Publications

Format: Apr 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
The sleeping giant wakes into DisneyLife

Disney surprised few with the launch of the SVOD service DisneyLife in the UK in November 2015, unlike its subsequent push into China

This could be seen as a mitigating strategy in face of partner streaming services beginning to invest increasingly in original content. But it also provides Disney with a streaming presence from which to build, or add spice to future licensing negotiations

Despite finding itself behind in the SVOD audience race, global affection for Disney, a typically handsome platform and a targeted roll-out should see success

  • Walt Disney
Media, TV 10 March 2016
Programmatic advertising in the mobile era

Programmatic advertising has come a long way in its first two decades: it is still used predominantly for direct response marketing, but mobile has opened up new possibilities in display

After early problems on open exchanges, programmatic online display budgets are turning to more controlled environments, with Facebook the biggest winner so far

With direct response budgets already spent largely on programmatic, most room for further growth would be in large-audience brand display – a field where the benefits of programmatic are yet to be demonstrated

Media, Mobile, Technology 7 March 2016
Closing in on 50-50 the right way - ITV FY 2015 results

ITV has delivered double-digit growth in adjusted EBITA for the sixth year running, marked by big increases in both TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) and non-TV NAR revenues, which now make up nearly 50% of the total

The outlook for 2016 is promising. We expect continuing real growth in ITV family NAR in line with the market average, and further substantial increases in both Online, Pay & Interactive and ITV Studios

The big question is how ITV can sustain all it has achieved with the international expansion of ITV Studios and use its growing scale to support growth in its Online, Pay & Interactive revenues abroad as well as in the UK

  • ITV
Media, TV, UK Media 7 March 2016
Channel 4 viewing trends and sustainability

The Government is exploring the privatisation option for future Channel 4 ownership on account of its concerns about the sustainability of the Channel 4 business model in light of recent viewing trends

Channel 4’s focus on 16-34s has put it under extra pressure, but the topline figures do not remotely tell the true story. 2010-2013 was a period of disruption due to special factors. Little decline has occurred since, and Channel 4 group 16-34 and peak time viewing shares have held firm since 2010

As for revenues, the trading dynamics of UK TV advertising have seen audience loss more than matched by increased spend, benefiting both Channel 4 and ITV. This is not about to change, while BBC3 closure and Channel 4 digital video growth will reinforce the financial sustainability of Channel 4, now delivering its remit better than ever

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, UK Media 1 March 2016
Native advertising in Europe to 2020

Native advertising is growing sharply as a result of the shift in digital audiences and consumption to mobile devices, where limited screen size and usage modes favour formats that mirror the form or function of the platform and media

Publishers and advertisers are moving rapidly to exploit the opportunity. Publishers see unique native formats as a way to distinguish their ad offering in a highly commoditised internet advertising space, while advertisers and their agencies hope to get more bang for their buck

Between 2015 and 2020, we expect native advertising spend across Western Europe to grow by 156% to €13 billion, representing 52% of internet display and three quarters of net growth in internet display

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Yahoo
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, UK Media 1 March 2016
Trinity Mirror starts New Day

Trinity Mirror is launching a national newspaper, New Day, into a challenging marketplace: declining volumes of -7%, and the loss of £121m (-9%) in advertising in 2015 alone

New Day has been inspired by market research into lapsed newspaper buyers. While consumer behaviour is largely driven by a shift to digital, mobile and social media distributed news, some consumers want a different print product from anything in the marketplace

In digital, New Day eschews the need for a website or App, focusing on social media to market the product; a rare example of a strategy that does not blur or compromise print and digital objectives

  • DMGT
  • News UK
  • Trinity Mirror
Media, Press 26 February 2016
A future for tablet publishing? La Presse case study

Montreal’s La Presse follows a unique tablet-focussed, free access, fast track digital strategy. It said adieu to weekday print editions in December. An in-house developed app – La Presse+ – sets new benchmarks: advertising friendly, easy to navigate, and engaging

High ABC1 market share in French speaking Quebec helped build digital scale rapidly. La Presse+ has broken circulation records thanks to an influx of younger readers. Advertising is sold at a premium to print and the newsroom has expanded

