Publications

Format: Mar 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
BT's away game

BARB viewing figures provide an encouraging start to BT in its first season showing Champions League and European televised rights; numbers are on a par with those achieved by Sky over the previous few seasons

The investment in rights is not just about achieving good viewing figures - BT’s entry into televised sports is as much about supporting its broadband and pay-TV business in the face of increasing competition from Sky and others

BT has reported results for the September quarter with record-setting TV net adds and steady broadband net adds, confirming that while Sky arguably won the broadband battle, BT won TV, and neither really lost in either category

  • BT
Fixed Line, Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 29 October 2015
Sky Q1 2016 results: positive start to the year

Sky has got off to a good start in 2016, as Q1 group revenues grew by 6% and operating profits by 10% year-on-year, while churn stayed low across all three operations, and product net additions of close to one million pointed to continuing strong underlying growth

The Q1 results have softened concerns about the impact of loss of Champions League live televised rights in the UK and Italy, which have so far shown very little effect in spite of intense competitive pressures from BT and Mediaset

Although Sky UK & Ireland has accounted for the entire year-on-year increase in Q1 operating profits, strong subscriber growth in Germany & Austria over the last two years, and signs that economic conditions in Italy are on the mend, provide a positive outlook for the year ahead

  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky Italia
Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 27 October 2015
ITV acquires UTV TV - where next?

The launch of UTV Ireland in the Republic has proved less than successful for UTV Media and has led to its divestment and that of its Channel 3 licence in Northern Ireland

ITV has bought UTV Television for £100m cash and will own 13 of the 15 regional Channel 3 licences, though we do not see a play for STV in the medium term

UTV Media is now able to fully focus on its main profit centre – its growing radio business in the UK and Ireland

  • ITV
Media, Music and Radio, TV, UK Media 26 October 2015
European mobile in Q2 2015: Improving, up to a point

European mobile service revenue growth improved to the highest in over four years driven by improvements in the three slowest growing markets of late. Out-of-bundle revenues are still declining at a rate of over 10% but data revenue growth trends point to underlying strengths in the revenue profile. Looking at the longer term picture begs the question as to whether the quarter’s improvement can be repeated over the next 18 months, transforming the industry into one with extremely healthy revenue growth of 5%-10%; on balance we are not very optimistic

Two major in-mobile transactions are yet to be approved by the EC, namely H3G/O2 in the UK and an H3G/Wind JV in Italy. The recent precedent from Denmark is somewhat discouraging, although the Danish consolidation was unusual in some respects. Nonetheless comments from the new competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager suggest that regulatory caution towards 4-to-3 mergers is still high

Progress towards convergence is continuing with few operators in a post-consolidation world being either 100% fixed or 100% mobile. Convergence has to date been discount-led and damaging to market revenues, but post-consolidation, operator rhetoric has been reassuringly more focused on intentions for increased investment in both LTE mobile networks and high speed fixed networks

  • EE
  • France Telecom
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Iliad
  • O2
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • T-Mobile
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 14 October 2015
BBC plans hit local press

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

BBC proposals for local media set out on 7 September offer solutions to an alleged market failure, without much evidence, contained in February’s Future of News report.

There is no dispute that local commercial print and online media operations have suffered heavy revenue losses since their peak a decade ago – the industry is, however, still profitable, innovation and online growth are helping to stabilise the top-line, and new enterprises are emerging.

Local media publishers prefer a turbo-charged BBC policy of linking to their sites to the proposal for a local media digital hub fed by publishers and 100 BBC journalists.

  • BBC
  • DMGT
  • Gannett/Newsquest
  • Guardian Media Group
  • Johnston Press
  • Local World
  • News Corp
  • Trinity Mirror
Media, Press 14 October 2015
Music publishing in Germany 2014-17

Germany remains the second largest market in Europe for the exploitation of composition rights by their authors, with €382 million paid out to them in 2014, up 8% on 2013 (63% share of distributions on average). The German Government intends to secure an even “better balance for authors” in their contracts with music publishers, by allowing the composer to “re-tender” their contracts after five years to secure a better deal

GEMA, the collecting society, has a strong position in Germany and is poised to lead the development of the digital single market for online music services. Together with PRS for Music (UK) and STIM (Sweden), GEMA has formed a joint venture (JV) to offer multi-territory licensing and copyright administration services to services, music publishers and other CMOs, cleared by the EU Commission

