Publications

Format: Jun 2018
Sector(s) Datesort ascending
YouTube: thinking beyond the long tail

Engineering excellence and user generated content (UGC) have propelled YouTube to Facebook-level reach, with growing viewing in all demographics and on the TV-set

However, the commercial limits and PR risk of its long-tail content model have prompted a diversification effort involving subscriptions and long-form content

Becoming a major part of Google’s revenue amid fierce OTT competition would require YouTube to be more flexible in its partnerships with the AV industry, and a more aggressive go-to-market strategy

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • RTL
Media, Technology, TV 21 March 2018
Addressable TV has more to deliver, while online video posts record highs

The market for addressable TV looks constrained despite its benefits, with Sky AdSmart taking less than 2% of overall TV ad revenues. Meanwhile, online video revenues for Google, Facebook and others have surged dramatically

Agencies are seemingly enraptured by online video  a highly profitable medium to buy despite concerns about a lack of effectiveness, safety and transparency 

For broadcasters to compete, better radical collaborative action is needed, including industry-wide adoption of AdSmart, and overhauling the trading agreements which hinder its take-up

 

 

  • Channel 4
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • ITV
  • Sky
  • UKTV
  • Viacom
  • Virgin Media
Media, Telecoms 14 March 2018
BBCW 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
Women at Work 2018

To celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March 2018 in the centenary of the partial suffrage, Women at Work 2018 promotes the goals of professional women in the UK through:

Greater awareness by large employers thanks to new gender pay reporting requirements. The national mean gender pay gap of 14% confirms a gender imbalance inside most large employers. Only 30% of management positions are held by women, about the same as a decade ago (although the total number of such roles are shrinking). Leadership from the top has is crucial to address stereotypes behind the 'motherhood penalty', 'glass ceiling' and 'glass walls'

Increasing the share of women in top jobs. The voluntary initiative to make business more effective by more FTSE 100 companies appointing women to their boards is aiming for 1 of 3 roles by 2020, up from 28% in 2017. Women, however, hold only 10% of FTSE 100 Executive Director roles, casting a spotlight on the scarcity of female leaders in waiting in the 'executive pipeline'

Boosting female engagement with entrepreneurship, a booming UK trend, and leveraging the power of digital. With just 1 in 5 small businesses being female-led, women often cite networks, role models, and mentors as important enablers

Nicola Mendelsohn, VP of EMEA, Facebook, comments: "We live in a society where the system is often tilted in the opposite direction to women – the digital world has created a level playing field that removes the barriers and eliminates the bias. Every week I meet with women who are starting their businesses through digital channels or inspiring others to do the same as them. This is an important report that charts the success to date and the important progress that is still needed."

The creative industries too will gain from engaging with initiatives to remove barriers to equality of opportunity and realise the talent of women at work. Internal transformation is particularly relevant in 2018 when society-wide soul-searching promises to transform cultural products by further shattering tired tropes.

Ladies List, Media, Non UK Media, Public Policy, Technology, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 7 March 2018
Internet Trends H2 2017 - From shallow online to the online immersed

In this report we develop a rough segmentation of the adult population by level of online use: offline (10% of adults), shallow online (10%), deep online (80%). We examine how online services seeking to reach new audiences increasingly face the obstacle of missing demand rather than a lack of consumer skills or access

The app economy still relies on a limited consumer pool, but ecommerce is now reaching almost all of the deep online. Bridging the current gap between occasional and frequent online buyers is a clear opportunity and we are still in the early days of evolving buying services into shopping services

The only industry monetising all online users is advertising. Ad platforms, led by Google and Facebook, also play a critical role expanding the ranks of the deep online and online immersed. But offline brand display media, led by broadcast TV, remain critical for online brands wanting to expand their audience

 

 

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Google
Internet, Media, Technology, TV 28 February 2018
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

 

  • BT
  • EE
  • Liberty Global
  • Ofcom
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Internet, Media, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 23 February 2018
Virgin Media Q4 2017 results: Growth limited by market pressures

Virgin Media’s Q4 performance was a little softer than expected, with subscriber figures quite weak and no improvement in ARPU growth despite a better implementation of its annual price rise

