But the media market is losing momentum. Revenue for the nation's largest media firms grew 4.5% in the first half of 2011, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis. First-half U.S. measured ad spending increased a relatively weak 3.2%, according to WPP's Kantar Media. GDP this year is expected to grow a tepid 1.6%. There is rampant speculation about a double-dip recession.
The U.S. media industry has added 3,900 jobs so far this year -- but only because big gains in digital made up for losses in traditional media.
Digital-media firms are seeing a surge in revenue and employment. Zynga's 2010 U.S. revenue more than quadrupled to $402 million, allowing the social-media games company to make its debut in this report with the fastest growth among the Media 100.
Facebook's estimated U.S. revenue more than doubled. Google's estimated net U.S. media revenue rocketed 27.4% -- a $2 billion increase.
Revenue for Media 100's digital sector -- mostly digital pure plays -- jumped 17.7% in 2010, the strongest growth of any sector.
Broadcast TV wasn't far behind, with 14.0% growth driven by a revival of local auto advertising and election spending. Broadcast TV isn't seeing such gains in 2011. Station owner Gray Television's 2010 revenue leaped 28.0%, boosted by autos and elections; first-half 2011 revenue fell slightly. Media 100 cable networks generated strong 2010 growth of 8.6%, benefiting from gains in both ad revenue and fees charged to video/broadband providers. Cable continues to do well. At Scripps Networks Interactive, parent of HGTV and Food Network, first-half 2011 revenue for cable networks and related websites rose 10.7%.
Video/broadband providers -- cable systems and their satellite and telecom-owned rivals -- managed a 6.5% increase in 2010 net media revenue.
Media 100 magazine revenue decreased 0.8% in 2010, essentially stabilizing after tumbling 19.6% in 2009.
Newspaper revenue dropped 5.1%, better than 2009's 21.5% plunge.
The Media 100's worst-performing sector: yellow pages, down 17.9%. Local Insight Regatta Holdings in November 2010 filed for Chapter 11, becoming the third major yellow-pages publisher to go through a recent bankruptcy reorganization.
Other Media 100 players are pursuing deals or absorbing what they bought. Time Warner Cable is buying Insight Communications, a regional cable-systems operator. Investment firm Alden Global Capital in July 2011 bought Journal Register Co., a newspaper publisher. Cumulus Media last month bought Citadel Broadcasting Corp., another major radio broadcaster.
The really big deal in media is Comcast Corp. With its January 2011 purchase of a majority stake in NBC Universal, Comcast now has more than twice the U.S. media revenue of any other company.For an index to the full 100 Leading Media Companies report, click here.