Publications

Format: Feb 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
Used car marketing outlook

This is the third and final report in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on used cars, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook [2015-115] and Property marketing outlook [2015-116]. Auto Trader has long been the leading platform in cars – this was true in print, and the business is the greatest example of digital transition from print to digital we have seen anywhere in the world. Auto Trader was successfully IPO’d in 2015. The timing was good as the used car market is buoyant with many young cars coming to market following a period of intense new car purchasing, which was fuelled by attractive financing. Could Auto Trader be squeezed by the combination of specialist services Pistonheads and What Car? (Haymarket) at the top of the market, and Gumtree at the bottom? There is limited evidence of this to date, and AutoTrader is moving up the value chain, albeit without fundamentally diversifying its revenue model. The opportunities for growth from declining print revenue will shrink, however, and there is some downside risk for the market as a whole if car oversupply, driven by a decline in the number of used car buyers, become more accentuated.

Internet, Media 18 December 2015
Property marketing outlook

This is the second of our three reports in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on property, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook [2015-115]. Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) has been hit by new entrant OnTheMarket, and has diversified its publishing and revenue models. But OnTheMarket is a red herring in the marketplace, delivering the same charging model more expensively for estate agents than leading portals Rightmove and ZPG. Property marketing expenditure has been resilient this year, and we expect it to be roughly flat (a little down in real terms) over the next two to three years, largely a result of the print-to-digital transition depressing spend, but also because estate agents are feeling squeezed. Local newspaper print decline will roughly offset increases at the property portals and elsewhere, though print spend at the top of the market – brands such as Country Life, the FT and the Telegraph – remains robust, despite deep declining volumes of £1.5m homes.

  • Rightmove
Internet, Media, Press 17 December 2015
European mobile in Q3 2015: Consolidation before convergence

European mobile service revenue growth again improved, albeit marginally, with the quarter’s gain driven by declines easing further in what nevertheless remain the three weakest markets: France, Italy and Spain. Generally stabilising pricing environments were a key factor although ARPUs in these markets remain largely in decline, under continued pressure from strong out-of-bundle revenue declines

In a post-consolidation world, H3G/O2 in the UK and Yoigo in Spain will be the only mobile-only MNOs in the top five European mobile markets, effectively cementing a convergence based future. Consolidation trends might point to the prospect of greater price stabilisation but a fresh land grab for the converged market could derail this

Overall, in spite of healthy underlying data trends, we continue to see medium term growth recovery prospects capped at around 1% given precedent from both the UK, where a healthy economy, healthy pricing environment and strong data trends have failed to exceed this level, and Germany, where post-consolidation revenue growth has reverted to negative territory, both due to competition and consolidation

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Iliad
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • T-Mobile
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
Telecoms 17 December 2015
Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook

Our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds) is provided over three reports, with property and auto to follow, and this first report summarizing the macro trends, issues and outlook, as well as a detailed study of recruitment marketing. Taken as a whole we identify three critical themes in specialist markets:

• Portals are extraordinarily popular with consumers, growing their importance in the value chain; the print to digital transition is far from over
• But portal reliance on revenue growth from print decline is starting to retreat; revenue diversification strategies are emerging
• Nonetheless, disruption in vertical markets is stubbornly slow, with leading portals using paid media models (print models) to sustain their position.

The recruitment market is buoyant (up 10%), so portals, specialists and intermediaries are generally doing well, while local newspapers have lost some market share. Linkedin (professional social media, which has diversified into skills and training) and Indeed (freemium jobs aggregator, which provides performance charging and will introduce new services in 2016) are the key influences in the marketplace, and both are growing very strongly. The value chain in recruitment is being slowly restructured. Recruiter demand for highly skilled, specialist candidates does not have the labour supply to support it, sustaining marketing expenditure, though print spend continues to decline.

  • Auto Trader
  • LinkedIn
  • Rightmove
Internet, Media 16 December 2015
Canal+: things will get worse before they get better

Booming sales in Africa offset the steady decline of the Canal+/CanalSat subscriber base in France, delivering low but positive group revenue growth
 
Canal+’s management, now firmly under Vincent Bolloré’s control, is committed to reversing the French decline by investing €2 billion in new set top boxes and content – but production of original series is hampered by corporatist regulation and the market for sports rights is increasingly competitive

Earnings are slipping – under a high fixed cost model any revenue decline depresses profit margin. The trend will worsen under the weight of the increase in domestic football costs next year as well as the planned extra spend on content and set-top boxes 

 

  • Canal Plus
Media, TV 11 December 2015
UK mobile market Q3 2015: Stuck at 1%

UK mobile service revenue growth remained at 0.9% in Q3, but on an underlying basis growth increased 0.1ppts to 1.4%. This continues a trend of very gradual improvement in underlying growth over the past year, while reported growth has stayed constant at around 1% due to the re-introduction of regulated MTR cuts on 1 May 2015

