1. Based on first-half 2010 revenue trends.
Source: Ad Age 100 Leading Media Companies reports.
CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Need proof that the media recession is over? Consider this: Reported revenue for the nation's top media firms climbed 6.1% in the first half of 2010, according to Ad Age's analysis. First-half measured ad spending rose 5.7%, with gains in every sector except newspapers, according to Kantar, and media employment shows signs of stabilizing.
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That drop would have been far worse were it not for cable. Video and broadband providers -- cable systems and their satellite and telecom-owned rivals -- managed a 4.3% revenue gain in 2009, reflecting their ability to hike prices and upsell consumers on premium broadband and video services. Revenue for cable networks jumped 4.7%, largely reflecting their ability to get more money from cable/satellite/telecom companies that carry the channels.
Factor out video and broadband providers, and Media 100 revenue tumbled 8.3% in 2009, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.
Video and broadband providers are the elephants in the media room. Video and broadband services accounted for 39% of 2009 net U.S. media revenue for the top 100 companies. These services were the No. 1 source of U.S. media revenue for eight of the 15 largest media firms -- led by Comcast Corp. and DirecTV, the two largest media companies.
Cable networks, meanwhile, were the biggest source of U.S. media revenue last year for five of the top 15 companies. Walt Disney Co., Time Warner and Viacom all generate more than half of U.S. media revenue from cable networks, according to Ad Age's analysis.
Better to be the cable guy than the magazine guy: At No. 14 Advance Publications, revenue from a regional cable-system venture (Bright House Networks) last year passed magazine revenue (Cond? Nast, Parade and other publishing units), according to Ad Age DataCenter estimates. The private company declined to comment.
Last year marked a sea change: Media 100's digital revenue surpassed newspaper revenue. Google, the top digital-media company, ranked No. 13. Facebook debuted on the list at No. 69. However, digital media revenue slipped 1.7% as the sector was depressed by slumping revenue at Yahoo, AOL, Monster Worldwide and News Corp.'s MySpace.
Overall broadcast TV revenue for the Media 100 tumbled 13.2% in 2009. That decline reflects both the recession (which officially ended in June 2009) and the void left by 2008's spending on political advertising and the Summer Olympics. TV revenue is rising this year thanks to an improving ad market and mid-term election spending.
Print media had an abysmal 2009: Newspaper revenue at Media 100 companies plunged 21.5%, and magazines slid 19.6%.
Magazine revenue has improved in 2010. Time Warner, parent of No. 1 magazine publisher Time Inc., said first-half magazine ad revenue rose 5%, driven by a $26 million gain in U.S. print advertising and a $21 million (or about 20%) jump in digital advertising. Digital advertising accounted for 14% of Time Inc.'s first-half ad revenue. In 2007, before the recession, online advertising accounted for only 7% of Time Inc. ad revenue.
The newspaper industry continues to suffer death by a thousand paper cuts. The industry has slashed one in four jobs since the start of the recession; employment today is roughly half the level of the industry's 1990 peak. Newspapers were the only media sector to see a drop in first-half 2010 measured ad spending, according to WPP's Kantar Media.
Add up all the figures, and Media 100 revenue totaled $309 billion in 2009, down 3.8%. Figures come from Ad Age's tally of broadly defined media revenue including advertising; subscriptions; movie tickets, DVDs and video-game software; and fees from TV production/licensing. Video games are new to this year's report, reflecting the blurring of media content.
Media revenue this year is tracking at a 6.1% growth rate based on Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of first-half reported revenue for major publicly held media companies.
A look at job data offers more signs that the market is turning. U.S. media employment fell 9.2% in 2009, but staffing has shown signs of stabilizing in recent months.