The Independent 21 April 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on Bill O’Reilly departure from Fox News. Claire said that she was sure the decision to dump the right-wing presenter was influenced by UK regulator Ofcom being poised to rule on whether Mr Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan would be ‘fit and proper’ owners of the satellite broadcaster. Claire added that “Keeping Bill O’Reilly, would have meant a festering scandal and questions about why the management of Fox wasn’t taking action against him. It will reflect well on James Murdoch and the management of 21st Century Fox that they have taken action as soon as possible.”
Variety 20 April 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the scandal of Bill O’Reilly which could affect Murdoch’s quest to expand his presence on the European broadcasting scene. In Britain, where James Murdoch has already been faulted by the government for past “failures of corporate governance,” regulators are now wrestling with whether 21st Century Fox would be a “fit and proper” owner of Sky, the pan-European broadcaster that Fox is trying to take over and the Murdoch’s have long coveted. According to some analysts, the agency is limited in what it looks at, and while it does take into account any criminal investigations, the mere fact of sexual harassment lawsuits and settlements at a company is no way disqualifying. Otherwise, Claire said “not one broadcaster would pass the ‘fit and proper’ test. He has seemed in the past to give the top priority to loyalty and ties of employment over corporate governance,” Claire said of the elder Murdoch. But “when things get serious enough, they’ll be weighing how it looks for their business as a whole.”
Financial Times 19 April 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the luxury magazines market, which is starting to see a shift in readers and advertisers to online social media platforms. UK circulation for women’s fashion and lifestyle magazines fell by 5 per cent year on year in 2016, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation. But for many of these magazines, the loss of readers is of less concern than the shifting advertising market, where they have traditionally earned most of their revenues and profits. Douglas said “It is absolutely true that advertising at the luxury end of the market has held up much better than advertising as a whole. However, it is also true that publishers of those magazines will be nervous that some of the transition that has taken place in other parts of the ad market from print to digital could happen at the luxury end as well.”
CNN 12 April 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the Rupert's Murdoch bid for Sky. Five years ago, the problem was the outrage over phone hacking at Murdoch newspapers. Now, with a second takeover bid underway, accusations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse by Fox News star Bill O'Reilly are threatening to deny Murdoch his prize once again. Alice said accusations of sexual harassment at Fox are unlikely to sink the Sky deal. But Ofcom will examine whether Fox executives erred in not telling investors about the claims. She added "the test is there to make sure that a person who is a criminal doesn't get to run a broadcaster in the U.K. In this case, the focus would be on the failure to disclose the sexual harassment settlements to shareholders, rather than the sexual harassment itself."
Financial Times 12 April 2017
Francois Godard was quoted in an article on the Vivendi CEO tops list for a new Telecom Italia board. Vivendi has named its chief executive at the top of a list of proposed directors at Telecom Italia, in a move that appears aimed at replacing TI’s current chairman, Giuseppe Recchi. Francois said “it opens the door to have de Puyfontaine as Telecom Italia’s chairman without explicitly saying so”.
Financial Times 12 April 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on The Telegraph, who seems to have find a way to profits in an age of digital disruption. The news industry is being upended by plunging revenues from print advertising and the migration of digital advertising. Nevertheless, in 2015, the Telegraph Media Group made a £48m pre-tax profit on a turnover of £320m, a slight improvement on the £46m it made in 2014. Douglas said the change to a paywall was significant. “The switch positions the Telegraph differently — both internally with its journalists and externally with its readers and its advertisers. The value of the content and the act of developing it — and of being associated with it — are all being clearly underlined.”
The Times 10 April 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on The Guardian’s decision to contemplate returning to its Manchester roots as business rates for their London headquarters rise 50 per cent. The revaluation that came into effect this month has resulted in a 73 per cent increase in the value of the newspaper’s property assessment which is used to calculate the new rates, experts say. Furthermore, the paper is reeling from the loss of print advertising which is having a big impact across the sector. Despite efforts to bring in extra revenue through tiered membership and donations, Ms Viner is also aggressively cost-cutting via redundancies, reduced printing costs and cheaper real estate. Douglas said “David Pemsel [now chief executive] and Kath Viner are addressing the challenges of their model with a forcefulness and roundedness that has not always been possible”, but, he said the paper would have to go through “a good deal more change” to make it truly sustainable.