The cause is however likely market-driven, with broadband demand slowing and all operators struggling for ARPU growth, and Virgin Media does now lead the market for subscriber, RGU and revenue growth

The prospects for 2018 are solid if not spectacular, with Project Lightning driving market share gains and ARPU defended by a network speed advantage that will last for many years yet

  • Liberty Global
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Internet, Media, Mobile, Telecoms, UK Media 20 February 2018
TalkTalk Group Q3 2017/18 results: Growth getting more expensive

TalkTalk’s subscriber growth picked up a little in the quarter, but ARPU growth turned back negative, leaving consumer revenue still declining despite the heroic efforts it has made to turn around its subscriber growth in a slowing market

It is expecting even stronger subscriber growth next quarter, but it may need this to maintain ‘headline’ revenue growth given falling ARPU, and the high marketing costs required to achieve this have driven a reduction in EBITDA guidance

The company’s FTTP plans are less dramatic than they first look, with only a £100 million investment commitment over five years. The economics of the build look very challenging, but TalkTalk is minimally exposed to these

  • TalkTalk
Fixed Line, Internet, Media, Mobile, Telecoms, UK Media 19 February 2018
Advertising: this year, next year

We forecast UK display adspend to grow by 3.1% in 2018 (<1% in nominal terms), with TV roughly steady, newspaper decline slowing and digital growth slowing a little

Households are facing an income squeeze and the ability of debt and credit to carry them over is reaching its sensible limit. Brexit-related uncertainties remain the single strongest drag on business investment, dampening ad spend

TV spend is the £5bn question. While live viewing continues to decline, TV delivers against different marketing objectives from precisely targeted online inventory, and rapid broadcaster VOD growth will help hold TV spend steady

  • Channel 4
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • ITV
  • Sky
  • YouTube
Media, Technology, Telecoms 14 February 2018
Trinity Mirror boards consolidation Express

Trinity Mirror’s proposed acquisition of Northern & Shell’s newspapers (Express and Star) and magazines reflects a hunger for consolidation among corporate media, creating scale positions while entrepreneurs step back

The deal makes strategic sense for Trinity Mirror, with material cost savings in printing and back office, and some scale benefits in advertising: important developments if the industry is to generate a differentiated digital offering

DCMS’s announcement of a review to sustain quality national and local news provision sets some welcome mood music for the sector, but the Trinity Mirror acquisition may still face regulatory hurdles

  • Trinity Mirror
Media, UK Media 12 February 2018
Sky H1 2017/18 results: Solid platform, questions on content

Sky H1 results were very solid, maintaining 5% revenue growth and 10% EBITDA growth, with Sky continuing to support a widening product portfolio and more expensive core products with strong cost control and execution

Subscriber volume growth was a little weak at the margin, but this will be helped by all-IP products expanding the economically addressable base in new, and existing, markets 

There remain questions on content, with the outlook for premium football rights uncertain in the UK and Italy, and investment in Originals questionable given a mixed track record, but certainly with upside

 

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky Italia
  • Walt Disney
Media, Telecoms, TV 9 February 2018
Premier League auction: not ripe for GAFAN disruption

The overall scale of the GAFAN digital media giants may be huge, but the cost of becoming a major player in Premier League (PL) football remains utterly disproportionate to the current scale and ambitions of their video businesses in the UK

Furthermore, the main package PL rights are live-only, UK-only, and of limited breadth of appeal, making a poor strategic fit for any of the digital players

The cheaper minor packages, near-live and clips rights may be a better fit, but bidding on these will not move the needle in terms of the £1.7 billion per year main PL auction rights costs

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • BT
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Sky
  • YouTube
Media, TV, UK Media 9 February 2018
Tencent: gaming giant heads west

Tencent, by some counts the world’s most valuable media and entertainment company but still relatively unknown outside Asia, is riding games growth to global clout

The company offers a blueprint for successfully integrating media and entertainment companies, saving on overheads while retaining key talent and organisational culture

Tencent’s recent investments in Snap and Spotify suggest media platform ambitions beyond games in the West, but close ties to the Chinese government could complicate regulatory approval for strategic acquisitions

Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Mobile 8 February 2018
BT Q3 2017/18 results: Under pressure

