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Women at Work 2018

To celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March 2018 in the centenary of the partial suffrage, Women at Work 2018 promotes the goals of professional women in the UK 

Public Policy

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Brexit risks for the creative industries

Trade policy path to Brexit for the UK

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  • 21st Century Fox
  • Comcast
  • Walt Disney
  • Media
  • TV

Recruiting 29 million subscribers in twelve weeks, Disney+ has stormed the US market. Furthermore, the two million gain achieved after the holidays and the completion of The Mandalorian, relatively high ARPU, and rising Hulu and ESPN+ subscriptions bode well

Conversely, booming (but expected) losses of direct-to-consumer platforms—due to increase as Disney+ launches in Europe in March—are undermining group profitability

But, with a total of 64 million direct subscribers Disney can now claim a size and momentum that puts it in the league of the pure digital platforms—crucially backing its stock market narrative

  • Vodafone
  • Telecoms

Vodafone’s revenue performance remains decidedly lacklustre. Italy and Spain are struggling to bounce back, Germany is still languishing, and the UK’s 0.6% service revenue growth is the highlight of the quarter

Liberty Global’s assets are disappointing both in terms of opening financials (revenues and EBITDA 8% and 12% lower than expected respectively) and outlook (now growing at half the rate at the time of deal announcement and guidance for Germany as a whole to be ‘flattish’)

Vodafone’s guidance for a pickup in revenue growth to more than 1% in Q4 is encouraging but these are very tentative steps forward in challenging times

  • TalkTalk
  • Media
  • Telecoms

TalkTalk’s subscriber base and revenue fell again in Q3, and ARPU continued to decline despite good growth in its higher ARPU (but even higher wholesale cost) high speed base

The sale of FibreNation to CityFibre and the accompanying wholesale deal provides much needed cash and de-risking, although the migration to full fibre still brings challenges to TalkTalk given its low price focus

TalkTalk’s shorter term operational outlook is also still very challenging, with growing EBITDA in 2020/21 particularly difficult given stable/declining ARPU and the rising wholesale costs of migrating to high speed broadband

  • Canal Plus
  • NBCUniversal International
  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky Italia
  • Media
  • Telecoms

Despite operating in a challenging market, Sky has continued to increase revenues, with the resilient performance of its direct-to-consumer and content businesses offsetting the disappointing drop in advertising income

Across FY 2019, EBITDA was up 12.2%; profit growth driven by a significant reduction in “other” costs as large one-off effects disappear and cost-cutting continues

Extended distribution deals with Netflix and WarnerMedia will protect Sky’s content proposition for the coming future, as would the mooted integration of Disney+

  • BT
  • EE
  • Openreach
  • Media
  • Telecoms

BT had a weak December quarter, with revenue falling 3% and EBITDA 4%, despite a recovery at Openreach, mainly driven by tough competition and regulatory hits, with operating metrics solid but not noticeably improving

These hits look set to continue, so the company’s hopes of a return to EBITDA growth in 2020/21 probably hinge on brand and service improvements actually becoming visible in operating performance

A successful full fibre roll-out would be a boon for BT in the longer term, and regulatory developments are headed in the right direction, if not quite there yet. However, its affordability without a dividend cut remains questionable in the current challenging environment

 

  • BBC
  • BT
  • Netflix
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
  • Media
  • Telecoms

The Government appears set on reducing the scale and scope of the BBC by dismantling the licence fee, and in its place pushing for subscription or making payment voluntary, without any evidence of the likely impact

DTT – the UK’s largest TV platform – has no conditional access capability, and so implementation would require another costly and long-term switchover

A voluntary licence fee would inevitably lead to a huge reduction in income. If just those on income-related benefits were not to pay, the shortfall would be over £500 million – in addition to the £250 million the BBC will be funding for over-75s receiving Pension Credit