Les Echos 26 October 2016
Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on ITV, that this week announced a workforce reduction, citing "economic and political uncertainty" in Britain. The good results of ITV, the English TF1, were recently rather humiliating for the first French channel. That may be changing, thanks to Brexit. British Prime Free TV Group announced this week it would cut 120 jobs - ITV employs 6,000 people worldwide, including 3,000 in its domestic market - it is still not bleeding, but some think Brexit will weigh heavily on the advertising market on TV in Britain. Accordingly, Toby said "potentially much more than the 2009 financial crisis, due to years of uncertainty about the nature of divorce from the European Union". Furthermore, the problem is that, now, economic growth and consumer confidence seem affected by Brexit, at least in the short term. Toby added that "the decline of the pound, which has increased recently, will increase inflation and cost of life".
The Drum 25 October 2016
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the proposed merge of AT&T and Time Warner – a move that is undoubtedly a logical one from a telecommunications firm looking to swell its data and advertising capabilities. Alice said that is much like the Comcast-NBCU deal that was passed in 2011 subject to conditions imposed by the Justice Department, the AT&T-Time Warner combination faces “a year or more of uncertainty” while the Justice Department does its work. Adding that unlike the Comcast-NBCU deal, this one is being negotiated in the last two weeks of an election where presidential candidate Donald Trump has villainized the media for providing unfavourable coverage on his campaign. She said that the CNN is a particular target of the candidate, who tweeted in April that the network "will soon be the least trusted name in news if they continue to be the press shop for Hillary Clinton". Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said the deal puts too much concentration of power in the hands of too few, even though it is between a telco and an entertainment company. Should he win the election on 8 November, he has asserted the deal "will not be approved in my administration". Alice continues saying that "in this election year, any deal that involves a media asset, whatever its rationale, is bound to be hijacked by candidates for short-term political gain. The central issue for regulators resides more in ensuring that Time Warner channels and premium pay-TV content (HBO) remain available to distributors other than AT&T."
Yahoo 25 October 2016
Francois Godard was quoted in an article on phone companies and content providers strategy in Europe. In France, telco group SFR, which is owned by Netherlands-based Altice, is the latest telecom company to seek sources of exclusive content, via co-financing, co-production or first-run acquisition of sports rights, films and series. Francois said “In France, telecom operators are now seeing content as a differentiator and appear to be ready to spend more money on content and use content more prominently as a way to justify higher prices”.
Financial Times 24 October 2016
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the UK’s biggest joint advertising sales operation. Newspaper groups are moving further towards establishing a sales operation to combat the sharp fall in print revenues. National newspaper publishers met this month and agreed an extended period of research into how they can work together more closely and share costs. However, even if newspaper owners signed off on the joint sales plan, it would be unlikely to launch before 2018 as publishers seek to avoid intervention from regulators which would cause further delays or kill the idea altogether. Claire said “People have to think long and hard about a CMA process that will delay the activation of costs sharing and cost cutting measures that are essential for the industry to have a long-term future.
Les Echos 21 October 2016
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on Rupert Murdoch. At 85, the "kingmaker" Australian-American boasts of making the opinions parallel between the United Kingdom and the United States. Three months after "his" victory Brexit he smoothed the way for Donald Trump. But his obsession is to be in the best position to consolidate its empire on each side of the Atlantic, the day after the US election on November 8th. Claire said "it was he who found the tracks of a" Sun "(note: the British tabloid) during the campaign Brexit, and including that of 14 June "believe in Britain": he boasted throughout London”.
Warc 20 October 2016
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on The Independent. Six months after it became the first UK national newspaper to go digital-only, The Independent has returned to profitability for the first time in more than 20 years, according to its owner. The UK media industry is keeping a close eye on how The Independent's digital strategy fares at a time when traditional print advertising revenues are falling. Douglas said “while The Independent is still an important force in UK political life, there are consequences to its reduced visibility for consumers”. He added that “print newspapers may be retreating, but they remain an extraordinarily influential medium for middle-aged and older audiences”.
