Bloomberg's Edmund Lee took a look at Apple's iTunes in an online post today, and notes that Apple's media business is huge -- in fact, it's bigger than "most major media companies."
How big is that? Well, if you take the iTunes Music and App stores together, they make more than the New York Times, publisher Simon & Schuster, Warner Bros. film studios, and Time Inc. combined. In fiscal year 2012, Apple pulled in $8.5 billion in revenue from its media stores, while the combined revenue for all of those "media giants" was only $8.3 billion.
While iTunes pales in comparison to the likes of News Corp. ($33.88 billion in sales in Apple's fiscal year) and Disney ($42.28 billion), it is growing faster than the bigger media companies with a growth rate of about 35 percent annually. It's expected that iTunes will eclipse Viacom Inc. by 2014.
The largest part of Apple's media influence comes not from the sales of music and apps, but from the 435 million iTunes accounts stored in its databases. According to Talal Khan of Credit Suisse Group AG, "that's what gives Apple the power to come into media companies and ask for terms."