for all the negative perception, Yahoo continues to pull in large amounts from its portfolio.

Our Methodology

Pretty much all of Yahoo’s revenue is from services related to digital content and advertising.

Source: SEC 10k: 2011 Annual Return

— Staci D. Kramer

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.