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15 Richest Media Owners in the World

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Trish Novicio
·10 min read
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In this article, we are going to list the 15 richest media owners in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the media industry and outlook, and jump to the 5 Richest Media Owners in the World.

The richest media owners are behind some of the major media conglomerates that deliver media and entertainment services to billions of people worldwide. The media and entertainment industry includes all types of broadcasting, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and mainstream forms of entertainment like film, music, games, the internet, streaming services, and books.

Media Industry During COVID-19 Pandemic

The media sector is one of the most heavily impacted industries by the pandemic. Productions and advertising activities were put to a halt which directly caused a significant revenue decline. But the worldwide lockdown led to a shift in media consumption. People are spending more time at home, which means there are more entertainment hours to fill, and in times of uncertainty, the public turns to trusted news sources and their streaming services for answers. People are also hungry for top-quality entertainment content like TV shows, movies and sitcoms.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is a perfect example of a media company that benefited the most from the pandemic. In 2020, the video streaming company's revenue was up 24% to $25 billion, and Netflix also gained an additional 37 million paid memberships, a 31% increase from 2019's 28 million paid subscribers. The stock has gained 39.34% in the last twelve months.

News and entertainment channel Fox Corporation (NASDAQ: FOX) also had a solid full-year 2020 with a revenue of $12.3 billion, an increase of 8% from 2019's. The rise in revenue was due to gains in all revenue segments, with the television segment driving most of the growth, owing to $6.67 billion of the overall revenue. The stock has gained 42% in the last twelve months.

The pandemic also boosted the popularity of esports on social media, as esports helped to make up for the shortfall by traditional sports disappearing from television. According to data from Deloitte, 19% of millennials watch virtual sports. Television networks profit from esports in a variety of ways, including the opportunity to draw younger viewers. On Fox Sports 1, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series drew 1.6 million unique viewers. Among other virtual sports events streamed via news channel were Madden NFL 2020 on Fox Sports 1, NBA 2K on ESPN, and League of Legends Spring Split Playoffs on ESPN.

Although the popularity of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services during the pandemic, 'traditional' media remains unbeatable in terms of potential audience and mass presence. In 2021, major sporting events such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the NBA Finals, and the FIFA World Cup will further boost.

Should You Invest In Media Stocks?

Investing in media stocks is the most efficient way to grow with the rising media giants. Investing in media stocks allows investors to diversify their portfolios with a steady high growth rate. Since 2015, the global media industry has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8%, valuing approximately $1.7 trillion in 2020. The international media market is projected to reach $2.67 trillion value by 2025 at a CAGR of 9.3%, based on the Global Media Market Report of The Business Research Company.

The steady growth in the media and entertainment industry is supported by the increasing adoption of smartphones globally and the increasing popularity of e-sports and video games. On top of that, the emerging opportunities with 5G deployment. According to a new study commissioned by Intel and conducted by Ovum, media and entertainment 'experiences' powered by 5G would produce up to $1.3 trillion in revenue by 2028.

15 Richest Media Owners in the World
15 Richest Media Owners in the World

Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash

Richest Media Owners In The World

To give you the most accurate insights about the richest media owners in the world, we ranked each media owner by their net worth that we sourced from Forbes' Real-Time Billionaire list.

With this context in mind, let's look at the 15 richest media owners globally.

15. Charles Ergen

Net worth: $10.6 billion Age: 68

We start our list of the 15 richest media owners in the world with satellite communications company EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS) and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) co-founder and chairman Charles Ergen. In 1980, Ergen started selling satellite dishes from the back of a truck in Colorado, and in 1996 the company went public. The network had 11.29 million pay-TV subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter, including 8.82 million DISH TV subscribers and 2.47 million SLING TV subscribers. The network's revenue in 2020 came in at $15.5 billion, an increase of 20% year-over-year. Shares of DISH jumped 72.5% over the past twelve months.

14. Patrick Drahi

Net worth: $11.7 billion Age: 57

Ranking 14th on the list of the 15 richest media owners in the world is the president and owner of European cable provider Altice, Patrick Drahi. Drahi developed Altice through more than 20 acquisitions of slumping cable and mobile operators, and he has continued to grow through highly leveraged deals. Altice NV went private in January 2021, with a valuation of $7.3 billion. He stormed the US media market by founding Altice USA with brands such as AMS, Suddenlink, Optimum, News 12 Network, and Lightpath.

Altice USA's (NYSE: ATUS) revenue in 2020 came in at $9.9 billion. Shares of ATUS climbed 30.9% over the past twelve months.

13. Robin Li

Net worth: $12.4 billion Age: 52

Ranking 13 on the list of the 15 richest media owners in the world is Baidu's co-founder Robin Li. The Chinese billionaire is the CEO of China's biggest search engine site. Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) offers an algorithmic search engine platform and is one of the three largest internet companies in China and Alibaba and Tencent. As of March 2021, Baidu holds the largest share (75.5%) of the search engine market in China, compared to Google (2.34%).