Within the market, performances were mixed. O2 remains a service revenue growth star performer thanks to strong sustained contract net adds and stable contract ARPU while Vodafone’s service revenue growth fell back into decline as its contract ARPU suffered due to a sharp fall in out-of-bundle revenue. EE’s contract net adds were strong, but its contract ARPU growth remains weak, partly due to its renewed contract net adds performance being supported by low ARPU data devices and B2B

Since the end of the quarter, on 28 October, the CMA provisionally approved the BT/EE acquisition without conditions, and on 30 October, the EC opened an in-depth investigation into H3G/O2. Both acquirers would be wise in our view to be wary of making any rapid changes to branding and/or channel strategy, given that EE and O2 account for nearly 60% of UK gross subscriber additions between them and disrupting these sales will have a significant impact on subscriber growth, as EE’s experience since dropping Orange and T-Mobile has shown

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Telecoms 10 December 2015
UKTV - from pay to free

UKTV has continued its strong audience performance throughout 2015, and with Dave and Drama the company now has the two largest channels outside the PSBs

Growth has been driven by the effective use of the DTT platform with UKTV positioning its DTT channels to take advantage of the platform’s audience profile and sheer volume of viewing

Assuming UKTV maintains its commissioning spend we expect continued growth on free-to-air, but question marks remain on some of its more niche pay-TV channels

  • UKTV
Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 9 December 2015
Mobile-first, mobile-foremost: Smartphones to be 50% of online consumption in 2016

Smartphones will deliver half of all time spent online in 2016, and online time on smartphones will grow a further 50% by 2020. They are increasingly replacing the TV’s role as the primary provider of video content

There are stark differences in habits by age: young people’s smartphone use is highly substitutional for other media. Older people, who will account for most of the growth in time online, will add it on top of the time they already spend with other media, particularly TV

The implications of an increasingly mobile-only world are wide-ranging: social discovery and the mobile form factor change what works in content, while in-feed, branded content, payments and subscription are attractive alternatives to display and search advertising on mobile

Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms, TV 8 December 2015
UK Digital Upfronts 2015: going mobile

This year marked the second annual IABUK Digital Upfronts. As well as Facebook, Google/YouTube, Aol, Yahoo!, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Vice and others, several traditional media companies – Sky, The Guardian and Global Radio – participated, reflecting the rising importance of digital media and digital media buyers to their businesses

Many of the pitches were informed by the key shifts in online content: it is increasingly cross platform, driven by mobile devices and focused on video programming, and these formed the main themes of the event

A key piece of context is the rise of social media and the shift to programmatic buying, which continue to driven down pricing for all but the most valuable inventory – audience scale, high value audiences and premium content have never been more essential

  • Facebook
  • Guardian Media Group
  • Sky
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, UK Media 1 December 2015
Millennials: the mobile generation

Millennials are not the multimedia generation, as is often asserted, but the first entirely digital generation, and this is best reflected in their obsessive use of smartphones

The importance of mobile is not just as a communication device, because the smartphone has become an all-important tool, which this generation relies on for a much wider range of activities than older demographics

The implications for traditional consumer media are that smartphone distribution and discovery are the key strategic issues for the foreseeable future  

Media, Telecoms 1 December 2015
UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q3 2015: Volumes steady, ARPU bounces up

UK residential communications revenue growth bounced up in Q3 as we had predicted, on the back of continuing solid volume growth and improved ARPU growth driven by a series of price increases impacting in the quarter

The overall revenue growth of 6% was supported by some one-off factors, such as overlapping price increases and the launch of BT Sport Europe, but we believe that growth at this level will be sustained for the next two quarters at least

Looking forward, the impact of TalkTalk’s cyber-attack is uncertain in the detail, but it will clearly slow TalkTalk, benefit some of the others and may temporarily impact market volumes. Another area of competitive uncertainty is the impact of Virgin Media’s network extension as it gathers momentum into 2016, with all of the others likely to lose significant share in Virgin’s expanded areas

  • BT
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms 30 November 2015
US entertainment groups and consolidation

US entertainment groups have enjoyed strong revenue growth thanks to pay-TV, subscription video-on-demand and international sales, despite headwinds on the advertising market and downward pressures on retail pay-TV prices

Media merger and acquisitions have mainly failed, but strengthening the hand of the content producers in relation to distribution channels remains relevant and arguably even more important due to the sheer financial and audience size of digital operators, although the studios' pricing power remains unchallenged

21st Century Fox could then justify a new bid for Time Warner, although it will struggle to address TW's objections to the previous offer without taking on a huge pile of debt

