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

                              Mar 10, 2024 - 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, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc. Industry employment decreased moderately during 2023 after rebounding strongly from a pandemic-related dip, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
                              • More than one-quarter of scholarly articles are not being properly archived and preserved, according to a study published in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. Researchers say that the results of an examination of more than seven million digitally published items indicate that systems to preserve papers online have failed to keep pace with the growth of research output. Kate Wittenberg, managing director of the digital archiving service Portico, warns that small publishers are at higher risk of failing to preserve articles than are large ones. “It costs money to preserve content,” she says, adding that archiving involves infrastructure, technology, and expertise that many smaller organizations do not have access to.
                              • Businesses in the information sector reported greater levels of artificial intelligence (AI) use than the national average, according to the Census Bureau's most recent Business Trends and Outlook Survey. About 13.8% of information sector businesses indicated that they were currently using the technology while only 3.8% of all businesses surveyed reported using it. High usage rates in the information sector are not surprising, according to the Census Bureau, as these sectors include industries (publishing, data processing and hosting, financial investment, motion pictures, and sound recording) that typically rely heavily on data analysis; automated decision making; and word, image, and sound processing.
                              • 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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