Variety 21 September 2017
François Godard was quoted in an article on HBO España, which has commissioned Alea Media to develop an original adaption of Fernando Aramburu’s bestselling novel “Patria”. Confirmation of the project comes after months of speculation over HBO’s Spanish production plans. Last November, HBO España launched a standalone streaming service in Spain and hired Miguel Salvat, a highly respected former director of content at Canal Plus and of premium channels at Movistar, as its commissioning editor of original programming. Francois said that HBO España’s production strategy is likely to be similar to that of HBO in the U.S. – namely, to “deliver limited, high-selective and unique content, the best of which may turn out to be iconic to its brand”.
BBC 20 September 2017
Joseph Evans was quoted in an article on YouTube announcement to end paid channels service. The facility let people pay a monthly fee to access individual YouTube channels from providers such as National Geographic and Sesame Street. However, the service was not popular with viewers and will end in December. Joseph said "they haven't seen the take-up they wanted, it's somewhat surprising when you look at what the other giants are doing. Amazon is pushing a modular 'subscribe to one channel at a time' service, having started with its all-you-can-eat package. With the sort of content people expect on YouTube, the sponsorship model does make more sense. Joseph added "but YouTubers may be wary of giving Google control of their video distribution and sponsorship money".
The Economist 15 September 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on Trinity Mirror, which owns the Daily and Sunday Mirror, announcement that it was in talks to buy the papers belonging to the Northern & Shell group, comprising the Daily Express, Daily Star and their Sunday sister titles. The two groups have been in on-off talks for two years. The sale would mark the biggest upheaval in the newspaper market for a decade, and the latest consolidation in a shrinking industry. Northern & Shell’s owner, Richard Desmond, a flamboyant former porn-baron who plays drums in a band with Roger Daltrey of The Who, bought the newspaper titles in 2000 (except the Daily Star Sunday, which he launched two years later). The Daily Express has lost about two-thirds of its readers since Mr Desmond bought it, as has the Sunday Express; the Daily Star has held up a bit better. Douglas believes that Mr Desmond has decided that in a declining market he has made as much money out of the papers as he can.
Financial Times 13 September 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the UK Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, concerns over corporate governance failures at Rupert Murdoch's Fox, and lack of procedures of broadcast compliance for Fox News in the UK. Recent scandals at Fox News are threatening to derail Rupert Murdoch’s proposed £11.7bn takeover of European pay-TV group Sky after the UK government signalled that it was likely to widen an investigation by regulators into the deal. In a significant shift, the culture secretary said she was now likely to refer the bid to the Competition and Markets Authority on whether 21st Century Fox’s acquisition of Sky shares it does not own would comply with UK broadcasting standards. Her shift in position, which followed intensive campaigning from anti-Murdoch groups and a cross-party group of MPs, also overruled a recommendation from the UK media regulator Ofcom, prompting some analysts to question whether the move was politically motivated. Claire said “this was a political decision. It’s very peculiar to override Ofcom despite no change to their advice”.
Financial Times 13 September 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the announcement by Karen Bradley, the UK culture secretary, on the Sky/Fox bid. Ms Bradley said that she was minded to widen a referral to regulators about the £11.7bn deal, to include scrutiny of corporate governance controls at Fox News. Ms Bradley raised new concerns about the transaction, overruling a recommendation from Ofcom, the media watchdog, that regulators consider only the deal’s impact on the UK media market. Claire said “Ofcom hasn’t changed its mind. “There is no new news, but the secretary of state has decided to go for the safest option to protect her from a judicial review. This shows the government just needs a quiet time”.
Bloomberg 12 September 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the Fox’s Sky bid. Today in parliament, the UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said she is minded to refer 21st Century Fox’s bid to seize full control of Sky to the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct a months-long investigation into Fox’s commitment to broadcasting standards, in addition to the widely expected review over whether the deal would give the Murdoch’s too much influence over U.K. media. The scope of the planned CMA referral surprised investors, given Bradley had initially said she was inclined to confine the review to questions of media-influence. Alice said “the direction of the political winds in the U.K. are less favourable every day with Labour rising. Who knows what the climate will be like by the time the CMA reports in April 2018 if not June 2018”.
