COMM 209: Communication and Media Economics: Company Research

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The first question to ask when conducting company research is whether the company is privately owned or publicly traded. Public companies are required by the government to report many aspects of their business, financial health, and management. Private companies are not required to do this, so research takes a bit more time and can involve valuation, projection or forecasting based on publicly available information.

Regardless, see below for the databases that are most likely to help you research either type of company.

Company Research

The following Databases are a good place to start when looking for company information

See this Business Research Guide for a list of databases commonly used for company research. 

For public companies, these profiles will provide information on the following:

  • Executives
  • Quarterly Financials
  • History
  • Business
  • Segments
  • Competitors
  • Subsidiaries

You can try searching these databases for private companies, in addition to using our standard source, Privco.  Privco searches business journals, trade publications, and credible news sources to then model their artificial intelligence algorithms to uncover revenues, employee counts, valuations, growth, and deals.  For this reason private company reports do not look like those you will find for public companies, and you may need to do additional digging to find data and information.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats, and is a framework used to evaluate a company's competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential. (Source: Investopedia)

A good source for SWOT from among USC's databases is Orbis. Once you find your (public) company profile, go to the Research tab at the left navigation column and do a Ctrl+F for 'Globaldata', a source for SWOT analysis. Then click on the SWOT page in the Table of Contents (see below for an example).  Keep in mind that not every company will have a SWOT, especially if it is very new, or it may not be current, as is the case with very old companies that are well-established.

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