Vodafone Q1 2016/17 results: Price-led growth
Vodafone Europe’s mobile service revenue growth continued to recover, despite regulatory and calendric headwinds, and continued customer service issues in its UK business
The improvement was driven by fairly aggressive price increases, most acutely in Spain, which drove fairly dramatic ARPU growth improvements but also subscriber growth slowdowns
While using network improvements to drive pricing premia is a sound strategy, the timing may be a little premature, and any significant macroeconomic Brexit impact may force Vodafone to reverse course
|Mobile, Telecoms||26 July 2016|
Mid-form video: Beyond the long and the short of it
Video content is crudely defined. If something is not very short (<10 minutes) then it tends to be considered long-form. But there is a middle ground - one which displays a distinctive combination of characteristics in terms of production, broadcasting and viewing
Mid-form video (between 10 and 20 minutes) has the ability to carry the narrative arcs normally associated with long-form programming, whilst also retaining the snackable and shareable attributes of short-form
The footprint of mid-form is, so far, small. However, it is growing, as its unique qualities, such as excellent ad completion, become more readily recognised
|Media||22 July 2016|
European mobile in Q1 2016: Resilience of the dumb pipe
European service revenue growth improved in aggregate but with traction noticeably gradual and fragile, and growth remains negative. The future of this fragile recovery is highly uncertain in the wake of a vote to take the UK out of the EU. Most economists have budgeted a slowdown in UK GDP growth, revising 2017 expectations from around 2% to near zero or below. The IMF expect 1.3% growth in 2017 (-1ppt revision) based on “limited” Brexit impact with implied potential for further downward revisions, and it has made more modest cuts to forecasts for other European markets
Mobile service revenues are susceptible to the slowdown but we believe there to be sources of resilience in the revenue stream that would temper the impact including much reduced prepay share of the base, heavily eroded ARPU differential of contract users over prepay and contract tariff value for money, bundling trends, high smartphone penetration (>64%) and data attachment rates (>75%), and 4G coverage and penetration
Following a failed acquisition of O2 in the UK, H3G have turned focus to the proposed JV merger with Wind in Italy where offered remedies are rumoured to have been found acceptable although official confirmation (pending) is only due by 8 September. These include furnishing Iliad as a replacement fourth market entrant with uncertain consequences for the Italian market
|Mobile, Telecoms||21 July 2016|
Radio’s relevance to younger adults in danger
Both the commercial and BBC radio sectors generally seem to be in good shape, with radio listening also appearing robust. However, this masks a steep decline among younger adults that shows no sign of slowing down
With radio content available at the swipe of a finger, the linear schedule becomes less relevant, and the challenge broadcasters face is to create online hooks for the broadcast output
News Corp’s acquisition of TalkSPORT will open up new business opportunities as well as consumer engagement across The Sun and TalkSPORT and may prove an important milestone for the Sun brand
|Media, Music and Radio, UK Media||21 July 2016|
Mobile Google: beyond the smartphone
Google’s recent product updates and developer conference announcements aim for as many users on as many platforms and devices as possible – a return to strategic form
The company has a dual approach: using Android as a mobile trend-setter while also devising new ways for users and developers on other platforms to use Google services
The reach provided by these initiatives will help Google’s machine learning algorithms to better understand and predict user intent – the cornerstone of the company’s ad business
|Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, UK Media||18 July 2016|
iPhone under pressure
Adverse market trends are finally touching the iPhone, the mainstay of Apple’s business, which looks healthy in the short term but is facing substantial threats further out
In response, Apple has changed its iPhone pricing, is warming up to developers and seeks to address long-standing problems with its first-party service offerings
While some of the holes in Apple’s service suite are now being patched, the company is still playing catch-up to rivals Google and Amazon in areas like smart assistants, maps and the connected home
|Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology||15 July 2016|
Pokémon Go and the resurrection of Nintendo
The success of Pokémon Go on iOS and Android has met long-held expectations for Nintendo’s potential on mobile
While buoyed by the strength of Nintendo’s intellectual property, the game’s reception also demonstrates how compelling augmented reality can be for user engagement