In a tougher market The Toronto Star launched the app last September with positive initial results. The Star Touch approach is additive rather than substitutional to print and may be more relevant to newspapers elsewhere. Slower tablet penetration growth is no big worry as phone screen sizes increase and PCs converge towards tablets

Media, Press 24 February 2016
Lightning strikes: Virgin Media Q4 2015 results

Project Lightning is showing clear signs of success, running ahead of new premises targets with ARPU and penetration levels in line with expectations, which helped deliver the strongest organic RGU performance in over seven years, and could add c1% to revenue growth in 2016

Recent performance, though strong, was not immune to the rivalry of Sky and BT, with efforts to manage profitability in the face of inflated sports content rights costs in turn yielding tension at the subscriber level; we anticipate round two when the 2016/17 Premier League kicks off in August

Mobile revenue growth was relatively weak and quad play penetration fell, but the H3G/O2 merger in the UK may provide an option to improve its mobile wholesale deal, and the cable/mobile JV in the Netherlands with Vodafone points to a possible similar deal in the UK in the longer term

  • Liberty Global
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms 23 February 2016
EE Q4 2015 results: Slowing revenue, accelerating profits

EE reported solid contract net adds, but weakening contract ARPU, which drove mobile service revenue growth down to -2.5%

However, EBITDA growth was spectacular at 15% in H2, suggesting that much of the subscriber growth is in low revenue high margin segments such as SIM-only and B2B, as well as cost control being strong

EE’s new parent BT is likely to be able to drive further progress in these areas, and the outlook is robust even if quad play demand remains low in the consumer market

  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 22 February 2016
Independent, i and content publishing models

The sale of the i, the innovative 2011 launch by the Independent, inevitably led to its parent’s death in print form and pushes two media experiments into the marketplace

ESI Media becomes the first publisher to switch a traditional national news brand into a digital-only service, while Johnston Press has developed a new local-national platform to compete with Trinity Mirror

Content publishers will increasingly experiment with vertical models and membership models for a range of services including access to some content as the challenges of the digital advertising market begin to mount

  • Independent Print Ltd
  • Johnston Press
  • Local World
  • News UK
  • Trinity Mirror
Media, Press 18 February 2016
Millennials, mobile and traditional media

Millennials are the mobile generation, and their preoccupation with mobile erodes time spent with other media, but also offers new opportunities for traditional media brands

Millennials have a different relationship with traditional media; mobile has provided them with control over what they consume and the convenience to access content where and how they like

New content forms such as very short videos have added to the mobile experience, creating social discovery opportunities for media to reach millennials

Media, Music and Radio, Press, Telecoms, TV 16 February 2016
UK advertising expenditure forecast 2016-2018

2014 and 2015 have seen outstanding real growth of 13% in display advertising spend. Although we cannot rule out a recessionary downturn, we project further 11% growth during 2016-2018, but at a slowing rate as display spend continues to benefit from relatively benign economic conditions

A sizeable chunk of the display growth reflects a shift from non-display. However, the most dramatic change in the present decade is the total reversal of the balance in display market share between press and the internet: 75% press/25% internet in 2010; 25% press/75% internet in 2018. Nor will the shift be over in 2018

Meanwhile, we expect other display categories – television, out of home, radio and cinema – to see advertising spend grow at close to the market average. As yet, we have seen no signs of television advertising spend suffering due to the decline in viewing among younger age groups and emergence of digital video. If anything, evidence points to the contrary

Media, Telecoms, UK Media 11 February 2016
Vodafone Q3 2015/16 results: Almost stable

Vodafone Europe’s service revenue growth continued its trend of gradual improvement, helped by solid contract net adds and sustained high data traffic growth, and is now almost stable

Project Spring network metrics performed strongly in the quarter, and there is some evidence of this translating into better operating performance in Italy, which enjoyed positive mobile service revenue growth for the first time since 2010

Problems remain for the company in its other key mobile markets however, all of which remain in decline. Although these issues may prove temporary, and Project Spring may yet offer them a boost, further pressure is on the horizon due to competitor consolidation and associated regulatory remedies

  • Vodafone
Telecoms 10 February 2016
Cyber blues: TalkTalk Group Q3 2015/16 results

