Ten years ago, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation was the biggest news media company in the English-speaking world - and it was about to become even bigger with the planned acquisition of broadcast giant, BSkyB.
“The Fox News Channel is simply unstoppable,” Murdoch wrote in the company’s 2010 annual report, which reported revenues of $32.8bn, up 8% on the previous year. “The Sun
delivered its highest year ever in advertising revenues in 2010...The Wall Street Journal
was the only major US title to grow in circulation.”
“Far from killing us off,” he said of technological advancements at the time, “I see the great disruptions we are now going through as the prelude to a new golden era for companies like News Corporation.”
Today, the biggest three news and information companies in the world are Google-owner Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, according to an in-depth analysis by Press Gazette.
The News 50 list reveals that the renamed and shrunk-down News Corp has fallen to become the English-speaking world’s 17th largest news media company, with annual revenues of $9bn.
Fox Corporation, the assets of which were part of the old News Corporation and which retains Murdoch as its largest shareholder, is 12th with an annual turnover of $12.3bn.
Here are the Top 10
Press Gazette revealed the Top 50 news media companies in the English-speaking world with an exclusive ranking.
The 2010 version of Google was a minnow in comparison to the Alphabet of 2020. With an annual revenue just short of $30bn 10 years ago, CNN named it the world’s 325th largest company – far behind the likes of Woolworths, Best Buy, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Walmart.
In 2010, Facebook was a social media network popular among students and other young people. Today, the company’s platforms – which now include Instagram and WhatsApp – are estimated to be used by around 3bn people. They are also a significant source of news and information for many.
Apple’s annual revenues of $260bn dwarf those of Facebook and even Google. But the firm’s impact on journalism industry revenues is currently seen as less significant. Apple remains a technology company whose products are seen as useful tools for the news business, both in terms of news gathering and news consumption.
4. Walt Disney
Like Comcast, Walt Disney is not best known for its news business. But its media networks division – which includes news brands such as ESPN and ABC, as well as the Disney Channel, National Geographic and a 50% stake in Viceland co-owner A&E – reported revenues of $24.8bn last year.
Founded as a single-system cable operator in Mississippi in 1963, Comcast has grown to become one of the largest companies in the world. More than half of its turnover comes from its ‘cable communications’ division – which provides internet, video, voice and internet services to US households under the Xfinity brand – but news and media is an increasingly large part of its business. The company took control of NBCUniversal in 2013 and won a bidding war for UK telecoms and media firm Sky in 2018.
Formed by the merger of Viacom and CBS Corporation in 2019, the company now owns media brands across the world, including the various CBS networks, Channel 5 in the UK and MTV.
Netflix is better known as an entertainment brand rather than a news rival to the likes of CNN. But the streaming company is listed here not just because of its popular documentaries – including Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and Tiger King – but also because with nearly 200m paid memberships, it is a major competitor to news companies seeking to increase their subscription numbers.
Like Netflix, Amazon – founded by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post – is a major competitor to news businesses seeking to persuade consumers to read and pay for their products.
Video-sharing app TikTok, which has reportedly been downloaded two billion times across the world, is one of the biggest new social media kids on the block. Its revenues hit $16bn last year, according to Reuters, which also reports that its turnover could rise to $27bn in 2020. This would propel it into the top five of this list.
MSN.com, which brings together content from various sources, is one of the most visited news websites in the world. Professional social media site LinkedIn, acquired by Microsoft in 2016, is also a growing source of news and information. In its 2020 annual report, Microsoft revealed the platform had more than 700m members.
View the full Top 50 Ranking here