Google and Facebook Now Account for 20 Percent of Global Ad Revenue

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The two reached $79.4 billion and $26.9 billion, respectively, in 2016, while Comcast is third with $12.9 billion in ad revenue, according to an annual Zenith ranking.

Alphabet/Google has increased its lead as the world’s largest media owner, with three times more advertising revenue than Facebook, which now ranks No. 2, according to an annual ranking by media planning firm ZenithOptimedia.

In last year's ranking, Google had a 166 percent lead over then-nearest rival Walt Disney.

Alphabet/Google in 2016 reached $79.4 billion in ad revenue, up from $59.6 billion in 2015, followed by Facebook's $26.9 billion and Comcast with $12.9 billion, according to Zenith’s annual Top Thirty Global Media Owners study. Rounding out the top five are Chinese online giant Baidu and Walt Disney.

Google and Facebook together accounted for 20 percent, or $106.3 billion, of the estimated global advertising expenditures across all media of around $545 billion in 2016, up from 11 percent in 2012, according to Zenith. The two companies captured 64 percent of all the growth in global ad spending between 2012 and 2016, it said.

"Zenith’s new ranking demonstrates just how much the internet advertising platforms are setting the pace for global ad spend growth,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith.

Verizon is one of the rising stars in the ranking. "Verizon became a media owner in 2015 when it bought AOL, and if all goes according to plan will become a much larger one when it acquires Yahoo later this year," Zenith said. "Verizon takes 21st place in our current ranking; adding Yahoo to AOL would boost it to sixth."

The fastest-growing media owner between 2012 and 2016 was Twitter, which ranks 30th in the Zenith study, followed by Tencent and Facebook.

Most of the media owners in the ranking — 20 out of 30 — are based in the U.S., which has the world's biggest ad market. Zenith also said that U.S. companies "have invested the most in extending their reach abroad, and Silicon Valley innovation has powered the growth of internet advertising."

China and Germany each have three media owners in the ranking (Baidu, Tencent and CCTV for China, and Bertelsmann, ProSiebenSat.1 and Axel Springer for Germany). Four countries have one media owner each in the Zenith ranking. They are France (JCDecaux), Brazil (Grupo Globo), Italy (Mediaset) and the U.K. (ITV).

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