Financial Times 12 September 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the Express, once the best-selling newspaper in the world, which could be heading for new ownership. On Friday, Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily and Sunday Mirror, as well as 150 local UK titles, said it was in exclusive talks to acquire the Express and Star newspapers, along with the magazine assets owned by Mr Desmond’s parent company, Northern and Shell. Although both sides stressed that a deal is still some way off, Trinity’s renewed interest — the two sides tried but failed to clinch a deal back in 2015 — presents Mr Desmond, 65, with the opportunity to bail out of the rapidly shrinking newspaper business. Throughout Mr Desmond’s time in charge, the Express group has posted healthy profits. But during his ownership, the daily newspaper has been eclipsed by rival the Daily Mail, with circulation falling from more than 1m at the time of Mr Desmond’s takeover in 2000, to just below 400,000 today. Douglas said “every publisher has had to make cuts over the past few years. But the Express group has been more ruthless than most”.
the Guardian 11 September 2017
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on last Saturday’s launch of the X Factor, which had the lowest ratings for a debut episode since it first aired in 2004. Tom said “contest formats have had remarkable longevity, and it’s natural that they’re going to tail off. I wouldn’t say it’s a tired format, but it is becoming less interesting. Audiences had become overexposed to such shows”. He added “there’s so many variations of the same theme, and there’s probably the feeling that a lot of the talent has already been mined. There’s only so many ‘we found a person who can sing who we didn’t think could sing’ stories you can have”. Tom said there had been some noticeable failures in the genre recently, for example, Gary Barlow’s Let it Shine, which the BBC canned after just one season. “It becomes saturated. There’s a hit and then everybody commissions stuff which is almost identical, and it reaches a tipping point. He continues “what we call appointment viewing – what people sit down to watch – has moved on to shows like Bake Off and others outside of the musical space”.
The Times 6 September 2017
Matti Littunen was quoted in an article on the growing numbers of people using mobile devices to access social media or watch films and popular television boxed sets. Accordingly, Enders Analysis research published yesterday showed that for the first time more than half of the total number of minutes spent online by Britons is via mobile devices, with more than 36 million people spending an average of two hours accessing the internet on their phones or tablets every day. Matti said that bigger screens, the availability of faster and better connections and the rising popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime were helping to drive higher levels of smartphone use. He added that the rising level of smartphone penetration was being driven further by “changing attitudes” towards banking, ecommerce and dealing with local government. Increasingly, this was encouraging people to perform everyday tasks online that previously they would have done manually. “It’s only logical that for people who don’t need a big screen, they will gradually shift towards mobile only”.
The Drum 4 September 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on News UK, which has launched a startup incubator to unearth new sources of revenue. The News UK startup Lab will take up to six small companies and host them in a month-long incubator programme starting in October. Douglas suggested that at a time when news businesses are structurally challenged with revenues certain to decline, tangential innovations are "essential", and that a startup incubator removed from the core business "strikes the right balance of business opportunity and capital risk". He added, "Publishers also have limited experience of rapid innovation, so an in-house unit would not be the right way to approach it. In any case there is also already too much pressure on the cost base of news operations, and risks being a management distraction. We will see more of these structures in the future".
Digiday 1 September 2017
Alice Pickthall was quoted in an article on Condé Nast’s Ars Technica struggles in UK expansion. The magazine publisher, which debuted the technology-focused site in the U.K. two years ago, has all but ceased its U.K. operations. Launching a digital-only media brand is tough, and Condé Nast Britain isn’t the only publisher to find that brands successful in their original markets — like Ars Technica in the U.S. — aren’t guaranteed longevity in foreign markets. Alice said “Ars Technica is online-only in an increasingly challenging digital marketplace for magazine brands. Condé Nast may seek to reshuffle investment toward their stronger consumer brands, such as Wired, which is a similar proposition”.
The Hollywood Reporter 30 August 2017
Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on 21st Century Fox decision to stop airing Fox News in the UK. Toby said "timing of the announcement is, of course, the interesting feature”, highlighting that Fox, of course, said the decision to end the U.K. feed of Fox News was purely a business decision. He added "however much 21st Century Fox (or the Murdochs) may play down the issue and insist the decision has nothing to do with the takeover bid, friends, the detached and critics alike cannot but make the connection. But the decision does make sense from a commercial perspective”. Asked what it means for the Sky deal, Toby says "It cannot harm the bid - indeed, [it] may help a little – from the regulatory perspective regarding the question of broadcasting standards; though I cannot see it affecting the plurality issue and related competition concerns".
Bloomberg 30 August 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on 21st Century Fox decision to drop the feed of its US news channel, Fox News, from the Sky satellite platform. Fox said that it was pulling the network because of its small audience in a move that could also help address the government’s concerns about its 11.7 billion-pound ($15.1 billion) acquisition of Sky Plc, Britain’s largest pay-TV provider. Claire said “it’s an improvement for the bid, for sure. I don’t find it remotely surprising as a commercial decision”.
Bloomberg 24 August 2017
Julian Aquilina was quoted in an article on the English Football Leagues broadcasting rights; specifically the need for the EFL to negotiate a better deal with Sky Plc and Channel Five. “Sky will want to retain as many football rights as it can while it pulls back in other sports such as tennis" said Julian Aquilina, a television analyst at Enders Analysis. “Even though the EFL does not attract the same interest as the Premier League, there are plenty of people who live in towns without a Premier League club who would subscribe to watch their team on television."
