Financial Performance Scorecard, Full Year 2003: Returning To More Familiar And Favorable Patterns
2003 felt like a much better year than the last two for the Information Content (IC) Industry, and it was. For the full year, revenue for the overall Outsell 100 Company Monitor(SM) grew a solid 6.1 percent, almost double the 3.2 percent growth in full year 2002. Leading the Top Ten rankings were FindWhat.com, Corporate Executive Board, Apollo Group, Yahoo!, and Bankrate.com. The Outsell 100(SM) companies also ended the year on an upward trend. Strong fourth quarter revenue growth of 8 percent over fourth quarter 2002 was the highest single-quarter increase since the roaring double-digit quarters of 2000. The fourth quarter was also the seventh straight quarter of revenue growth in the IC Industry recovery that began in the second quarter of 2002. Acquisitions provided 26 percent of the rise, a moderate level that we expect to increase in 2004 and 2005. This Briefing analyzes many of the trends behind the winning performances of the Top Ten companies, including: the continued domination of Internet search companies and pure Internet companies; an explosion in partnerships; and the strength of the financial information, individual training, and market research sectors. On the losing side, the Bottom Ten illustrate the perils of commoditization, the corporate training sector, and overextension through acquisitions. The Briefing analyzes full year performance by sector and ranks winners and losers by revenue, margins, and operating income. For commercial content vendors, it provides extensive benchmarks for evaluating their own operations. For the investment community, this Briefing provides a check on the overall health of the industry and 100 top companies.