Ranked: The world’s largest media companies in 2023


The Magic Kingdom has had a roller-coaster year in the middle of a political firestorm but posted strong enough results to remain in the top 100 of the Global 2000.

All figures in this article are in USD.

The return of a former CEO. A legal battle with the Florida government. The layoff of thousands of employees.

Despite Walt Disney Co.’s tumultuous year, the brand ranks No. 87 on the Global 2000—up seven spots from 2022—and is the second-largest media company for the second consecutive year.

Less than one year after leaving, Bob Iger made a surprise return to Disney in November, replacing Bob Chapek as CEO. Shortly before Chapek stepped down, he warned employees about coming cost cuts, which Iger has seen through. During Disney’s first-quarter earnings call, Iger announced plans to cut $5.5 billion of annual expenses and 7,000 jobs. A majority of the reductions, $3 billion, will come from content spending not related to sports, amid a reorganization that “will reestablish the direct link between content decisions and financial performance,” Iger said. The company is arranging into three divisions: Disney Entertainment, ESPN and ESPN+, and parks, experiences and products.

In another radical step, Disney’s board sued Florida Gov. Ron De Santis in May, claiming the Republican presidential candidate waged a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” in taking over the company’s self-governing theme park district after executives criticized the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Disney is also fighting competitors Comcast (No. 51), Netflix (No. 223), Warner Bros. Discovery (No. 559), Fox (No. 718) and Paramount (No. 856) for subscribers to its streaming services Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.

Forbes uses data from FactSet research to create its list of the largest public companies based on four data points: assets, market value, sales and profit. Market-value calculations are as of May 5, and include all common shares outstanding.

Though the fourth-largest media company, Netflix still reigns supreme by subscriber count— 232.5 million—and is pushing for more. The streaming giant launched a cheaper, ad-supported plan last year (Disney+ released its own version just one month later). And last month, the company began cracking down on users who share their accounts with people who live outside their households, something the brand claimed occurs in 100 million homes.

Along with its own cost-cutting crusade, Warner Bros. Discovery—the fifth largest media organization—launched its new streaming service, Max, in May, combining the libraries of HBO Max and Discovery+—though the latter will still continue to exist as a standalone service.

Behind Comcast and Disney is telecommunications company Charter Communications (No. 138) as the third-largest media company, PR brand Publicis Groupe SA (No. 617) as the sixth, ​​marketing company Omnicom Group (No. 708) as the seventh, Dish Network (No. 722) ninth and WPP tenth.

Here are more details on the top 10 media companies.

CompanyGlobal 2000 RankMarket ValueSalesProfitsAssets
Comcast Corporation51170455.11201085656259429
Walt Disney Company87183630.9840733320202124
Charter Communications13853557.6544754873144870
Warner Bros. Discovery55931323.0941358-8896130584
Publicis Groupe SA61719531.3614919.631284.29138312.14
Omnicom Group Inc70817906.4714322.11370.225237.6
DISH Network7223781.80416679.412303.23353738.12
WPP Plc76212039.4217772.99840.93634991.4
Dollar figures are in billions. Data is as of May 5, 2023. Source: Forbes, Factset

This article was first published on forbes.com

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