The company's revenue in 2020 was $16.4 billion. Baidu Core's online marketing revenue was $10.16 billion, down 5% from the previous year. Shares of BIDU surged 117.7% over the past twelve months.

12. Forrest Li

Net worth: $13.5 billion Age: 43

One of Singapore's richest, Forrest Li, ranks 12th in our list of the 15 richest media owners in the world. Forrest Li is the founder of online gaming company Garena and Asia's online retail giant Shopee in 2017 that went public in 2017 as Sea Limited (NYSE: SE). The company is also engaged in e-payments and financial services via SeaMoney.

Sea Limited's revenue in 2020 increased 101% to $4.37 billion. CLSA analyst Marcus Liu upgraded Sea Ltd. (NYSE: SE) from Outperform to Buy on March 29, with a $275 price target. Shares of SE surged 422% over the past twelve months.

11. Donald Newhouse

Net worth: $15.8 billion Age: 91

Ranking 11th on the list of the 15 richest media owners in the world is American media company Advance Publications owner Donald Newhouse. The publishing and broadcasting empire was inherited by Donald Newhouse and his late brother, Samuel "Si." The billionaire also owns a substantial stake in multinational media company Discovery Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) and social networking and news site Reddit.

Discovery's revenue in 2020 was $10.7 billion, with advertisement revenues stable in the United States and distribution revenues up 5%. On April 7, Deutsche Bank maintained its buy recommendation on Discovery and raised its price target to $60. Shares of DISCA surged 83.6% over the past twelve months.

10. Rupert Murdoch

Net worth: $23.1 billion Age: 90

Murdoch is the owner of a media empire that includes Fox News, The Times of London, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal, making him one of the world's richest media owners. The Australian media tycoon inherited a newspaper from his father, a former war correspondent when he was 22 years old. In March 2019, Murdoch sold most of Fox's movie studio, FX and National Geographic Networks, and his share in Star India to Disney for $71.3 billion.

New York-based Fox Corporation (NASDAQ: FOX), consisting of broadcast, cable news, business, and sports networks, is operated by Murdoch's son, Lachlan Murdoch. The stock has gained 42% in the last twelve months.

9. David Thomson

Net worth: $43.3 billion Age: 63

Ranking 9th in our list of the 15 richest media owners in the world is Thomson Reuters Corporation's chairman, David Thomson. Canadian publishing and media conglomerate Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) is a leading provider of news and information to professional markets around the world. Thomson Reuters announced in 2018 that it would sell a majority interest in its financial data provider Refinitiv to New York-based investment firm Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) for $17 billion.

Thomson Reuter's revenue in 2020 came in at $5.98 billion. Shares of TRI increased 28.3% over the past twelve months.

8. Jack Ma

Net worth: $49.5 billion Age: 56

Serial entrepreneur and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NSYE: BABA) founder Jack Ma ranks 8th in our list of the 15 richest media owners in the world. Alibaba has acquired a robust media portfolio that includes print, television, digital, social media, and advertising properties over the years. Holdings in publicly traded firms include Chinese social media site Weibo Corp (NASDAQ: WB) and video platform Bilibili Inc (NASDAQ: BILI).

Weibo's revenue in 2020 came in at $1.69 billion, while Bilibili's fourth-quarter revenue was $588.5 million. Shares of WB increased 39% over the past twelve months. BILI stock has gained a whopping 274.8% in the last twelve months.

Alibaba, is BABA a good stock to buy, Taiwan, startups, investment,
Alibaba, is BABA a good stock to buy, Taiwan, startups, investment,

7. Ma Huateng

Net worth: $60.3 billion Age: 49

Tencent Holdings (OTC: TCEHY) founder and CEO Ma Huateng ranks 7th among the world's richest media owners. Tencent is in the business of online marketing and advertising, e-commerce, and mobile games publishing. The Chinese tech company also engages in fintech and cloud industries, making it the most prominent internet company in China with a market cap of $763.8 billion. WeChat, Tencent's most popular social networking app, has over one billion users. In December 2018, the company's music-streaming subsidiary, Tencent Music (NYSE: TME), went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Tencent Holdings produced $20.5 billion in sales, up 26% from the same period in 2019. Revenues from online games increased by 29% to $6 billion. Shares of TCEHY gained 55.5% in the last twelve months.

6. Carlos Slim Helu

Net worth: $66.2 billion Age: 81

Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico's richest man, ranks 6th on the list of the 15 richest media owners in the world. Helu owns a 17% stake in the American daily newspaper The New York Times (NYSE: NYT). Carlos Slim Helu and his family own America Movil (NYSE: AMX), the largest mobile telecom company in Latin America.

The New York Times' overall revenues fell 1.6% to $1.78 billion in 2020, down from $1.81 billion in 2019, owing to lower advertising sales yet its subscription revenue rose 10.3% to $1.20 billion. Shares of NYT jumped 49% over the past twelve months.

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Disclosure: None. 15 Richest Media Owners in the World is originally published at Insider Monkey.