Visualizing the Changing Landscape of Big Media
Big Media is in the middle of a monumental shift.
With immense pressure on revenues, market share, and distribution stemming from platforms and the migration to digital, the traditional big media players are scrambling to find new models and tactics that work.
In addition to forcing companies to evaluate new ways to monetize and distribute content, this industry turmoil has also served up the perfect environment for massive mergers and acquisitions. Big conglomerates aren’t going to go down without a fight, and as a result they are willing to “bet the farm” on M&A to try and compete.
The Big Media Landscape
Today’s visualization comes to us from Recode via media reporters Peter Kafka and Rani Molla, and it does an excellent job in summing up the changing landscape of Big Media.
Notably, it helps visualize the significance of the recent $52.4 billion merger between Disney and 21st Century Fox, as well as the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner. The latter is set to go to antitrust trials in March.
It’s worth noting that the above graphic only shows the big players in the media landscape – and new media companies like Buzzfeed ($1.7 billion valuation) and Vox Media ($1.0 billion) are “too small” to include.
As such, it focuses primarily on the conglomerates that own many different media assets, with a heavy slant towards video content and distribution.
The impetus behind much of the turmoil in the media space comes from the unrivaled success of platforms.
Netflix has quickly emerged as a $100 billion+ company, and it already outsizes content stalwarts like Time Warner and 21st Century Fox, which each have histories going back many decades.
In response? In the visualization, you can see the investments made by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox, and Time Warner into video streamer Hulu in one attempt to hedge bets.
But unfortunately, it’s not only Netflix that is a threat – on the advertising side, the Google/Facebook duopoly is wreaking havoc on virtually every online media company in existence. The below graphic, which helps to contextualize the trend in global ad revenue, is from a previous chart we published last year.
To combat a shrinking share of the pie, even long-running brands like the New York Times are migrating their monetization strategy towards paid subscriptions. In other words, even the Times acknowledges that it can’t compete with the scale and targeting ability of the platforms.
That’s why, unless the dust settles in the near-term, there will be even more consolidation and attempts towards innovation in the media sector. This is especially true for the big conglomerates, who need to show shareholders that they are trying to do something to stop the bleeding.
Charting Revenue: How The New York Times Makes Money
This graphic tracks the New York Times’ revenue streams over the past two decades, identifying its transition from advertising to subscription-reliant.
When it comes to quality and accessible content, whether it be entertainment or news, consumers are often willing to pay for it.
Similar to the the precedent set by the music industry, many news outlets have also been figuring out how to transition into a paid digital monetization model. Over the past decade or so, The New York Times (NY Times)—one of the world’s most iconic and widely read news organizations—has been transforming its revenue model to fit this trend.
This chart from creator Trendline uses annual reports from the The New York Times Company to visualize how this seemingly simple transition helped the organization adapt to the digital era.
The New York Times’ Revenue Transition
The NY Times has always been one of the world’s most-widely circulated papers. Before the launch of its digital subscription model, it earned half its revenue from print and online advertisements.
The rest of its income came in through circulation and other avenues including licensing, referrals, commercial printing, events, and so on. But after annual revenues dropped by more than $500 million from 2006 to 2010, something had to change.
|NY Revenue By Year||Print Circulation||Digital Subscription||Advertising||Other||Total|
In 2011, the NY Times launched its new digital subscription model and put some of its online articles behind a paywall. It bet that consumers would be willing to pay for quality content.
And while it faced a rocky start, with revenue through print circulation and advertising slowly dwindling and some consumers frustrated that once-available content was now paywalled, its income through digital subscriptions began to climb.
After digital subscription revenues first launched in 2011, they totaled to $47 million of revenue in their first year. By 2022 they had climbed to $979 million and accounted for 42% of total revenue.
Why Are Readers Paying for News?
More than half of U.S. adults subscribe to the news in some format. That (perhaps surprisingly) includes around four out of 10 adults under the age of 35.
One of the main reasons cited for this was the consistency of publications in covering a variety of news topics.
And given the NY Times’ popularity, it’s no surprise that it recently ranked as the most popular news subscription.
VC+2 weeks ago
Coming Soon: Here’s What’s Coming to VC+ Next
Personal Finance4 weeks ago
Ranked: The Best U.S. States for Retirement
Economy2 weeks ago
Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People
Commodities4 weeks ago
Charted: Commodities vs Equity Valuations (1970–2023)
Batteries2 weeks ago
How EV Adoption Will Impact Oil Consumption (2015-2025P)
Money4 weeks ago
Visualizing the Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Banks
Wealth2 weeks ago
Ranked: The World’s Top 50 Endowment Funds
Central Banks3 weeks ago
Visualized: Real Interest Rates by Country