Format: Feb 2020
sort descending Sector(s) Date
Auto classified marketplace

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 [2016-116] and Property classified marketplace [2016-119]. Auto Trader continues to dominate online auto listings, accounting for 85% of UK revenues in 2015 by our estimates as total UK online auto spend increased 13%.  We believe that growth will slow to -7% this year and low single digits in 2017/18 as Brexit bites and consumer confidence retreats, although used and new car sales have so far remained buoyant since the vote. In common with the other classified verticals we see a period of sustained innovation on the horizon which will challenge the existing market leaders; data provision rather than audience listings will likely become the main source of value to advertisers while further out the advent of autonomous vehicles promises to disrupt the established structure of the entire auto industry.

Internet, Media 9 December 2016
UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q4 2017: Approaching ex-growth

UK residential communications market revenue growth fell again to 1.2%, with weakening ARPU growth the main driver. New customer pricing remains flat to down, and existing customers are being increasingly discounted, fuelling the ARPU weakness

High speed broadband adoption is proceeding apace, but the high speed premium is fairly thin, muting the impact on ARPU. Regulated wholesale price cuts from Openreach finalised today and due in April 2018 will not help

Looking forward, the March quarter will benefit from price timing effects at BT and Virgin Media, but we fear that the rest of 2018 will follow the current downward trend and the operators will need to adjust to an ex-growth environment


  • EE
  • Liberty Global
  • Ofcom
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Internet, Media, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 23 February 2018
UK mobile market Q2 2015: Modest growth continues

UK mobile service revenue growth dipped a touch in Q2, falling to 0.9% from 1.0% in the previous quarter, although all of the dip and more was due to the reintroduction of mobile termination rate cuts in the quarter, with underlying growth rising to 1.3%

O2 is now the fastest growing operator in both contract net adds and service revenue growth terms, exceeding even the much smaller H3G, and its revenue growth lead over EE and Vodafone expanded during the quarter

BT’s consumer mobile launch was relatively successful from BT’s perspective, with it garnering 100k subscribers in the first three months, but this appeared to have no impact at all on the mobile operators, which had a relatively strong quarter for contract net adds in spite of this. We conclude that much of the fixed line MVNO base growth is coming from impulsively upgrading prepay users, consumers wanting a spare SIM and other MVNO customer bases – sources that do not threaten the MNOs

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 26 August 2015
Vodafone Q1 2012/2013 results: Not quite as bad as it seems

Vodafone Europe’s June quarter service revenue growth contracted sharply to -1.6% from -0.2% in the previous quarter

Given various one-off factors, and a likely continued macroeconomic driven slowdown, we expect that Vodafone’s underlying competitive performance is unchanged

The outlook is still poor, with macroeconomic and regulatory headwinds joined by a self-inflicted problem in Spain. Cost control at least appears to be going well, with slowing smartphone sales growth keeping handset costs under control

  • Vodafone
Non-UK Telecoms, Mobile, Telecoms 22 July 2012
'3' and 3G

With the handsets finally available and (to some extent) working, Hutchison 3G's '3' operation has finally launched in the UK. In this report we review the commercial prospects for '3' in particular and 3G in general.




  • Hutchison 3G
Mobile, Telecoms 8 April 2003
2010 off to a good start: Sky fiscal Q1 2010 results

Latest fiscal Q1 2010 results show continuation of the strong subscriber and revenue growth trends, but as Sky forges ahead of its rival pay-TV operators so attention is turning to competition issues

It is still unclear whether Ofcom will succeed in introducing a wholesale ‘must offer’ remedy with regulated pricing for Sky’s premium subscription films and sports channels; a proposal that Sky vehemently contests but, if put into place during 2010, this could have a significant influence over the longer term structure of the UK pay-TV market

Results for the telecoms business continued to improve, albeit on a more modest scale than in Q4 2009, with the cost base beginning to show signs of greater stability

  • Sky
Media, TV 27 October 2009
2010 TV NAR bounce back to continue into Q4

The bounce back in TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) now looks set to continue into Q4, resulting in full year- on-year growth of about 12.5%

The bounce back has more than reversed the -11% fall in 2009, although it still leaves TV NAR in 2010 about -5% below pre-recessionary levels in 2007 (nominal prices). Meanwhile, persistent worries about the economy and the impact of government debt reduction measures suggest flat growth in 2011

