Internet Publishing & Web Search Portals

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 7,400 Internet publishing and web search firms in the US provide online media, broadcasting services, and search capabilities for the Internet. Internet publishing firms help clients develop and distribute online media including books, magazines, journals, newspapers, greeting cards, directories, coupon books, atlases and guides, dictionaries, yearbooks, and comic books. Internet broadcasters stream music, videos, video games, news, worship services and other live and recorded digital media. Web search portal firms primarily generate and maintain massive, searchable databases of Internet addresses and content, but may also offer services such as email, auctions, news, and exclusive content.

Rapid Technology Changes

The ways that people search for and consume information and entertainment are constantly evolving.

Cookies, Privacy & Regulation

The use of “cookies” by web portals, advertisers and content providers allows them to mine user data themselves, reducing internet publishers’ control over that data and their ability to sell it.

Industry size & Structure

The typical Internet publishing and web search portal firm operates out of a single location and generates about $42 million annually.

    • The Internet publishing and web search portal industry consists of about 7,400 companies which employ about 320,000 workers and generate about $311 billion annually.
    • Most companies are small - about 82% have a single location and 70% employ less than 5 workers.
    • The industry is concentrated with the 20 largest firms accounting for 74% of industry revenue.
    • Large publishing and broadcasting firms include Kindle Direct, Blurb, Lulu, Issuu, Evites, Wikipedia, Statista, Pandora, YouTube and Netflix.
    • The largest search portals are owned by technology and telecommunications firms: Alphabet (Google), Microsoft (Bing), Verizon (Yahoo) and Facebook Business. Large vertically-integrated portals include Kayak (travel), Amazon and eBay (e-commerce), LinkedIn (jobs) and WebMD (health).
    • The industry is geographically concentrated with 25% of establishments located in California, 9% in New York, 7% in Florida and 6% in Texas.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Internet Publishing & Web Search Portals Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Nov 16, 2023 - Moderate Sales Growth Expected
                              • Internet publishing and search portal sales are forecast to increase at a 6.4% compounded annual rate from 2022 to 2027, faster than the growth of the overall economy. Industry employment decreased moderately during the first nine months of 2023 after rebounding strongly from a pandemic-related dip.
                              • The power demands of generative artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to overwhelm data center capacity, according to TechTarget. Internet publishing and web search portals that incorporate AI into their product offerings are likely to be affected. AI providers will need to to spread processing across the edge and enterprise devices as a result. Most experts agree that there isn't enough unused electricity to perform future AI processing in only hyperscale data centers, according to TechTarget. AI-driven compute demands have slowly increased over the last nine to 12 months, said Barry Buck, marketing leader at data center builder DPR Construction. Current infrastructure has met customers' power needs, but DPR sees companies having to build outside primary data center locations where power is more readily available.
                              • Two industry giants reported a massive spike in the water consumption of their data centers, according to the AP news service. Microsoft’s data center water use increased 34% from 2021 to 2022 while Google reported a 20% spike in its water consumption over the same timeframe. Shaolei Ren, a scientist at the University of California at Riverside who has carried out studies to evaluate the environmental impact of generative artificial intelligence (AI), told AP News that the majority of growth in water consumption is due to an increase in AI workloads. Microsoft told AP that it’s working on ways to make its large compute systems more energy-efficient for both training and application workloads.
                              • Trade groups representing publishers, advertisers, and other companies expressed opposition to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposal that companies offer consumers an easy click-to-cancel way to cancel subscriptions and memberships. The opposition came during the public comment period on the proposal. Supporters say that the proposal could simplify tricky, bordering-on-deceptive tactics used by cable companies, entertainment sites, gyms, and other businesses which allegedly seek to make it as difficult as possible to quickly cancel a subscription. “If sellers are required to enable cancellation through a single click or action by the consumer, accidental cancellations will become much more common, as consumers will not reasonably expect to remove their recurring goods or services with just one click," argued the News/Media Alliance, a trade group representing publishers. The overwhelming majority of comments on the FTC’s public comment page included stories of users trying, sometimes for months, to cancel subscriptions, according to Gizmodo.
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