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Turner
Media 27 November 2015
Challenges old and new: TalkTalk Group Q2 2015/16 results

TalkTalk’s results revealed a challenging market environment, with it struggling to maintain its broadband subscriber base given the onslaught from larger and more differentiated competitors

Revenue growth was still a healthy 6%, but this was helped by acquisitions, price adjustments and low margin mobile, with its EBITDA falling despite the drop in broadband customer growth and associated costs

Its cost savings programme and marked price increases are likely to allow it to grow EBITDA this year and next, with the impact of the cyber-attack being significant but short-lived, but its declining retail customer base is a longer term concern

  • TalkTalk
Telecoms 24 November 2015
YouTube Kids app lands in the UK

The YouTube Kids app aimed at young children hands parents more control of the increasingly popular YouTube experience
Ads served to kids on the app will observe similar rules to those on broadcast TV, easily circumvented on YouTube by commercial video programming 
The app will directly compete with the popular ad-free CBeebies iPlayer channel, TV channels and Netflix

Media, Technology, TV 23 November 2015
Retransmission fees: a Pandora’s box

The government is expected to announce a Digital Bill in Q1 2016 that will propose profound changes to the structure and funding of the public service broadcasters (PSBs) in television, one of its aims being to enable them to extract retransmission fees from pay-TV platforms, valued at £200 million a year or more for the commercial PSBs

So far the government has only committed itself in its March 2015 consultation paper to the repeal of Section 73 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (CDPA 1988), which in isolation will adversely impact only the Virgin Media cable platform

Now its ambitions appear to go far beyond introducing retransmission fees towards dismantling the entire UK PSB TV regulatory infrastructure of privileges and obligations and paving the way towards vacation of the DTT spectrum

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • Five
  • ITV
  • Sky
  • Virgin Media
Media, TV, UK Media 20 November 2015
Vodafone Q2 2015/16 results: Growing fixed disguises weakening mobile

Vodafone Europe’s revenue growth trend continued to improve, and the improved operating leverage allowed it to return to EBITDA growth after years of decline

Its mobile business was however more mixed, with improved contract net adds but worsening ARPU and revenue still firmly in decline, with growth from its recently acquired cable businesses partially disguising this

The benefits of its Project Spring investment are not yet clear, and the current wave of in-market mobile consolidation may leave Vodafone a weaker player across much of its footprint

  • Vodafone
Telecoms 13 November 2015
Activision: the new King of the games industry

Activision’s announcement of its intention to buy King, the maker of Candy Crush, for $5.9 billion, is a major strategic play but positions the company well as it seeks to broaden its exposure to the growing mobile games market

Activision has answered the “build or buy” question by looking to King to strengthen its capabilities in key areas: specifically mobile development, online gameplay, customer acquisition and retention analytics, as well expanding its range of revenue streams

Other mobile and online game developers are now under renewed focus as possible acquisition targets by major developers. Enders expects more acquisitions in this space in the near term

 
Media, Technology 12 November 2015
In the League of Champions: Virgin Media Q3 2015 results

Virgin Media had its strongest quarter for three years in broadband net adds market share – a robust performance in a competitive environment and very much in line with recent strong performances at both Sky and BT

Group revenue growth improved 1ppt, or 3ppts adjusting for distortions, driven by accelerating growth in all operating divisions although higher content and hardware input costs offset the benefit to margins

The Project Lightning network expansion program continues, targeting 250k new premises by the end of 2015, with a discernible impact to subscriber and revenue growth likely to be apparent from the start of 2016

  • Virgin Media
Telecoms 12 November 2015
Trinity Mirror buys scale with Local World

By fully acquiring Local World, Trinity Mirror has bought scale advantage in the local media marketplace, and accelerated a much needed growth story for digital assets.

The medium term outlook for local media continues to look stormy, underlining the importance of investment in technology and new platforms for publishing, journalism and marketing, essential for longer term sustainability.

Consolidation is needed to drive a more cost-effective investment phase as the transition to digital continues apace, provided the competition authorities do not interfere.

  • Johnston Press
  • Local World
  • Trinity Mirror
Media, Press 11 November 2015
Apple's iPhone advantage

Apple’s results underlined its status as the tech industry’s biggest and most profitable company due to the iPhone, accounting for two thirds of the company’s revenue and capturing three quarters of all smartphone profits

While the iPhone dominates the $500+ handset market, the question is how will this segment develop as smartphone penetration approaches maturity in developed markets and mobile operators restructure handset subsidies

The shift to separate airtime and device plans could increase consumer price sensitivity, but leasing plans with annual replacement, supported by the iPhone’s strong second hand value, bring the opportunity of faster replacement cycles, with upside and downside risks matched

  • Apple
Non-UK Telecoms, Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms 9 November 2015

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