Would be imitators will quickly follow, but success is likely to be elusive without a close partnership with one of the leading online platforms
|Internet, Media, Technology, Telecoms||15 July 2016|
Opportunities in online commissions
Online growth has opened up a new window of opportunity for production companies in short and mid form “online-first” content, with the last few years seeing a steady increase in the number of production companies entering this space
So far, persistently low broadcaster online-first budgets and poor financial returns from video distributed online has held back growth of mid and short form video. Instead, the main growth in recent times has come from “brand” commissions
Yet whatever the type of commission and its financial value, short and mid form commissions are eagerly sought after, whether as a potentially lucrative income stream, especially in the case of branded content, or as a calling card for long-form commissions from broadcasters and OTT players such as Netflix and Amazon
|Media, TV, UK Media||13 July 2016|
Retransmission fees: looking less likely
The DCMS has published the government’s response to its consultation on the balance of payments between television platforms and public service broadcasters, the so-called issue of retransmission fees
One sure outcome is that Section 73 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (CPDA) 1988, which has hitherto protected cable operators (i.e. Virgin Media) from having to pay retransmission fees, is outmoded and will go
But, we now have a disconnect. The government has stated unequivocally that it expects the continuation of no net carriage payments between the licensed PSBs and the platform operators and may consider legislative changes to ensure this. And yet ITV sees the government response as a welcome first step towards their introduction
|Media, TV||11 July 2016|
Consumer Magazines: Print still key; radical innovation emerging
UK consumer magazine print circulation fell -9% in 2015 while total display advertising fell -7% as magazines continue to outperform other press categories.
However, the overall picture is still one of falling consumer and advertiser demand and the fierce competition for user attention and advertising spend online is reflected in consumer magazine digital display advertising growth of just 12%: about half of the total online display growth rate in 2015.
At the same time publishers are starting to embrace radical innovation using their brands to produce multiple revenue streams ranging from e-commerce to events, as we explore in our four publisher case studies included in this report.
|Media||5 July 2016|
UK mobile market Q1 2016: Future uncertain
UK mobile service revenue growth marginally improved in Q1, to 0.5% from 0.3% in the previous quarter, with the market now having been stuck at a modest but positive growth level for two full years. The improvement was driven by contract ARPU growth improvements, across all of the operators, partially mitigated by a drop in contract subscriber volume growth, perhaps influenced by a weak market for new handsets
Looking forward, the competitive outlook is very uncertain; while EE is looking to increase its network lead, whether it wishes to use this to boost share or pricing is unclear, O2’s future owners may have different strategic priorities to the status quo, H3G will likely take innovative approaches, which are tautologically hard to predict, and Vodafone UK remains Vodafone’s only large European market without a scale position in consumer broadband, a situation it is likely to want to rectify in due course
While before the Brexit referendum, we would have concluded that the outlook for market-wide revenue growth was reasonably positive in spite of this, with ever-strong data volume growth contrasting with constrained spectrum supply, the extra economic uncertainty due to the referendum result puts this at least partly in doubt. The mobile market is likely to be relatively insensitive to macroeconomic conditions given its increasingly essential nature, but there is some sensitivity, particularly if population growth slows or reverses. Our base case assumption is a dip in growth of 1-2ppts in 2017 as a consequence of Brexit
|Telecoms||5 July 2016|
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|
Global music publishing 2016
Music publishing revenues are trending up in a broad sustainable manner across the US, Europe and Japan, underpinned by longstanding music rights regimes
Purchasing is down and streaming taking off, driving a mechanical to performance transition, with direct licensing of Anglo-American repertoire in Europe as in the US
Public performance revenues collected by PROs are also rising as live music grows, general business conditions improve, while TV audiences remain resilient
|Media, Music and Radio||28 June 2016|
Parents and their children online
Cinema, TV and VOD services share in the same ratings regime in the UK, giving parents confidence they can discern content unsuitable for their children.
