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  • TalkTalk
  • Fixed Line
  • Telecoms

TalkTalk accelerated subscriber and revenue growth in the March quarter, but stripping out the effect of acquisitions we estimate that organic growth was roughly in line with the previous quarter

Its EBITDA grew 15% for the 2014/15 financial year, but margin expansion reversed in H2, with lower gross margin and higher broadband marketing costs causing the damage

The company’s 25% EBITDA margin target in 2016/17 continues to look challenging, but continued strong revenue growth and some margin expansion looks likely

  • UKTV
  • Media
  • TV
  • UK Media

UKTV 2014 results show a 2% increase in total revenues and a 10% year-on-year increase in EBITDA to £74.1 million, though the costs associated with the launch of Drama in 2013 will have contributed to the higher EBITDA increase

The 2% total revenue increase is surprisingly low, since we would have expected a circa 8-9% increase in UKTV’s main advertising revenue stream in 2014 due to a 5.4% increase in total TV NAR on top of a 2.9% growth in UKTV adult SOCI during 2013, with the lagged revenue benefits accruing in 2014

Whilst the outlook for 2015 appears very promising, the focus is now on investment in content, above all on new commissions, as a driver of revenue and audience share now that the factors behind UKTV’s successful rise since the Freeview launch in 2002 have largely played out

  • Virgin Media
  • Fixed Line
  • Telecoms

Virgin Media’s subscriber trends were a little weak in Q1 compared to previous trends, with intense promotional activity from competitors hurting, but it still expanded its base

ARPU was also relatively weak due to various VAT and pricing changes, but it still grew, leading to cable revenue growth of 3% versus 4% in the previous quarter, and OCF growth of 5% versus 9% in the previous quarter

This growth level is likely to accelerate over the year as subscriber momentum improves and one-off effects annualise out, with the benefits of footprint extension mainly impacting from 2016

  • BBC
  • Media
  • Public Policy
  • TV

With both the current Royal Charter and licence fee settlement expiring in the next two years, press headlines proclaim the BBC has much to fear from the new Conservative government

Having read through the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's recent "Future of the BBC" report, which was led by the newly-appointed Culture Secretary, we do not share the same view

However, any reduction in BBC funding is likely to lead to further tightening of TV and radio programming budgets, with far reaching consequences across the entire UK creative sector

  • BT
  • Fixed Line
  • Telecoms

BT had a somewhat mixed March quarter, with growth in consumer still strong but weaker than before, growth in UK corporate weak and even weaker than before, but fibre growth re-accelerating and cost-cutting very strong

The company is still well on track, with 2015/16 revenue guidance reflecting fibre-driven consumer growth countered by UK corporate weakness, and EBITDA guidance reflecting strong cost-cutting partially mitigated by extra football rights costs

Operationally the next few months will likely be dominated by the launch of BT’s Champions League coverage and associated marketing, with various regulatory processes keeping the company busy at the strategic level

  • Microsoft
  • Sony
  • Media
  • Technology

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Mobile World Congress (MWC) saw major announcements in virtual reality and new generation streaming game consoles, as well as further opening up of access to game engine software

Latest earnings reports show that major publishers and developers are currently in buoyant form as growth in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One install base boosts revenue and consumers migrate to digital sales

Results for developers dependent on the mobile or online ecosystem are more mixed: King (producer of Candy Crush) continues to grow, but Zynga is struggling, although recent performance hints at a possible halt in its decline