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

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8. Thomson Reuters

Business information, Canada (Public)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Digital Content Revenue

$4,709,070,000 (34% of total)


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Digital Snapshot

Thomson Reuters is best known for its globe-spanning network of reporters but the vast majority of its income comes from less glamorous operations, like legal and financial terminals. These digital platforms command hefty subscription revenues from a large and locked-in customer base. The giant company also has digital offerings in fields like health, accounting and regulatory compliance. Media counts for just 4% of company revenue but still adds up to an impressive figure of $336 million

Key Move

In 2011, the successful launch of WestlawNext helped TR keep its lucrative legal customers but the premature launch of new financial terminal, Eikon, led to rival Bloomberg gaining market share. On the media front, new Reuters executive rditor Stephen Adler named former FT bigwig Chrystia Freeland as chief digital maven.

Our Methodology

Thomson-Reuters says 10% of its revenue comes from print, but does not break down the rest. That other 90% is from software, services and digital. To determine the latter, we used a proxy in the form of Thomson Reuters’ competitor, Wolters Kluwer. Wolters breaks down its own digital revenue percentages for categories like “Legal” (33% digital) and “Tax and Accounting” (27% digital) that Thomson Reuters also uses. In addition to those categories, Wolters has a ‘Finance’ business and, by means of equivalent, Thomson Reuters has a much bigger ‘Markets’ business. We used Wolters’ Finance digital figure of 37% digital revenue and applied it to Thomson Markets, but broke out the unique “Media” category worth $336 million and counted that all as digital (as we did with AP). Finally, we folded Thomson Reuters “Intellectual Property and Science category into Legal.

Source: 10K

— Jeff Roberts

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