Publications

Format: Feb 2020
sort descending Sector(s) Date
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
BBC Worldwide considers the rest of UKTV

A change of control clause triggered by Discovery’s takeover of Scripps will grant BBC Worldwide the option to acquire the 50% of UKTV that it does not already own

With a possible price in the vicinity of the £339 million paid by Scripps in 2011 it is by no means certain the BBCW could proceed alone—so a new, minority partner may well be necessary

Discovery, on the other hand, may be keen to acquire full ownership of UKTV, while retaining a licensing arrangement for the BBC’s content. A channel portfolio containing the best of Discovery, Scripps and UKTV content built on UKTV’s strong EPG positions would transform Discovery in the UK

  • BBC
  • Discovery
  • UKTV
Media, TV 13 March 2018
BBC Worldwide magazine portfolio

BBCW is selling its portfolio of magazines. This is the first major disposal of the UK magazine marketplace since Emap sold its consumer magazines division to Bauer in December 2007, valuing the portfolio at 1.8x pro forma revenue, but we expect a lower valuation given the downgrading of the magazine marketplace

Our analysis of the portfolio suggests a mixed bag of relatively resilient adult-focused titles, while Radio Times is a significant cash cow with medium term potential from a more aggressive commercial owner. Our principal concern resides in the viability of the children’s magazine portfolio, where titles are tied to Cbeebies programming, with relatively short life cycles

Bauer is a probable favourite to buy the portfolio, assuming it is picked up by a trade buyer. A post-acquisition process of disposal of non-core assets could provide other trade players with the opportunity to scoop titles that fit well in their portfolios

  • BBC
Media 16 December 2010
Better Than Free'

This report sets out a programme of actions to help slow the growth of music and video piracy. For the last five years the content industries and ISPs have been in a state of almost open war as a result of rampant copyright theft, largely made possible by broadband networks. Our report, by contrast, stresses the importance of cooperation between ISPs and the content industries.

Media 21 September 2003
Bigger than ever: Apple's Q1 2015 results

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove Apple’s most extraordinary quarter ever, with the company’s position in the smartphone market improving on all fronts: explosive growth in China, rising market share in the US and a rising average sales price.

By contrast, iPad sales continued to decline in spite of the iPad Air 2’s release, suffering from cannibalisation by the phablet-sized 6 Plus and saturation in developed markets. Apple has a strategy to revive sales, which may bear fruit later in the year.

A slate of new products is coming this year, led in the spring by Apple Watch. The question is, will Watch be a significant new source of profit or just a way to protect the iPhone’s dominant position in the smartphone market.

  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms, Technology, Internet, Media 9 February 2015
Blockchain: Reinventing the wheel

Despite the hype, systems based on the technology underlying bitcoin are a poor match for most use-cases

The term 'blockchain' is nowadays applied to technologies with shared aims and ideals rather than technological unity; few if any of these aims require true blockchain, any many are double-edged swords

The promises of blockchain are seductive in the context of programmatic online advertising, but are over-sold

Media, Technology, Telecoms 2 May 2018
Blocking in the free world: the threat of online ad blocking

Currently at a manageable level, ad blocking has the potential to fatally undermine the business models of media owners that depend on advertising, as well as restricting advertisers’ ability to reach audiences online.

To head off this threat, publishers, agencies and advertisers need to understand the diverse things that users do not like about digital advertising, fix them, and communicate this change of behaviour to audiences.

The move from desktop to mobile, from banner to native and from web to apps provides advertisers and publishers with the opportunity to provide an acceptable advertising experience, ensuring that blocking of these new formats and properties never reaches the threatening levels currently on desktop.

  • Google
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 16 March 2016
Blyk: easy money?

A new MVNO, Blyk, launched in the UK this week offering limited free texts and voice minutes in exchange for receiving advertising

Telecoms, Mobile 26 September 2007
Bopping along the bottom: European mobile in Q3 2019

European mobile revenues remain decidedly in decline this quarter at -2% – a slight worsening since Q2 as the full force of cuts to intra-EU calls hits 

There are signs that dual-brand strategies may be reaching their useful limit as erstwhile premium customers shift to value

There is scope for some trends to slowly improve from here, although end-of-contract notifications will impact all markets before the end of 2020, with the UK first off the blocks in Q1
 

  • BT
  • EE
  • France Telecom
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Iliad
  • O2
  • Ofcom
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • T-Mobile
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
  • Vodafone
Telecoms 13 December 2019
Brexit and UK internet privacy

Personal data is the fuel of the digital age and the UK is a top producer due to deep internet and ecommerce usage

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a key plank of the Digital Single Market (DSM), will directly apply in May 2018, before the date of Brexit in 2019

Upon Brexit, GDPR adoption would ensure easy certification by the Commission for data transfers outside the EU, giving companies another reason to stay in the UK 

Brexit, Internet, Media, Public Policy, Technology 13 October 2016
Brexit blues

In the midst of the Brexit news morass, here are some framing thoughts for the bigger picture…and why all roads lead to no-deal, after the Commons’ rejection of the package of the withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future trade relations between the EU and UK.