Much depends in 2012 on the outcome of Ofcom’s review of the airtime minutage quota and distribution rules, where its own commissioned econometric analysis suggests that harmonisation efforts leading to increases in airtime supply could cause large reductions in TV NAR

Media, TV 26 August 2010
2013 round up and topics for next year

2013 has seen yet another year of strong growth in consumer adoption of mobile devices and screens adding to the challenges facing traditional media. Press and radio have long been affected, but television is now starting to feel the heat

BT and Sky’s contest for premium pay-TV sports rights has intensified. August saw the launch of BT Sport, while BT’s acquisition of the European football rights in November was a clear statement of intent, spending half of Channel 4’s total programming budget on approx. 200 hours of content

The UK has seen buoyant advertising growth of around 4% in 2013, with similar growth expected in 2014, in the context of the strongest economic recovery in Europe

  • Alibaba
  • Apple
  • DMGT
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Guardian Media Group
  • News Corp
  • SFR
  • Sky
  • Snap
  • Vivendi
  • Vodafone
  • Yahoo
Fixed Line, Non-UK Media, Non-UK Telecoms, Internet, Media, Mobile, Music and Radio, Technology, Telecoms, TV 19 December 2013
2014 a big year for Sky - Q1 2014 results

2014 will be a tough year for Sky as it strives to improve the connectivity across its base while facing the challenge of BT in premium sports. 2014 has started well in terms of product growth and BT Sport has had no discernible impact on Sky broadband take-up and little, if any, impact on acquisition and retention discounts offered to new and existing Sky customers. With eyes focused on the impending auction of European Champions League pay-TV rights, we think BT has every incentive to push the price up, but not actually to win them.

  • Sky
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 21 October 2013
2019 TV advertising backstopped by Brexit

We expect total TV ad revenues to decline 3.3% in H1 2019, partly due to a return to Earth following the idyllic conditions of the World Cup in June 2018.

Bad omens for advertising for H2 include the sagging economy since April and the Government’s impetus to achieve Brexit on 31 October, with or without a deal.

Our forecast remains a 3% decline for total TV ad revenues for 2019 as a whole, with the risk of a more serious downturn in 2020 in the wake of Brexit.

  • Channel 4
  • ITV
  • Sky
Brexit, Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 21 June 2019
2020 advertising forecasts - robust growth despite the soft economy

Our all media ad forecasts predict 4-5% growth in advertising expenditure on UK media in 2020, driven by double-digit growth of pure play online, expected to reach 58% of total spend this year, up from 55% in 2019.

We expect that pure play online spend will grow by 10.9% in 2020, while TV and Press continue to fall by 3.1% and 8.6%, respectively.

Although the economic outlook for 2020 is more positive than 2019, debt-fuelled growth in spending is a continuing concern on the consumer side.

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Google
Media, Technology 31 January 2020
21CF and the bid for Sky: state of play

Secretary of State Karen Bradley has intervened on two UK public interest grounds in 21CF’s bid for 100% ownership of Sky: media plurality, as in 2010, and a commitment to broadcasting standards, new in 2017

Ofcom will assess any implications of 21CF’s full control of Sky on whether it is ‘fit and proper’ to hold a broadcast licence, reporting back on 16 May

Undertakings are a live issue in the 2016 bid, notably to protect the editorial independence of Sky News, noting the bid faces determined opposition from certain quarters

  • 21st Century Fox
  • News Corp
  • Ofcom
  • Sky
Media, TV 21 March 2017
21CF/Sky transaction heads to the CMA

21CF’s bid for 100% ownership of Sky has been referred for a Phase 2 investigation to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will decide by 6 March 2018

Third parties Avaaz and Ed Miliband MP complain of the influence of the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) and family members over the UK’s news agenda and political process 

A remedy could insulate Sky News from this influence. The offer of a Sky News Editorial Board at Phase 1 was refused. Third parties will ensure the debate in Phase 2 is very lively

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Ofcom
  • Sky
21CF Sky specific emails, Media, TV 19 October 2017
21st Century Fox and Sky seeking merger clearance

21st Century Fox and Sky plan to notify their proposed merger to the European Commission, perhaps by March, and obtain clearance on competition grounds, as rapidly as in 2010.

