Reuters 22 March 2017
Matti Littunen was quoted in an article on ad-blocking tools, which has launched a prolonged debate in the advertising industry. In fact, a broad coalition of advertising trade groups, ad buyers and sellers from Western Europe and the United States have urged the industry to stop using annoying online marketing formats that have fuelled the rapid rise of ad-blockers. Matti said the ad formats identified by the coalition "have already been discouraged for years by these bodies and yet are still commonplace”. Facebook, the second largest advertising platform after Google, warned in 2015 that ad-blockers were crimping its revenue. It has responded by severely curtailing unpopular ad formats while implementing technology to make ads on its site tamper proof, by in effect blocking the ad-blockers. Still, Matti questions whether the measures go far enough. Adding that "some reasons for ad blocking are not addressed by this, most notably long load times (due to poorly optimized ad content or excessive server calls by third party tracking software) and the lack of easy consumer control over how their data is collected, profiled, and used for ad targeting online".
The Financial Times 20 March 2017
François Godard was quoted in an article on the rising tensions between Mediaset and Vivendi over the Vivendi’s deal to acquire 3.5 percent of the Italian group. Despite reports in Italy of a possible peace deal between the two parties, Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi’s chief executive, has accused the Italian group of providing “misleading” information during negotiations. Francois said that he would “not be surprised” if Mediaset had been “too optimistic about its assets”, when the Italian group struck its agreement with Vivendi last April. He added that “they could have said a lot of things. But on the other hand I do not think Bolloré is a person who believes everything he is told.”
the Guardian 20 March 2017
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on the Channel 4 announcement regarding the new lineup of the Great British Bake Off. Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, were announced as the replacements for hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Tom said “Channel 4 has its remit that it has to fulfil: it needs to be distinctive, innovative, and focus on minority audiences. It’s supposed to distinguish itself from the BBC. But it also doesn’t want to change Bake Off. So you’ve got Toksvig who seems like the stereotypical BBC host, and you’ve got Fielding who is for that youthful demographic that they will be hoping to maintain.” He added “but it’s more than the sum of its parts, it’s more than just the hosts. The major talent is the casting of the contestants, having a good mix of them who work well together. When most of the hosts left, people made the joke that all Channel 4 had bought was a tent. But the tent is genius. There’s something about being in a tent, the colour palette, the way everything faces, that will all be familiar. That’s what Channel 4 bought.”
the Guardian 20 March 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on sales of physical books in the UK, which are now outperforming digital titles as a result of changes to Amazon’s deal with publishers. Sales of physical books increased 4% last year while sales of eBook shrank by the same amount. Douglas reckons that e-readers will continue to fall out of favour but that older readers will remain fans, not least because of the appeal of being able to “make the font bigger”.
The Times 20 March 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on George Osborne’s first tasks as editor of the London Evening Standard. Mr Osborne must find new ways of raising revenue, with cost-cutting expected later in the year. Douglas said that the paper’s profits were positive “compared to where they were a few years ago”, but the decline in print advertising was likely to result in a loss for the paper. He added, “you could argue that [Osborne’s] a man who has some experience of taking on a distressed set of accounts”.
Bloomberg 16 March 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on Rupert Murdoch’s bid to buy the rest of Sky Plc. However, this morning Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, issued a European Intervention notice concerning the bid. At the time of the previous takeover bid, six years ago, Ofcom raised concerns around the effect on media plurality, prompting News Corp. to offer to spin off Sky News into a separate, independent company. Claire said that such a spinoff remains a prospect this time around.
Financial Times 15 March 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the resignation of David Abraham as chief executive of Channel 4. David has run Channel 4 for seven years and is credited with restoring financial stability. Claire said financial stability was Mr Abrahams’ greatest achievement. She added “when David came in, Channel 4 was a busted flush, he has restored the company’s financial fortunes.”
Financial Times 10 March 2017
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on Netflix, who seeks for a subscriber boost due to the increased competition with Amazon and Sky on local content. Tom said “in terms of original content, it does seem like Amazon is a more concerted effort than Netflix. In India, they’re doing eight separate programmes. They’re really looking to localise their content rather than what could be considered window dressing”.
Les Echos 7 March 2017
Gill Hind was quoted in an article on BT, which shows that sport remains the key part to pay-TV. The UK's historic telecommunications operator, which estimated its salvation from content purchases starting in 2013, will pay 1.2 billion pounds for the total exclusivity of Three seasons of the Champions League and Europa League, from summer 2018. This represents 394 million per season and 32% more than the previous three seasons, which BT had delighted for 897 million to Sky, its big competitor In pay television across the Channel. Gill said BT acquires "much more" football content than in the previous auction.
The New York Times 1 March 2017
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on the global expansion of Netflix. The Orange deal, one of Netflix’s first international partnerships, is a case in point. The company’s partnerships with cable and cellphone operators worldwide give it almost instantaneous access to potential new users without having to spend a fortune on advertising and distribution deals in markets where its brand and content are often still relatively unknown. Tom said “Netflix wants to be exposed to as many people as it can”, adding that, “Telecom operators want to keep people inside their walls, so they are willing to let Netflix in”.