The Wall Street Journal 10 April 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the approval of the EU antitrust regulator over the 21st Century Fox bid to buy Sky. However, several regulatory hurdles remain ahead of the deal, as Mr. Murdoch tries a second time to consolidate ownership of Sky. In fact, the UK regulator, Ofcom, is also is determining whether Fox qualifies as a “fit and proper” owner of a British TV license. On this regard, Claire said that she believed Ofcom wouldn’t likely consider events at Fox News related to corporate culture, but rather focus on any proven criminal misconduct.
Financial Times 10 April 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the decision of the European Commission to unconditionally approve the £11.7bn takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox - saying it would raise no competition concerns in Europe. Claire said that the European clearance proved as straightforward as had been expected, adding that, “the issues are much more in the UK. This is another little hurdle cleared, but not much compared to the challenges ahead”.
Financial Times 6 April 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on a federal probe into Fox News - controlled by the Murdoch’s family - which could undermine their latest offer for Sky. The federal investigation into potential misconduct in the US is gathering steam just as British regulators are deciding whether 21st Century Fox would be a “fit and proper” owner of Sky — six years after the Murdoch’s abandoned their first attempt to buy the European broadcaster amid the phone-hacking scandal. It is not clear whether the US investigation of Fox News would fall into the scope of the fit and proper person test, although Ofcom’s guidelines are sufficiently wide to allow it to consider foreign investigations. Claire said the investigation “may weigh negatively” on Ofcom’s deliberations, adding that “it doesn’t look that great from the outside if federal prosecutors are pursuing things”.
Les Echos 4 April 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Spotify, the music streaming, who has finally managed to renew its agreement with Universal Music Group. The license agreement is a step that is all the more crucial for Spotify as Alice said "the other labels - Sony, Warner, but also the independent - were waiting for the leader to have concluded this negotiation”. After having been devastated by piracy, music labels were tempted to put pressure on streaming sites, in full take-off, to increase their share of the cake beyond 70%”. She added that "the record majors have no interest in weakening Spotify, otherwise they would only face Gafa like Apple, and we remember their grievances when they were too dependent on iTunes, The leader of download music. That does not stop them from wanting to push the paid streaming”.
The Drum 31 March 2017
Joseph Evans was quoted in an article on Samsung’s marketing strategy. Samsung will launch next month its most important phone to date, the Galaxy S8, as it looks to move consumer’s minds away from the widely-reported debacle of the Note 7, towards a plethora of new features it hopes will propel the brand to become the king of the smartphones. Joseph said "Samsung is making all the right noises by emphasising the safety checks the phones have gone through. The competitive environment it's launching into is also helpful. Most Android handsets this year have been pretty generic, but the S8 stands out, taking the small bezel trend to its logical conclusion months before Apple is likely to. This will outweigh the brand damage from the Note 7 fiasco". He added that "the one area of concern is that this phone has to be totally scandal-free, or Samsung's ability to paint it as a one-off will evaporate. People will be looking hard for any flaws, and any mass product is susceptible to unforeseen issues."
Marketing Week 29 March 2017
Matti Littunen was quoted in an article on Google and the advertiser boycott that the company is facing. A growing number of global brands have pulled their advertising campaigns from YouTube over the past week after finding their ads had appeared next to extremist content. Google, which owns YouTube, has vowed to tackle the issue by working on toughening up its policies, making its advertiser controls easier to use, and hiring more staff to police content deemed unsafe by advertisers. However, as this illustrative chart* shows, at least some of the blame for such ad misplacement falls on the ad buyers themselves. As a result, Google is taking steps to mitigate the issue, and it already offers a premium service, ‘Google Preferred’, that allows advertisers to pay more to have their ads run alongside the most popular videos. According to our (Enders Analysis) report, this has a much higher guarantee of brand safety, but also costs more. Because most advertisers want cheap reach they buy via exchanges that have a much lower guarantee of brand safety. Matti says while the below* is “illustrative” is how the hierarchy of online video purchase channels when it comes to cost and exposure to brand risk. He explains: “the basic idea of ‘you get what you pay for’ in programmatic video advertising, either in media costs or agency planning and service fees (or both, depending on the type of media), is something we believe that many advertisers have yet to fully incorporate into their strategy for media buying.”
Financial Times 28 March 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the discarded plan to privatise Channel 4. However, the UK government has stepped up the pressure for Channel 4 to move part or all of its operations from London. Ministers have been considering whether to force the public service broadcaster to move to another major UK city, such as Birmingham or Leeds. Claire said “it’s a great relief that the government has realised that Channel 4 is sustainable long term and provides a valuable public service. With a licence to 2024 and soft advertising ahead, privatisation would have been difficult and very controversial.”