The merger could also face, along the lines of 2010, a separate regulatory process in the UK on media plurality grounds, by a decision of Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

If the UK process happens, Ofcom will provide its advice on the merger’s impact on news and current affairs, whose consumption has shifted massively online since 2010.

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky Italia
Media, TV 21 December 2016
21st Century Fox, Time Warner and the wave of mega-mergers

Consolidation in US and European TMT and the rapid expansion of digital giants is creating increasing pressure on the media companies who have to negotiate with them.

In Time Warner, 21st Century Fox identified an acquisition that would give it invaluable global premium content and distribution assets, and the ability to outbid its main rivals in upcoming sports rights auctions. The benefits for Time Warner were less discernible.

The bid was pulled after Time Warner’s management signalled they weren’t interested, and investors reacted with share price movements that helped preclude the bid in the near-term. But consolidation amongst media companies will only make more sense in the years to come.

TV, Media 19 August 2014
21st Century Fox: Unfinished business with Sky

21st Century Fox’s (21CF) second attempt to acquire Sky comes at a time when the TV world faces mounting online pressure, accompanied by erosion of territorial boundaries in an increasingly global marketplace 

Despite some investor concerns about Sky’s ability to deliver its operating targets over the next five years, we consider the underlying business to be sound and starting to show benefits that derive from its international scale 

21CF’s bid has a strong strategic logic in terms of growing international scale further and evolving a global platform that integrates shared content strengths in sports and entertainment with Sky’s top of class expertise in customer relationships 

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky Italia
Media, TV 22 February 2017
3's New Tariffs

On June 9th '3' launched 2 new tariffs aggressively targeting the core of the GSM contract base. In this report we look at the potential impact of these on both H3G and the UK GSM operators.

  • Hutchison 3G
Telecoms 11 June 2003
360 and Virtual Reality: a new angle for video entertainment

The temporary cool-off in hype around VR following a very buzzy 2016 is not reducing the flow of investment and talent into the industry, notably in video production utilising 360Video technology; setting the stage for the development of a truly new entertainment medium

Fully immersive interactive worlds will continue to be the mainstay of the video games industry, while video entertainment will exist in a multi-track environment, with some genres (news, documentaries , natural history) making 360Video mainstream well before long-form narrative-driven entertainment

2017 will still be a challenging year for consumer device VR roll-out and mass market adoption; Oculus, Google, and Sony continue to seed the market, providing large scale funding and equipment directly to developers and content producers



  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • HTC
  • NBCUniversal International
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Walt Disney
Media, Technology, Telecoms, TV 16 March 2017
3G Capacity - Europe, Japan

In our recent report on 3G infrastructure, we analysed published actual contract values that demonstrated that claims that large European 3G networks would cost 5bn Euros or more each were very unlikely to be correct, at least in the next three years. We hypothesised that European operators would install a basic network which covered most of the national population, but that low needs for data transmission would mean that this network would suffice for the conceivable future. We showed that limited networks, costing no more than a few hundred million Euros, would be able to carry the fixed line voice traffic of most of the population.

In other words, in an effort to stop subscriber numbers falling, the networks have created an incentive for a user to send just one 10p SMS or make one 5p call during each six-month period. If this is the price of retaining a number, it can reasonably be expected that most inactive subscribers will fall into line; one never knows when that second phone given to you by Aunty Mabel last Christmas might come in useful. The single action of sending one SMS would enable the operator to move a subscriber back onto the 'active' list.



Telecoms, Mobile 1 June 2001
3G Datacards

3G datacards slot into laptops to provide Internet connectivity when on the move. They make good use of the current patchy 3G networks: demand is likely to be concentrated in areas that are currently covered, while GPRS is a good back-up outside these areas and the ‘bursty’ nature of their usage does not put an unsustainable load on the 3G networks. However, they are far more expensive and much slower than fixed line broadband, and they are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, leaving their appeal as a ‘last resort’ rather than a genuine alternative.

The resulting outlook for C&W UK’s performance in the short term is uncomfortable

Longer term, the strategy looks feasible, but better implemented under private ownership

Bulldog’s strategy is unchanged and remains dubious

Telecoms, Mobile 9 November 2005