 

Brexit, Media, Telecoms 8 February 2019
Brexit dismal media outlook

The victory of the Leave campaigners in the EU referendum offers no clear benefits to the audiovisual sector, whether we consider domestic and international broadcast distribution across Europe or the creative production sector

The present lack of a clear roadmap and climate of uncertainty promises to be harmful across the entire media sector at least in the short-term, raising the distinct prospect of a recession later this year or next, causing us to downgrade our forecasts from February this year

The Brexit process raises many issues and will be drawn out over several years as the UK finds its feet in the new world. If the UK audiovisual sector is to emerge relatively unscathed, it is vital that it retains its ties with the Single Market by joining the EEA. The alternative is unthinkable

Media 1 July 2016
Brexit impact on UK-EU trade in creative services

Brexit poses direct risks to exports to the Continent of regulated services, such as audiovisual (AV) media services, if the UK ceases to qualify for the Single Market

Since 1994, the EU has formalised a ‘cultural exception’ in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and in all trade agreements aside from the European Economic Area (EEA)

Many countries have emulated the policy since, making it challenging for the UK’s AV cluster to gain significant additional market access from future bilateral trade deals

Brexit, Media, Public Policy, Technology, Telecoms 2 December 2016
Brexit risks for the creative industries

A post-Brexit recession will cause a hyper-cyclical decline in the advertising revenues of broadcasters and publishers

The Vote Leave idea of the UK joining a free trade area for goods with the EU would sever UK access to the Single Market for services, damaging the export-reliant audiovisual group, among many other sectors of strength

Made-in-the-UK IT, software and computer consultancy services will lose eligibility for government procurement tenders once the UK is an outsider to the EU

  • Discovery
  • NBCUniversal International
  • Sony
Non-UK Media, Media, Public Policy, TV, UK Media 22 April 2016
Brexit Update: Domestic Issues

Despite apparent instability of the political climate in Westminster, the direction of travel is predictable as both main parties share the aim of Brexit

The big fight in Parliament is over the future trade policy of the UK. Officially, the UK wants to agree a Free Trade Area (FTA) with the EU, while the Labour Party and Tory rebels hope a Customs Union (CU) prevails, binding the UK to the EU’s trade policy

The Supreme Court is about to hear the UK Government’s challenge to legislation passed by the devolved nations of Scotland and Wales, which claim their consent is required for policies on agriculture, fisheries and the environment

Brexit, Media, Telecoms, TV 25 April 2018
Brexit's effect on TV ad revenue 2019

We have revised our 2019 TV advertising forecasts down to -5% year-on-year due to the prospect of Brexit on 31 October, without an agreement and transition period of continued free trade to the next trading regime with the EU, thus implying the interruption of the free flow of goods across the UK's borders with Ireland, France and the EU generally.

With the UK economy already grinding to a standstill, forward guidance for Q3 2019 indicates further decline, and the prospect of a hard Brexit will make advertisers even less willing to commit TV budgets in November and December. As a result we forecast TV advertising to be down 6.7% in H2 2019.

Understandably, no official and reliable economic forecast for no-deal Brexit is in the public domain, so we are not yet in a position to forecast TV advertising revenue for next year.

Media, Telecoms 21 August 2019
BritBox’s muted arrival: ITV FY 2018 results

After the heights that Love Island and the World Cup took ITV to in H1, the broadcaster held on over the tougher last few months of 2018 to see growth in ad revenue (0.8%) and total viewing (linear and VOD, 3%).

However, it was the announcement of the subscription video service BritBox—with the discussions around the “strategic partnership” with the BBC in its concluding phase—that garnered most interest.

ITV’s investment in the service is modest when compared to its global competitors—up to £25 million in 2019, £40 million in 2020 and declining thereafter—but it is a prudent low-risk entry into what is an expanding but difficult market.

  • BBC
  • ITV
Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 18 March 2019
Broadband Europe

The potential for residential broadband connectivity in France, Germany and the UK depends on the availability of low-priced broadband products (hardware, installation and monthly subscriptions) and a narrow pricing gap with existing Internet access packages. Unless monthly subscriptions fall below €30 (from current comparable levels of €45 and up) and hassle-free self-installation is ubiquitous, consumers will not migrate from narrowband, even if they appreciate the faster surfing and download speeds of broadband. But regulators are guarding against any price declines from the incumbents, having put their faith in infrastructure-based competition through local loop unbundling (LLU) and upgrading of cable infrastructure. We believe that expectations of alternative supply of broadband through either of these routes in France and Germany are misplaced; in the UK, broadband cable will make more headway due to specific historical and regulatory factors, while there will be no effective alternative supply of residential DSL through LLU.

In its projections supporting its £3.2 billion debt financing, H3G projects 172,000 subs in 2002, 1.2 million by end 2003 and 9 million by end 2010.

Combined with projected ARPU of £40/month (or about current contract ARPU in the UK), H3G’s revenue projections come to £2 billion in 2005 (note UK mobile market in total = £10 billion today).

Telecoms 16 January 2002
Broadband Update

Broadband update document.

9 January 2001

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