Broadcast 28 March 2017
Julian Aquilina was quoted in an article on the consumption of SVoD services which, according to his report, will double from a low base over the next decade - but live viewing is expected to prove resilient. In fact, in the “Video Viewing Forecasts to 2026” report, Julian predicts that the amount of live TV viewed per person per day fall will be just 10% from the current 173-minutes a day to 155-minutes in ten years’ time. Julian said “one might think that we are suddenly painting a future in which everyone will be glued to their smartphones as they go about their lives, but it is critical to bear in mind the reasons why we watch television in the first place, the fact is, people continue to enjoy TV content very much, and more high-quality programmes – especially scripted drama – are being produced than ever before.” He added that the linear schedule will continue to “retain a hold” over audiences, particularly for big events, live shows and sport.
Digiday 28 March 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on The Spectator’s subscriptions strategy. This January, the magazine introduced new paywall software that gives more granular insight into what subscribers are reading so it can develop how it gets people to register for free and then convert to paying subscribers, as well as refine the experience for existing subscribers. Furthermore, The Spectator, who has been running podcasts for four years, is now planning to use its new subscriptions-management software Evalok to explore how to convert podcast listeners to paying subscribers of the magazine. Douglas said “we are now well past the idea that it is impossible to charge for content online”, and British weekly and fortnightly magazines are performing particularly well. He added “their mixture of news analysis, features and cultural commentary delivered weekly or fortnightly feels a potent counterweight to the always-on information tsunami from digital media”.
The Times 28 March 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Brexit and the consequences for British firms. In particular, Alice focused on TV and film producers, which could be among the big losers if Britain leaves the European Union without a free trade deal. The impact would reverberate far beyond the creative sphere. Overseas sales of movies and TV shows, along with other creative work, brought in £13.9bn in 2015, accounting for 9% of non-financial services exports that year. A large chunk of that income would be cast into doubt by a hard Brexit. Under the current system, European broadcasters are obliged to buy 50% of their programmes from EU-based producers. Alice said “the quota system has been very valuable to Britain’s TV production industry”. Adding that “exports are becoming more important due to pressures on the licence fee and the budgets of commercial free-to-air broadcasters.”
Financial Times 23 March 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on François Fillon’s claim of being the victim of a “media lynching” and told reporters he had faced “a press campaign of unheard-of violence”. His criticism chimes with that of his chief opponent National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who also sees bias in the mainstream media’s coverage of her. Mr Fillon and Ms Le Pen’s combative tone reflects heightened tensions between France’s politicians and the country’s media, which have traditionally enjoyed a cosy, conciliatory and even incestuous relationship. Claire said “French politicians feel that the country’s press has become more demanding, journalists were more deferential before and they could be restrained. There was an established pact between the government and the media, which has broken down.”
Les Echos 23 March 2017
Caspar Stewart was quoted in an article on the BBC documentary “Planet Earth II”, which has demonstrated its leadership in this type of programming but now Netflix would like to compete. Caspar was quoted as saying "Planet Earth II probably broke BBC records for this type of program". Nevertheless, it is true that the British public media is one of the few that can afford to invest in this field. The shooting of "Planet Earth II" took over three years in 40 countries, and it is estimated that each episode cost about 4 million pounds, compared with 1 to 1.5 million usually for this type of program. Caspar added that "given this success, a purely private operator would almost certainly cover its costs with an advertising model within its own country and through selling the rights to broadcast internationally. But that would be quite risky and challenging for a broadcaster without decades of experience".
Reuters 22 March 2017
Matti Littunen was quoted in an article on ad-blocking tools, which has launched a prolonged debate in the advertising industry. In fact, a broad coalition of advertising trade groups, ad buyers and sellers from Western Europe and the United States have urged the industry to stop using annoying online marketing formats that have fuelled the rapid rise of ad-blockers. Matti said the ad formats identified by the coalition "have already been discouraged for years by these bodies and yet are still commonplace”. Facebook, the second largest advertising platform after Google, warned in 2015 that ad-blockers were crimping its revenue. It has responded by severely curtailing unpopular ad formats while implementing technology to make ads on its site tamper proof, by in effect blocking the ad-blockers. Still, Matti questions whether the measures go far enough. Adding that "some reasons for ad blocking are not addressed by this, most notably long load times (due to poorly optimized ad content or excessive server calls by third party tracking software) and the lack of easy consumer control over how their data is collected, profiled, and used for ad targeting online".