Music publisher revenues from domestic collections could rise from €225 million to €247 million from 2014 to 2017, due to a moderate rise in broadcast revenues on the back of the economic recovery, a boost to public performance revenues from a higher live music tariff and flat royalties from recorded music expenditure, as the decline of physical mechanicals is offset by the rise of online royalties

  • Bertelsmann
  • RTL
  • SFR
  • Spotify
  • Vivendi
  • YouTube
Non-UK Media, Media, Music and Radio, Non UK Media 12 October 2015
Sky’s cost discipline in Italy close to being vindicated

In Italy, pay coverage of the Champions League shifted from Sky to Mediaset Premium this season. Alongside a new Serie A contract, this adds an extra €300 million to Mediaset Premium’s cost base

The first results indicate that Mediaset is unlikely to meet its subscriber growth target. On current trends we expect cumulative EBIT losses of over €400 million by 2018

Mounting losses may force Mediaset to close or sell Premium, but fear of Sky may slow decision-making. Sky was probably right not to overbid for the Champions League and the savings should more than offset minor subscriber losses

  • Sky Italia
Non-UK Media, Media, TV 9 October 2015
Friends with benefits: Facebook and publishers

We are seeing a proliferation of news distribution services on social media and technology platforms, as companies like Apple and Facebook look to capture the value of longform professional content.

Facebook’s Instant articles will likely be the most significant distribution mechanism for publishers, allowing Facebook to further position itself as a provider of quality, rather than just user-generated, content.

This is best seen as a trade: news providers’ engaging content for Facebook’s audience reach and data. While concerns about reliance on Facebook and content commoditisation are understandable, these are the inevitable results of user behaviour.

  • Facebook
Internet, Media, Press 8 October 2015
Sky Deutschland: approaching profitability?

The push for accelerated subscriber acquisition has stalled Sky Deutschland’s underlying growth in profits as promotions have undermined ARPU

After being artificially suppressed by the introduction of two-year contracts, churn is poised to rise. Sky could maintain subscriber growth only through increased marketing and discounting – but this is unlikely

We expect EBIT breakeven before the end of the current Bundesliga contract in 2017. But sustained profitability depends on the outcome of the rights auction to be held next spring

  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
Media, Non UK Media, TV 6 October 2015
Amazon’s Prime Directive

Despite dropping the Fire Phone, Amazon has upped the ante in its battle for digital media consumers, upgrading its Fire TV devices and rolling out a new range of low price and robust tablets, starting from £50/$50, squarely aimed at the mass market

As with all Amazon devices aside from the failed phone, they are conduits for the company’s media and retail services, aimed at increasing purchases and forcing other platform operators to include them

Although shrinking as a share of Amazon’s business, media remains crucial, both for direct revenue and to attract customers to Prime, its membership programme, which by some estimates now accounts for the majority of its US sales

  • Amazon
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV 5 October 2015
PSB at risk in the world

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

Australia’s ABC and Canada’s CBC/Radio Canada have each suffered severe budget cuts imposed by governments without public or political debate and in spite of strong audience support

These cuts have impaired the international reach of ABC and CBC, as well as their investment in news and locally originated content

The UK’s reputation and standing in the world relies on the BBC’s services, its online presence, channels and its programming sales. And, just as in Canada and Australia, this valuable national soft power is and will be diminished by current government policy

  • BBC
Media, TV 1 October 2015
Apple battles for control

New ‘s’ versions of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus will help to maintain Apple’s grip on the high-end smartphone market. A notebook-sized iPad Pro and revamped Apple TV round out this year’s iOS device upgrade

iPhone sales may be further boosted by a new leasing plan, initially US-only, allowing users to upgrade handsets each year more easily, which also should enable the company to take a share of the used iPhone market, and could even be a precursor to an Apple MVNO

While the new iPad and Apple TV are unlikely to have a material impact on profits in the near term, they should be seen in the context of the wider battle for control of the connected office and home

Media, Technology, Telecoms 16 September 2015
BBC TV airwaves beyond 2026?

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'PSB' page of our site.

