Biggest media companies in Europe & their 2016/17 performance [data]
As the narrative around media companies continues along a resoundingly negative tone in the face of continued dominance from Facebook / Google / Amazon, it’s interesting to see that it’s not all bad news if you’re a smart modern media company. Looking at the financial results of the biggest media companies in Europe from the last year we see 4 main trends / buckets of performance:
- The stars: media companies that have worked out how to make their businesses work, and are consistently year-on-year star performers
- Rock solid ‘Steady Eddies': companies that have a rock solid product that shows steady year-on-year growth
- Turn around guys: companies that have turned a corner and worked out how to make their businesses work in today’s modern media ecosystem
- Stuck in reverse: companies that haven’t yet worked out how to make money and are stuck in a cycle of negative growth and firmly in reverse gear
This is an update from our European media company review of last year, showing who are the winners and losers of 2016/17.
The stars: best year-on-year performers
The 4 stand-out, year-on-year best European Media company performers are dominated by pay-TV companies with a focus on sport - with the biggest outlier being the Persgroep, a media conglomerate with a focus on daily and local newspapers across Northern Europe (Holland, Belgium and Denmark).
Revenue growth (year-on-year %)
So, seemingly if you want to make money in media, the key formula is: 'Video + Sport'. Digging a bit deeper into why Britain's Sky, ProSieben and Modern Times Group (MTG) have had a strong last couple of years, we see a doubling down on technology and digital - with Sky’s SkyQ and Now TV, ProSieben’s strength in e-commerce and MTG moving into online gaming and e-sports. The important thing for all of these winning companies is that they’re applying sound business principles to these new channels - adding hard-learnt wisdom to innovation. Persgroep also fits into this mould, as one interesting nugget from their financial statements shows that they carry little debt, showing strong financial acumen and prudence in how this family-owned business operates.
Rock solid ‘Steady Eddies'
If 'video + sport = growth', then ‘data + subscriptions = steady returns’. The companies that have shown steady but strong growth are the giant B2B publishers whose main commercial engine is selling business data and insight services - which they have swiftly converted into strong digital businesses, with RELX ,for example, now generating 72% of revenues from digital and 52% recurring revenues, with advertising only making up 2% of revenues. Wolters Kluwer is a similar story, but with a huge 85% in digital revenues.
Turn around guys
There’s light at the end of the tunnel for some struggling media companies who have finally turned a corner in the last year, with particular reasons to celebrate for Germany’s Hubert Burda who turned around a -10% decline last year to 1% growth this year, and Italy’s Mondadori from -4% to +12.4% growth this year; European classifieds giant Schibsted also had a good year, with a turnaround to 4.6% growth this year from 0.6% last year.
Year-on-year growth (%)
Full list of Biggest European media companies
For a full list of the biggest media companies in Europe, here's a breakdown of their performance by revenue (biggest to smallest) in €billions (N.B. Access full EU media data-set here >>).
25 biggest European media companies (by revenue)
Wolters Kluwer 4.3
Axel Springer 3.79
Hubert Burda 2.82
Bauer c.2.3 (estimate)
For a full list of the revenue, revenue growth, EBITDA along with commentary on all top 25 European media company's financial performance, please check out the Hackers.Media Data Centre (simply apply for access here).
Image credit Flickr