BT Group revenue growth held steady at -1.5% during the quarter, but this was helped by some recovery in the (still declining) Global Services division, with weaknesses appearing in a number of other areas

BT Consumer is of particular concern, with revenue growth turning negative as a result of declining volumes and weak ARPU growth, which are driven by industry-wide trends that are hard for BT to avoid

Looking forward, the March quarter will be flattered by an overlapping price rise at BT Consumer, but thereafter pressures will resume, with few obvious sources of upside on the horizon

  • BT
  • EE
Fixed Line, Media, Mobile, Telecoms, UK Media 8 February 2018
Chinese online media platforms

Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) have built their leading market positions in Chinese online media on the back of the mobile revolution and an absence of foreign rivals

The big three’s rivalry in online advertising reflects a broader struggle over key gatekeeper roles in the Chinese online economy, albeit one shaped by state intervention

While benefiting from protectionism at home, BAT are weak in most foreign markets and links to the Chinese state may hamper international expansion, particularly in the US 

Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Mobile 31 January 2018
CMA issues provisional findings in Fox-Sky

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that Fox’s acquisition of Sky is against the public interest on media plurality grounds, although it could proceed with an appropriate remedy

The CMA found the merger would give the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) and family members “too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda”

The CMA now enters the challenging remedies phase. Fox could offer an Editorial Board for Sky News pending finalisation of Disney-Fox (by 2019). Third parties seem likely to continue to seek to prohibit the merger

  • 21st Century Fox
  • News UK
  • Sky
21CF Sky specific emails, Non-UK Media, Non-UK Telecoms, Media, Technology, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 30 January 2018
Serie A’s 2018-21 auction morphs into telenovela

The Italian league, unhappy with broadcasters’ bids of €830m, are now holding talks with Spain’s Mediapro, who has offered €950m and would produce a channel to wholesale to all platforms

Mediapro’s bid faces challenging economics given the low potential for an OTT strategy and Sky’s exclusive possession of a sufficiently monetisable subscriber base

Ultimately, we expect Sky to continue its full coverage and to increase its outlay only if it gains more exclusive fixtures

  • Sky
  • Sky Italia
  • Telecom Italia
Media, TV 29 January 2018
Stitch Fix IPO: profits are back in style

Subscription fashion retailer Stitch Fix has gone public, revealing a rare example of a new, private, technology-based company capable of making a profit 

Stitch Fix relies on the ‘mixed intelligence’ of algorithms and human stylists to offer its customers a curated fashion “Fix” of clothing and accessories, aiming to cut through some of the chaos of ecommerce  

Though Stitch Fix’s success is not guaranteed, there is much to be learned from its approach of focusing on building a solid business and generating positive earnings early, rather than growing users at any cost

  • Facebook
  • Google
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Technology, UK Media 15 January 2018
Italy’s Serie A desperately fighting football rights deflation

Results of the league’s new call for tender for its 2018-21 broadcasting rights will be unveiled on 22 January. The platform-based packaging was reviewed after last year’s aborted auction, apparently to accommodate loss-making Mediaset Premium, the participation of which remains nevertheless uncertain

Sky could keep its current satellite and internet coverage without increasing its outlay. We expect no major Telecom Italia (TI) or GAFA bid

Serie A seeks an unrealistic €1.05 billion per year (up 24%). If the auction results fall short, it hopes to sell rights to financial investors or, in a last resort, to launch its own channel – both ideas smacking of recklessness

  • Sky Italia
  • Telecom Italia
Media, TV 10 January 2018
Premier League auction developments: more is less

BT and Sky’s content cross-wholesaling deal much reduces their risks of losing packages in the upcoming Premier League auction, with most of the strategic platform value of exclusive sports rights now wiped out

The PL auction structure offers more games but less value, with the two smaller packages particularly unattractive, which cleverly nudges BT to retain a more expensive package, and thus most of its spending, if it wishes to downsize

While demand from all potential rights buyers appears weak, paying less money to retain the same position will be challenging for the incumbents Sky and BT given high minimum package prices, with courage necessary to force these minimums to be reassessed

  • BT
  • Sky
Media, TV, UK Media 9 January 2018

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