The DCMS Green Paper on Charter Renewal does not mention the DTT spectrum, but the question of its future is never far away, in particular where it refers to the recent explosion of choice and poses questions about universality

The former 470-862 MHz band reserved for broadcast TV will already have shrunk to 470-694 MHz by 2022 following intense international pressure from the mobile sector. Absent a strong defence case, we cannot rule out total clearance from the mid-twenties

As things stand, replacement of the DTT spectrum by the internet will have devastating consequences for the entire TV broadcast ecosystem. Most importantly, examination of viewing trends leads us to conclude that the UK public will not be ready for at least another 20 years

  • BBC
Government Broadcast Policy List 2015/16, Media, TV 16 September 2015
BBC TV – impact on investment in UK content

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

Responding to the Green Paper’s question on the BBC’s market impact, this report finds that the UK’s creative economy would suffer a 25-50% decline of investment in new UK content “if BBC TV did not exist at all”

Advertising-supported broadcasters would gain little, if any, extra revenue from expanded commercial audiences. ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and non-PSB multichannel broadcasters would be unable to fill the gap in investment left by the BBC

Pay-TV platforms could gain significant revenues although the loss of BBC TV programming, with 30% viewing share, would increase costs. Pay-TV platforms invest <10p on the £ of revenue in new UK content excluding sport so they, too, would not fill the gap left by the BBC

  • BBC
Media, TV, UK Media 10 September 2015
UK quarterly internet trends Q2 2015

The UK’s love affair with the smartphone continued in Q2: 85% of adults under 55 and a third of over-55s now have smartphones, which are becoming the primary method of accessing the internet, accounting for over 40% of time online

Among teens and younger adults internet usage is now higher than TV viewing, though this is still offset overall by the massed ranks of older viewers who remain glued to their TV sets

Commercial revenues derived from mobile devices still trail their share of internet usage but the gap is closing fast: in Q2, smartphones and tablets generated nearly half of consumer e-commerce transactions, while mobile ads represented 34% of internet search and display advertising

Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms 3 September 2015
Numericable-SFR: Costs down but growth elusive

Ten months after the acquisition of France’s SFR by Numericable, cost cutting targets appear likely to be exceeded, but the promised resumption of revenue growth may still take time to materialise as downward price pressures persist and the subscriber base has yet to stabilise

Profitability has increased faster than expected, while debt ratios look sustainable and set to decline. The challenge is to relaunch marketing while achieving the guided ambitious EBITDA margin growth. Investments, even if lower than planned, may be enough to sustain network competitiveness

The rationale for consolidation between Numericable, Bouygues and/or Iliad remains strong. But Numericable’s model looks sustainable without this. Side investments in media may at best bring political clout. The main risk stands with parent company’s Altice’s debt-finance expansion

  • SFR
Telecoms 2 September 2015
UK internet device and consumption forecasts: Smartphones rule

The UK is now a smartphone society: by the end of this year smartphone users will exceed the PC internet audience and by 2020 we project penetration will reach 83%. The average smartphone user now spends an hour and three quarters a day online, significantly more than the equivalent for PC and tablet, and phones already account for nearly half of all time online

We are positive on tablet user numbers, and think PCs will be resilient, especially for work users. All in all we expect connected time in 2020 to be 21 billion hours higher than in 2015, up over 35%

Commercial revenues via smartphones and tablets still lag their share of internet usage, but the monetisation gap versus the PC is closing fast: the newer devices accounted for 27% of internet search and display advertising last year, up 8ppts versus 2013, and 36% of e-commerce transactions, up from a quarter a year earlier. Consumers are already thinking mobile-first; businesses will have to follow

Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms 27 August 2015
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
The BBC, the press and online news

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

The Government’s Green Paper on Charter Renewal asks whether BBC News is “crowding out” commercial news suppliers and, if so, whether this is justified

Our research shows that UK newspaper publishers have been damaged by the internet. They face inherent challenges in monetising online audiences, in common with other news publishers. To be blunt, the BBC plays no role in exacerbating these challenges

Scaling back BBC News will damage the UK’s sole source of impartial, quality and trusted news, whose independence is valued by users in the UK and around the world, risking the UK’s global “soft power”

  • BBC
Media, Press, TV 25 August 2015
Music publishing in the UK 2014-17

The UK is the top music publishing market in Europe, at £428 million in 2014, despite being second to France and Germany for collections, because mechanical royalties for the reproduction rights (CDs, vinyl, digital) flow only to music publishers, while performance royalties are shared with writers

Thanks to the recovery of the UK economy that started in 2013, royalties from performance on radio, TV and in public have risen more strongly in recent years than in the difficult period of the recession 2008-10, providing a more promising context for sustained growth of the performance component of music publisher revenues

For online royalties, which accounted for 12% of music publisher revenues in 2014, the withdrawal by major music publishers of their rights to Anglo-American repertoire has shifted licensing to SOLAR, a joint venture of PRS for Music, STIM, and GEMA, also offering an aggregated repertoire and copyright administration services. This makes PRS for Music a leader in the development of multi-territory licensing of digital music services

  • Bertelsmann
  • Spotify
Media, Music and Radio 24 August 2015

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