Marketing Week 23 August 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on how magazines can still play an important role in many brands’ media mix, and advertisers and publishers are finding new ways of working together. Douglas believes this shift is due to a sentiment change among advertisers across all sectors, who prefer “shinier” digital platforms. Digital ad spend grew 13.4% in 2016 to £10.3bn. “In digital, magazines have no particular advantage like they have in print. This is also a manifestation of a very broad shift to more short-termist marketing. The point of a lot of magazine advertising is that it’s highly visual, brand marketing, whereas what’s replacing that spend is direct response advertising online,” he says.
the Guardian 14 August 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the Fox/Sky deal. Last week, culture secretary Karen Bradley again postponed calling in the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to scrutinise the deal, asking media regulator Ofcom to further examine the Murdoch’s and their adherence to broadcasting standards. Bradley has said she intends to call in the competition regulator to scrutinise media plurality issues (as the deal would see the Murdoch’s controlling UK assets ranging from Sky News to the Sun and Times newspapers), but has not made up her mind about whether to ask it to also look at broadcasting standards issues.
Alice said that Fox will not be overly concerned at the latest extension. Bradley is widely expected to leave the decision until after parliament returns from summer recess on 5 September. She added “Fox will … feel the CMA will give a fairer, depoliticised hearing. For Bradley it is about additional legal cover. She is taking very seriously the threat of a judicial review. She is being risk-averse, and the political environment [with no Tory majority] is unfavourable. She is being cautious”.
The Drum 10 August 2017
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on Walt Disney’s plans to end their current deal with Netflix. Tom said "This isn't surprising, Disney has experimented with a standalone service in the UK (which appears to be struggling with less than 100k subs) and in China (which was pulled by the regulators after less than five months) and are making further investment into streaming provider BAM Tech. As one of the world's most-loved brands it will certainly think that it can go alone. The longer it waits the harder it will be to crack a US market that is in the tail-end of nascency. The last couple of years have seen content providers and content producers becoming increasingly wary of Netflix, with sentiments that deals do not adequately reward successful shows or that Netflix has used their acquired content to climb to ascendency, at the expense of their own platforms/channels. As a result, Netflix is bolstering its original productions and commissions, as it is seen as a more efficient spend and also out of necessity. We don't really know what people watch on Netflix but contrary to disproportionate attention paid by the press and the company itself, viewers likely prize films and TV shows from third parties. As these become a diminishing percentage of Netflix's worldwide libraries, the desirability of its original content will be placed under increasing scrutiny."
Bloomberg 9 August 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the Sky-Fox bid. Rupert Murdoch’s proposed takeover of Sky has met with further delays after the government asked the media regulator Ofcom to conduct further analysis of the mogul and his company’s adherence to broadcasting standards. Murdoch’s opponents have threatened Culture Secretary Karen Bradley with a legal challenge if she doesn’t also call for an investigation on broadcasting standards, in light of recent revelations of alleged misconduct at Fox News and an allegedly flawed approach by Ofcom. Bradley must decide whether to refer the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority for further review that could last six months. The ministry asked Ofcom to clarify parts of its report by Aug. 25. Alice said “this issue of whether to refer or not on broadcasting standards is probably causing quite a lot of headache. She has to be especially careful and will really want to get good external legal advice” said Alice referring to Bradley. The request for further information from Ofcom effectively rules out Bradley making her next move before Parliament returns from its recess on Sept. 5. Alice added “you can bet your bottom dollar that DCMS is not going to get through all this evidence in 24 hours, or even a week”.
The Times 7 August 2017
François Godard was quoted in an article on football sports rights. BT and Sky are paying a combined £1.7 billion per season for live domestic rights for the Premier League until 2019, betting that the fireworks and furore surrounding matches will bring in subscribers and advertisers. Instead of enjoying a clear path to their goal of happy punters and booming profits, the two broadcasters have challengers encroaching on the pitch. On one side are the pirates - a third of Premier League fans watched games regularly via illegal streams - and on the other are the giants, with speculation rife that the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook want to muscle in on the game. It is clear where immediate attention is focused. Piracy disturbs some BT and Sky shareholders — with the broadcasters airing 42 and 126 fixtures, respectively, each year — as much as it frustrates their paying subscribers. François suggested that the heavily-promoted move “reveals they may have some concerns about take up”. BT investors “may become uncomfortable” if its rights investment continues to grow, he added that Sky also could be tied down because its room to lift prices “may be very limited”.
the Guardian 7 August 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on John Malone’s global ambitions to dominate the global pay-TV market. The 76-year-old’s global ambitions mean he frequently crosses swords with Rupert Murdoch on his way to becoming the most powerful challenger to the octogenarian’s empire in the UK and Europe. Claire said “Malone’s stakes tend to be strategic and he is a prolific deal-maker. Malone and Murdoch have complementary business approaches. They are healthy frenemies.”