The market analyzed in the report includes two major industries: Digital publishing, which includes companies that electronically carry content (such as magazines, ebooks, reports, etc.) and content streaming, which includes companies that offer subscription services, especially for video streaming (though the content can vary).
The wide-ranging market was valued at $79.85 billion in 2020, according to the report, but grew to $92.42 billion in 2021. Despite the impact from the COVID-19 shutdown, the market still expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 15.7% over the year, a significant number.
A broad range of businesses dominate this vast market, including US-based companies Adobe, Google Play, Xerox, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify; German-based publishing company Holtzbrinck Publishing Group; and UK-based information and analytics company REL X.
Though the industry was overall hindered by the pandemic, many of these businesses reported relatively successful years as stay-at-home orders kept many inside more than usual. For example, Netflix surpassed 200 million subscribers after gaining many during the pandemic. The company said it has the expectation to soon become free cash flow positive without the need to raise external financing for daily operations. Meanwhile, Adobe achieved a record annual revenue of $12.87 billion in the 2020 fiscal year, reporting 15% year-over-year growth. The company reported annual GAAP diluted earnings per share of $10.83 and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $10.10.
With a more difficult year behind it, the global digital publishing and content streaming market is expected to grow at a compound rate of 8% over the next four years. This will land it at $124.1 billion in value by 2025, according to the report, an over 55% increase since the start of the pandemic.
This growth is mainly expected to be driven by companies rearranging their operations and recovering from COVID-19, the report says. However, innovation in the North American market (which accounted for 23% of the global market in 2020) is also predicted to contribute to the expansion.
There will also be growth from content streaming providers offering low-priced subscription services, particularly for video streaming, in emerging countries, like Brazil, India, and some African countries. Netflix, for example, offers its monthly basic plan starting at ₹499 ($6.87) in India and R$19.90 ($4.13) in Brazil, versus $7.99 in the US. A streaming subscription with Amazon Prime Video costs $119 a year in the US and only ₹999 ($13.75) in India.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges for many companies in the digital publishing and content streaming market, the industry ultimately saw growth and benefited from a mass migration online. Though at a slower pace, the market is expected to continue growing and reach a significantly higher value over the next few years. There is ample room for opportunity and innovation for both major players and entrepreneurs hoping to enter the growing market.
About the Author
Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.