Google, Facebook Take Lead in Ads, Leave TV and Newspapers Behind

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The numbers are in, and they don't lie: Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) are taking more of the media world's advertising sales, making life increasingly difficult for television owners and newspaper publishers.

Google not only is the world's biggest media company, it's leaving everyone else in the dust. In terms of revenue, the search engine giant is now 136% bigger than its nearest competitor, Walt Disney (DIS), owner of ESPN and Marvel Studios.

And if that isn't enough to make a TV executive cry, it's bigger than a combined Disney and Comcast (CMCSA), owner of Universal Studios and NBC, according to a report from ZenithOptimedia that ranks companies by revenue from businesses that support advertising.

Google's ascendancy is due in part to the proliferation of smartphone and tablets, which rely on the company's search engine to feed mobile consumers the information they need to make purchases large and small, said the ZenithOptimedia report published on Monday. Using information about location and preference, Google is able to target consumers with relevant display ads.

But while Google extended its lead over Disney during 2014, Facebook made the biggest leap, growing its mobile revenue by 63%. Facebook's ascendancy to the world's tenth-largest media company, according to ZenithOptimedia, is similarly based on the ever-widening usage of mobile technology devices, and the company's success at getting users to repeatedly visit its Web site throughout the day.

Reflecting the increasing presence of mobile devices in China, the second-fastest growing media company was Baidu  (BIDU) the Chinese-langauge search engine that jumped 43% in size last year to the 14th position on the ZenithOptimedia list. That's higher than either Yahoo! (YHOO) or Microsoft (MSFT).

While advertisers are putting more of their money into digital platforms, that spending is also becoming increasingly concentrated. Google, Facebook, Baidu, Yahoo and Microsoft accounted for 68% of all digital ad spending last year, an increase from 67% during the prior year.

Just as the four broadcast television stations dominated TV for decades, a handful of Internet sites are doing that on the Web. For the foreseeable future, Google remains the world's biggest media company, and there doesn't seem to be anything that any television, movie, theme park or Internet provider can do about it.

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