Top-Rated Media Cos: Apple Leads Pack

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Despite contracting revenue from the June-through-September quarters, Apple remained king of the new media hill, according to new data from SNL Kagan.

The top 25 new media companies averaged $3.07 billion in revenue for the September quarter, up 22.6% from the prior-year period average of $2.50 billion. By sub-sector, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon -- in that order -- remained the revenue leaders among diversified new media companies.

Priceline.com was the leader in dedicated e-commerce; Monster Worldwide led in online advertising and search; LinkedIn was the top Internet communications company; and Ancestry.com ranked as the top online information and content company.

Of note, no online entertainment company made the revenue list, although KIT digital proved to be the online entertainment company with the greatest net income in the quarter, at $4.8 million.

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Apple ended its fiscal fourth quarter on a high note, as anticipation for the newest iPhone rose, drowning out concerns that former COO Tim Cook might not be able to fill Steve Jobs' shoes. Yet after a rocky start to the fiscal first quarter of 2012 -- including Jobs' death and the reveal of the iPhone 4S rather than the iPhone 5 -- Apple released earnings that failed to impress, SNL Kagan notes.

Microsoft came in at second place in revenue and profits in the new media sector, with modest year-over-year growth, revenue that was roughly flat sequentially and net income that was down slightly from the June quarter. In an earnings release, the company boasted of Bing's growing market share -- but even though online services did grow 18.6% year-over-year, it remained Microsoft's smallest division in terms of revenue.

However, the December quarter appears to be shaping up better for Microsoft, as it posted its biggest-ever sales week for the Xbox 360 during the week of Black Friday, selling more than 960,000 consoles in the U.S. in that period.

On the whole, SNL Kagan’s list of top new media companies was strikingly similar to the prior quarter, while Yahoo continued to languish -- seeing its revenue and income shrink year-over-year, as well as revenue down sequentially.

Groupon was a new addition to the revenue list, as its revenue became public knowledge in anticipation of a November IPO, coming in at No. 11 with $430.2 million in revenue during the September quarter.

Amazon continued what SNL Kagan called its “long-standing trend” by ranking highly in revenue, but ending up with slimmer profits. Revenue was up-year-over year by 43.9% to $10.88 billion from $7.56 billion, but net income was down a full 72.7% to just $63.0 million from $231.0 million.

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