Risks to children of being exposed to unsuitable content and advertising multiply on the 'open' internet.
Parental controls supplied by ISPs are key to filtering content and sites, although a unified approach is better
|Internet, Media, Telecoms, TV||27 June 2016|
UK mobile user survey 2015: Ambition versus perception
Our survey results highlighted disconnects between operator ambition and consumer perceptions across customer loyalty, network performance and quad play, with noteworthy implications for future competitive performance. O2 in particular benefited from strong branding which yielded network confidence and loyalty above that of top network investors, EE and Vodafone
Convergence prospects continue to look supplier driven with consumers reporting little interest in quad play packages even when offered with significant bundle discounts. Recent advertising campaigns have sought to change consumer perceptions of a dichotomy in mobile and fixed broadband provisioning which, if successful, will be to the benefit of all quad play hopefuls
The mobile usage disparities between 16-24 year olds and 55+ users are stark, for instance near 100% of mobile users aged 16-24 own a smartphone while for those 55+, this falls to just over half. The implications are strong for service providers in all manner of industries who are seeing new (younger) users come to market that bear little resemblance to the traditional users around whom much of the operational model is typically built
|Mobile, Telecoms||23 June 2016|
Consumers and digital marketing
UK digital advertising will grow beyond £10 billion by 2018 by our estimates, representing more than half of all advertising spend and delivering the most advanced large advertising market in the world on a per capita basis.
Nevertheless, we see critical issues in digital marketing that are frequently acknowledged, but hard to fix.
At the heart of our hypothesis is the view that the marketing industry – brands, agencies and media – has focused on technology and efficiencies at the expense of consumer experience and distinctiveness.
|Internet, Media, Technology, Telecoms, TV||22 June 2016|
TV genres and viewing trends over time
TV viewing has one reliable, long term trend: programme genres are watched by consumers at predictable life stages and ages
At a high level, there has been little manipulation of the balance of genres being broadcast. But amongst the sub-genres, editorial optimisation has resulted in an uptick in actual viewing
As the core viewing age of linear television rises, there is an opportunity for broadcasters to leverage this to create the most desirable schedule for their available audience by daypart; with genres that transcend demographics when younger viewers tune in
|Media||16 June 2016|
Sky plays long term with Bundesliga
The award of the match packages in the 2017-21 domestic football rights auction in Germany is probably optimal for Sky (within the “no single buyer” constraint): it will broadcast about eight out of nine weekly fixtures including the top picks, while Eurosport’s package is complementary to Sky’s rather than substitutional
Sky will, however, pay a hefty price, with the new contract costing 80% more than the current one – although the new Bundesliga rights value is not out of line with other Continental leagues
We expect Sky’s German operations to briefly break even in fiscal 2017 before falling back into losses with a return to profit if other costs are kept under control. Management has made a bold statement of self-confidence: building scale is the priority
|Non-UK Media, Media, TV||14 June 2016|
UK news media: less advertising, new models
The decline in print display advertising in national newspapers accelerated to -16% in 2015, while growth in digital advertising is slowing, and will be unable to offset revenue decline for the foreseeable future.
We believe this decline is structural and irreversible, continuing at a sharper pace than before despite the recovery in the UK economy in 2013-2015, and very different from the cyclical decline of 2009.
Publishers must convince brands and agencies that in the mobile era their superior content environments have added value. If scale newsrooms are to survive, costs must be reduced through collaboration and outsourcing.
|Media||8 June 2016|
Europe's Creative Hubs 2016
Europe's Creative Hubs 2016 was commissioned by Bertelsmann and produced by Enders Analysis.
|Non-UK Media, Non-UK Telecoms, Internet, Media, Music and Radio, Non UK Media, Technology, Telecoms, TV, UK Media||8 June 2016|