Digiday UK 1 March 2017
Matti Littunen was quoted in an article on Facebook Live, which is stagnating in the U.K. In January, pages run by media companies in the U.K., like BBC Sport, The Guardian, Daily Mail and Sky News, created 850 Facebook Live videos, according to SocialBakers data, a number that has remained flat for the last six months. Matti said “very few professional publishers did well on Live under the subsidies, apart from some TV networks and sports leagues for promotional content”.
Campaign 23 February 2017
James Barford was quoted in an article on O2's decision to renew the naming rights for The O2, the London entertainment arena, which reflects the importance of the partnership in maintaining customer loyalty in the mobile market. James said there was evidence that O2’s partnership with the arena and other music venues "does help with loyalty". He cited figures that show O2 is the market leader in the UK at reducing churn – the rate at which subscribers quit – and was "the strongest-growing mobile operator" last year.
Racounter 22 February 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the future of Media & Entertainment. Internet TV is beaming big-budget programming into UK homes as some viewers switch off from traditional broadcasters - Drama is turning into a crisis for traditional TV stations. Internet streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime are pouring billions of dollars into creating original, high-quality drama and programming, far outstripping the budgets of established broadcasters. Meanwhile, subscribers to internet streaming services have rocketed in the UK. Netflix subscriber numbers rose to 6.1 million by the end of 2016 from 2.7 million in 2014. Amazon subscribers climbed to 2.5 million in 2016 from 1.5 million in 2014. Claire said “the peak of UK viewing was during the 2012 Olympics across every demographic. We are looking at five years of decline since that peak”. However, Claire plays down the idea that established TV stations will be killed off by internet viewing. “Over the last 35 years, everything that comes along finds it place. Very few things ever disappear, they become more efficient”.
Financial Times 15 February 2017
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the newspaper industry. As print's fortunes continue to decline, prominent publishers such as the New York Times are increasingly relying on their digital future. On both sides of the Atlantic publishers were reinvigorated by the globe-shaking news events of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Claire Enders says that while the trends in the UK and US mirror each other, many newspaper groups would have fared better had they not wasted so much money on new digital ventures. She added “The remarkable story in the UK is that more titles have not followed the Independent’s lead and gone digital only. There is still enough scale to keep newspapers going.”
Digiday 14 February 2017
Thomas Caldecott was quoted in an article on how The Economist is focusing on increasing profitability by growing digital subscriptions. The Economist is very clear about what it wants out of platforms: to reach non-subscribers and give them samples of Economist content to eventually turn into more subscribers. Thomas said “the slowing of digital subscribers isn’t a surprise”, adding that it’s not a reflection on the product but wider economic trends. Thomas added that “It’s a very good case study of if you provide some free content you can increase your ad scale and reach new readers, as long as it’s cleverly designed and executed intelligently. With the content that The Economist creates, they are better placed than most.”
Bloomberg 8 February 2017
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the amendments to the proposed Digital Economy Bill, which would subject media acquirers to a so-called fit-and-proper test in order to hold a broadcasting license. The test would look at any past criminal wrongdoing and corporate-governance failures -- ensuring Murdoch and his son, James, who is chairman of Sky and chief executive officer of Fox, would face new scrutiny over their handling of a hacking scandal that derailed an earlier offer for Sky. Alice said “We don’t think this is going to derail the bid at all”, citing difficulties of getting the amendments passed through both houses of Parliament. “It’s not going to interfere with the process of regulatory clearance at the European Commission.”
Financial Times 8 February 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the book industry, where there are signs of a book renaissance all around. Waterstones, the UK book chain, returned to profit last year after suffering six years of losses. Sales of print books in the US rose by 3 per cent, while those of eBooks have fallen. Digital technology has not unleashed the same revolution in publishing that it has for music, television and news. The book, in digital or printed from, has been more stable than other kinds of media. Douglas said “we read books one at a time and each one takes us days”.
Financial Times 6 February 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the expansion of Axel Springer news service, Upday, from four to 16 countries in Europe, as the German media group accelerates its shift into digital publishing. Upday, it’s a news aggregator that uses human editors as well as an algorithm to select news stories, it was developed as part of an exclusive partnership with Samsung and launched in Germany, Poland, the UK and France last February. Douglas said that the outlook for app advertising was promising. Adding that “Publishers are able to charge a premium for app advertising because the user is more loyal and engaged than the mobile web audience, and it is a much less intrusive experience, so we see this as positive.”
Business Insider 1 February 2017
Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on the dispute between Sky and Discovery. After an eleventh-hour deal between the two broadcasters, they have hit upon a compromise. The agreement, known as a carriage deal, means that Discovery will not remove its 13 channels from the Sky platform as it originally threatened. However, no details were given about the length or the financial terms of the deal, but there was still some residual frostiness in their statements. Toby said "As one broadcaster, who shall remain unnamed once said to me: When it comes to carriage deals, Sky gives you just enough oxygen to breathe", adding that "It's in the interests of both parties to reach an agreement."
Financial Times 30 January 2017
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on Bertelsmann, the German conglomerate, which owns 53 per cent, is looking to raise its stake in Penguin Random House. Especially after the UK professional publisher Pearson said it planned to sell its 47 per cent share in the company. However, it comes at a time when the digital revolution is utterly transforming traditional business models and rewriting the rule-book for industries, from music and media to travel and financial services. Moreover, when many believed publishing would also fall victim to digital disruption, Douglas said “the physical book market has turned out to be more resilient than anyone expected”.