Politico 14 October 2016
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the search of the new BBC chairman, one of the most important and politically fraught positions in British Media. The appointment will be one of the most prominent Theresa May has made since becoming prime minister, and a test of her administration’s attitude to the media. The post of chairman is open because Number 10 went cold on Rona Fairhead, the Trust head. David Cameron had asked her to chair the new enlarged board when the Trust is mothballed and to remain until 2018, for the sake of continuity. But after Cameron stepped down and May took over, Fairhead was told she would have to apply for the chairman post. She declined. Claire said, although the new regime in Downing Street appears to have been less than enthusiastic about Fairhead staying on, she was quietly effective in a difficult role as head of the Trust. Fairhead was “the most apolitical chair [of the BBC] that I’ve ever known,” she brought a rigorous, low-key, business-like approach to running the organization and emerged as an “unsung hero” of the charter process, ensuring the interests of viewers were protected and the BBC’s editorial independence maintained.
AskMen 14 October 2016
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the results of three new studies on sexist behaviour, and the fact that certain men’s magazines are preventing society from moving forward in terms of egalitarian treatment of the sexes. The studies shows that 81 UK men were presented with sexist jokes. When the jokes were contained in a so-called "lads' mag" (magazines aimed at young men popular in the late 90s and early 2000s), the men, between the ages of 18 and 50, considered them less hostile. Douglas said “Lad magazines were a temporary phenomenon that grew out of a particularly British humour, which is very knowing yet childish. Free content online destroyed the short-lived paid print model.” The problem hasn’t exactly gone away. According to Douglas, “Consumption for teen and young adult men has moved online and the nature of the content has diversified.” Commenting on the emergence of the Lad Bible as the most popular website in the UK, Douglas points out, “On one hand, the Lad Bible is less extreme than some magazine content was 15 years ago, but on the other hand, porn is a much more extreme manifestation of lads' magazine photoshoots.”
Les Echos 13 October 2016
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Amazon launch of new music service with different prices depending on the profile of its customers. The streaming market is growing rapidly, with over 18 million subscribers to paid services at the end of June in the United States, doubling year on year, and around 70 million subscribers worldwide for operators the most famous. Activity is however hardly profitable, to the extent that it must pay holders of music rights. Pandora or Spotify, for example, posted annual losses. And this new effort on prices could weaken competition. Amazon, he can afford to lose money with a streaming service, to energize other products and services that can be more lucrative. Alice said "Amazon wants Echo is at the center of the family universe. It allows to make purchases, or access to other Amazon services. E t above, Echo Amazon feeds into user data".
Videonet 13 October 2016
Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on TV viewing among young people. Enders Analysis is forecasting that the rate of decline in TV viewing among younger people is going to slow dramatically. Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum event on Tuesday, Toby Syfret, Head of TV for the subscription research firm, said the really big changes in where younger consumers – those under 35 so including the millennials and Gen Z – watch their entertainment has already happened. “We think there will be a sharp moderation [in the rate of decline]. We are confident that this is going to happen in the next year or so.” He did also warn that viewing habits among the older age groups will keep changing as they become more familiar with new technology – and as younger viewers become older.
TV Europe 6 October 2016
Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on the British TV market, where one of the many paradoxes— regarded as one of the world’s most dynamic—is that while viewers are embracing online content wholeheartedly, the popularity of linear TV remains robust. Pay TV, which has long been big business in the UK with 11.3 million homes subscribe to Sky, and about 65 percent of U.K. homes have a pay-TV subscription. Toby said “Sky has done a lot to improve its health by developing extra revenue streams from things like NOW TV (an online service) and the Sky Store (a buy-to-keep service), in terms of “cord cutting and shaving, the U.K. doesn’t have the same issues and urgency that the U.S. has.”
Nonetheless, the cornerstone of the British TV remains the BBC, which at the beginning of 2018 has to start paying for the cost of free license fees for Britain’s growing army of people aged 75 and over. Accordingly, there are worries that the imminent reform of BBC Studios, which is set to be reborn as a stand-alone commercial entity, could have a negative impact on Auntie’s public-service ethos. Toby commented saying “at the moment, when the BBC works on, say, a David Attenborough program, an experienced team will know instinctively what is expected of them and what the vision for the project is. They are not thinking primarily of where the program could be sold to, or how it will be marketed, but have objectives consistent with the classic Reithian [a reference to the BBC’s founder, Lord John Reith] ones to inform and educate as well as to entertain. My concern is that a commercially-driven BBC Studios could be disruptive and have an impact on the BBC’s unique production ethos.”
