Oxford's business sectors

Digital, Creative and Publishing

There are an estimated 22,000 people employed in digital related sectors in Oxfordshire. The larger companies in this sector include Sharp Laboratories of Europe, Oxford Instruments, Sophos and Nominet. There are around 3,000 creative and digital sector businesses in Oxfordshire generating some £1.4bn annually. Notable sub-sectors include cyber security, big data/high performance computing, digital publishing and the digital gaming industry. Of Oxford’s top 100 employers alone, there are 5 publishers and 3 media and or communications businesses.

Amongst the leading gaming companies in Oxford are Natural Motion and Rebellion. Natural Motion was founded as a spin-out from the University of Oxford receiving support from Isis Innovation. The company has recently been acquired by social network gaming company Zynga for $527m and now employs 300 people, of which 150 are based in Oxford. Rebellion is one of Europe’s largest independent game developers.

Oxford is the largest centre of publishing in the UK outside of London. The city houses more than 100 publishing businesses providing over 3,500 jobs.

There are a number of other significant firms working in both academic and mainstream publishing in a variety of sectors. Oxford University Press (employs 6,000 employees worldwide of which 1,800 are based in Oxford), the university’s official printer, is a global leader in academic and research publishing. Other significant firms include Pearson Education, Wiley, Blackwell Macmillan, Elsevier, Osprey Hart, Lion Hudson and the regional headquarters for Newsquest.

Reflecting the importance of this sector, Oxford Brookes University has developed a focus on publishing, housing the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies and has research expertise in digital gaming and testing of computer systems.