The world has gone digital, and with it, the media landscape has shifted drastically. The internet is home to hundreds of thousands of different blogs, websites and publications that all compete for your attention. But be warned: not all media providers are created equal.

In today’s article we will cover the world’s largest digital media companies. This is not a ranking of the largest digital media companies in terms of revenue, but rather a marker to help identify which companies are the biggest players in the world when it comes to controlling content.

To answer this question, we will first delve into what exactly makes up a media company. Next, we will go into how traditional media companies can become “digital” and evolve into something new. Then we will discuss which of these transformed companies provide the most popular forms of digital media: online news, online video, online radio and online television. Finally, we’ll look at some tips on how each company can maintain its relevance to its viewers as it undergoes this transformation.

What is a media company?

The dictionary defines a media company as “a business with the function of producing and distributing content, usually news or entertainment.”

There are many different types of media companies and industries, but we will only focus on three major types: traditional media companies, digital-only companies, and publishing companies. The reason for this is because these three categories of media companies are likely to be the most applicable based on the purpose of our article. Many traditional media companies already have a digital presence; however, digital-only firms have gone about creating their own original content for their online platforms. Finally, publishing companies are the least likely to produce their own content, but they still are a part of the media industry.

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Traditional Media Companies

These companies were founded in the age of print media and until recently, they continued to be known as that. They are large conglomerates with multibillion-dollar investments and well-established revenue streams. These companies produce content such as magazines, books, and newspapers—traditional forms of content that have been around for centuries. Today many traditional media companies have made a transition into becoming digital and some even refer to themselves as “digital” media companies.

Digital-Only Companies

These companies were founded with the intent of creating digital content. Their entire business is based around creating content and have little or no physical printing or distribution infrastructure. For this reason, these companies are also referred to as “pure-play” digital media companies. They can be either standalone businesses or parts of larger conglomerates. Examples of pure-play digital media companies include Vlogbrothers and CollegeHumor.

Publishing Companies

Publishing companies, unlike traditional and pure-play media companies, typically do not produce their own original content; rather they rely on other entities to provide the material for them to distribute. This can include print publishers who source articles from other authors or digital-only companies. For example, Gawker Media is a publishing company because it relies on other media companies to produce the content for their digital news site Gawker.com and other affiliated sites.

These so-called publishing companies are sometimes referred to as “aggregators” because they aggregate content from different sources and distribute it to their audiences in new mediums such as blogs, websites and mobile platforms.

Traditional Media Companies Going Digital

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This section will cover the most well-known traditional media brands that have already begun their transition into being purely digital or are struggling to grow their online presence in the face of rapidly growing pure-play digital media competitors.