Damage from the cyber-attack was revealed to be a 2% impact to the on-net subscriber growth, a 3% impact to Group revenue growth and a combined EBITDA and exceptionals cost impact of £75-80m, roughly double the previous guidance

An updated FY17 trading strategy promises “more conservative” price increases and greater focus on upselling mobile/fibre/TV to existing customers, while maintaining rather than growing the consumer base

FY17 guidance has been updated to account for cyber-attack related setbacks and trading strategy adjustments, now aiming for modest revenue growth and EBITDA of £320-360m and an implied margin of 17-20%

  • TalkTalk
Fixed Line, Telecoms 9 February 2016
BT Q3 2015/16 results: Fibre-driven accelerating revenue

BT Group’s revenue growth accelerated to 4.7% in Q3; while this was helped by some beneficial one-offs, including the TalkTalk cyber-attack, the underlying trends also looked strong across all divisions

Fibre adoption had a record quarter, with growth particularly apparent at BT’s DSL competitors, helping to drive Openreach’s external revenue growth to 7%

BT completed the purchase of EE at the end of January, and BT will keep EE separate for consumer but fully integrate for business. We are sceptical of consumer-side revenue synergies, but the business side and cost synergies will significantly benefit going forward

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 5 February 2016
Sky Q2 2016 results: innovation, service and bonding

Europe’s biggest pay-TV service provider Sky has delivered another strong quarter, which saw H1 adjusted operating profits across the group rise by 12% year-on-year on a like for like basis at a constant Euro exchange rate, and the upward trend clearly has a lot of mileage left in it

Although Sky UK & Ireland now generates almost all the current operating profits, the performances of Sky Germany & Austria and Sky Italy give cause for optimism and testify to the group’s deep commitment to top of the class innovation and customer service

In a converging online, telco and TV space, the appointment of James Murdoch as non-executive Chairman and entry of Showtime into the Sky Atlantic partnership of Sky and HBO send out a clear message from the TV side about the importance of global scale and ties between its members

  • Sky
Media, TV, UK Media 4 February 2016
China OTT and SVOD

China holds tremendous appeal to studios and OTT video services, boasting an audience of 460 million online video users in mid-2015 (69% of internet users), which could exceed 900 million by 2020 by our estimate

China’s OTT video marketplace generated estimated revenues of $5 billion in 2015, of which two-thirds was due to ad-supported streaming and the rest to paid video streaming

Netflix recently pledged to enter China, although the current regulatory environment presents substantial, perhaps insurmountable, challenges to a direct-to-consumer offering

Non-UK Media, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV 1 February 2016
Google’s exaggerated mobile trouble

Rumoured details of Google’s traffic acquisition deal with Apple and also the size of its Android revenue have prompted many to doubt the search giant’s prospects on mobile

Compared to previous analyst estimates and in view of Google’s traffic cost structure, we see the reported figures as positively rather than negatively surprising 

Since the mobile economy is still developing around the world, it is in our view misguided to evaluate the success of Android in revenue terms alone, since the OS responds to Google’s broader strategic aims            

  • Apple
  • Google
Media, Technology 29 January 2016
Will the young of today ever turn to trad TV?

The steep year-on-year decline in TV viewing among younger age groups has continued in 2015, with reported TV viewing by children 4-15 and adults 16-24 approaching 30% down on the peak of 2010

The downward trends notwithstanding, there are good grounds for believing that some of the new media consumption behaviours will fall away as today’s millennials move-up the lifestage ladder

In addition, half-yearly comparisons reveal a big slow-down in the rate of decline during H2 2015, suggesting that the explosive impact of smartphones, tablets, apps and social networks has almost reached its limits, while further change will occur at a much slower pace

Media, Telecoms, TV 15 January 2016
Channel 4 market impact

Channel 4 is a key pillar of the UK’s audio-visual economy. Its unique commissioning model fosters a hotbed of new creative UK talent, an ecosystem of independent producers, many micro

Channel 4 commissions a greater share of its budget than any other broadcaster, public or private, also fostering the creative economy outside the M25, and 9% of commissions will be to the Nations by 2020

The future success of the stand-alone independent production companies is not in the hands of ITV and Channel 5, but of Channel 4 and the BBC – the pure PSBs

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, UK Media 5 January 2016

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