Bertelsmann tops ZenithOptimedia list of global magazine media owning companies

ZenithOptimedia reports that Google’s dominance as the world’s largest media owner has increased, with the gap between it and its nearest competitor widening significantly over the past year. Google is now 136 percent bigger than the second-largest media owner (Disney), up from 115 percent a year earlier. It is also bigger than the second-largest and third-largest (Comcast) combined.

Notable among the magazine media owning groups are Bertlesmann at number six, Time Warner (8th), Hearst Corporation (22nd), Axel Springer (26th) and Sanoma (30th). 

The Top Thirty Global Media Owners report is an annual ranking of the world’s largest media companies by media revenue, as estimated by ZenithOptimedia. ZenithOptimedia defines media revenue as all revenue deriving from businesses that support advertising, to determine which companies are most important for the marketing industry.

Ranking of top 30 global media owners 2015:

1 Google
2 Walt Disney Company
3 Comcast
4 21st Century Fox
5 CBS Corporation
6 Bertelsmann
7 Viacom
8 Time Warner
9 News Corp
10 Facebook
11 Advance Publications
12 iHeartMedia
13 Discovery
14 Baidu
15 Gannett
16 Asahi Shimbun Company
17 Grupo Globo
18 Yahoo!
20 Microsoft
21 Hearst Corporation
22 Mediaset
23 Fuji Media Holdings
24 JC Decaux
25 Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings
26 Axel Springer
27 ITV plc
28 ProSiebenSat.1
29 NTV
30 Sanoma

According to ZenithOptimedia, Google has benefited from the rising sales of smartphones and tablets, making its central search function available to consumers on the move – especially useful for shoppers looking for price comparison – and allowed consumers to view content at times and places most convenient for them.

This has created new opportunities to target them with display ads, another important component of Google’s business. But the main beneficiary of the transition to mobile has been Facebook, which is the fastest growing of the top 30 media owners. Facebook’s media revenues grew 63 percent over the past year. Facebook has actively embraced mobile technology in order to encourage its users to visit it regularly and frequently throughout the day, while designing its ads to blend seamlessly into the content feed. Facebook is the 10th-largest media owner in the ranking.

The next-fastest growing company is Baidu – China’s equivalent of Google – which grew by 43 percent over the year. Baidu’s growth has been driven by the rapid development of China’s ad market, as well as improvements in search technology, and it is now the world’s 14th-largest media owner, ahead of digital rivals Yahoo! (18th) and Microsoft (21st).

The third-fastest growing company is Grupo Globo, Brazil’s principal media owner, whose media revenues grew 15 percent year on year. Like Baidu, Globo has benefited from its presence in a fast-growing emerging ad market, but Brazil’s recent economic difficulties are likely to limit further growth in the short term, according to ZenithOptimedia.

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