The Guardian 4 October 2016
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on Viceland UK, which launched on 19 September exclusively on Sky, has only managed a peak audience of just under 14,000 during 9pm to 11pm in its first two weeks of broadcast. According to Enders the channel’s best result attracting 16- to 34-year-olds, the market at which Vice is targeted, was fewer than 10,000 viewers one night during the first two weeks. Tom said that Viceland UK represented a “lacklustre launch”, following a “similarly underwhelming” debut in the US earlier this year. He added “it is surely early days, but despite strong content, the initial results were predictable, considering the challenges. The response by Vice, that viewing figures are essentially immaterial to its plans, was expected, but deviated from earlier bullish sentiment.” Enders said that the channel was always going to struggle due to factors including being so far down the TV electronic programme guide at slot 153 in the general and entertainment listings. Furthermore, Tom said “Vice has paid for a home where browsing footfall is rapidly diminishing, surrounded by neighbours, which tellingly, create no original programming, added to this is a marketing budget which is seemingly unable to stretch to anything outside the already enraptured Vice-sphere.”
The Times 3 October 2016
Thomas Caldecott was quoted in an article on the parent company of the Telegraph Media Group which has paid its owners a dividend of £150 million while swinging to a big loss, heightening speculation that its owners, Sir Frederick Barclay and his twin brother, Sir David, may be preparing a sale of the newspaper group. Thomas said the Telegraph group was financially robust. However, it had been forced to cut costs and was arriving at a point where it could not extract overheads without compromising the quality of the product.
Bloomberg 3 October 2016
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the National Football League in America, which turns out losing to export Football to an overseas audience. Curiously England is giving the league a clinic on how to export a sport–in this case what the rest of the world calls football, not “American football.” English Premier League teams, fueled by an NBC broadcasting blitz, are becoming more popular with U.S. residents than the Packers or Broncos or Jacksonville Jaguars are in the U.K., where the NFL is making its highest-profile push abroad. The trans-Atlantic drive is important for both leagues. Each faces saturation at home, so to grow they must build foreign audiences. While popularity is hard to quantify, the English are beating the NFL on at least one critical measure: TV ratings and revenue. Claire said "I don't think the NFL is ever going to conquer the U.K” estimating the NFL's unlikely to be getting much more than £10 million ($13 million) to £15 million a year from U.K. television contracts. Asked why, she responds simply. "We don't play it, we don't teach it."
Variety 30 September 2016
Francois Godard was quoted in an article on the closure of HBO Netherlands - HBO operates HBO Netherlands as a joint venture with Ziggo, the leading Dutch cable TV platform owned by John Malone’s Liberty Global. HBO confirmed that its Netherlands programming services (HBO1, HBO2, HBO3, HBO On Demand and HBO GO) will cease to be distributed after Dec. 31 and will no longer be available to customers. Francois said that Efforts of HBO Go to face off with Netflix in Scandinavia have been “very disappointing”. In contrast, in Britain, HBO has seen large success as a cornerstone content supplier exclusively on Sky Atlantic, Sky’s high-profile drama service. He added “selling all your programs to someone who has the subscriber relationship and is good at selling may have been seen as a better model”.
Digiday 28 September 2016
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the New York Times ambitious target of doubling its digital business in the next five years. Douglas said that the 150-year-old brand’s global reputation in Europe is excellent. But like any news business expanding internationally, it’s typically limited to expats or professionals for whom a U.S. angle is relevant — a challenge it will need to overcome to grow. He added “the international edition does not yet transcend those limitations. Clearly, events such as the forthcoming U.S. election will make the NYT, and other U.S. media, more relevant to more people, but on an ongoing basis, its appeal and necessity will be relatively niche.”
The Times 26 September 2016
Alice Enders was quoted in an article discussing the UK's possible post-Brexit trade arrangements with the EU, saying “All of this can be done without any mess or fuss. There can be a transitional period of post-Brexit tariff-free trade between the UK and the EU until a formal free-trade arrangement is finalised — this is the wholehearted wish of EU companies reliant on supply chains involving the UK. “There is much precedent for such an arrangement from the EU side. And this would not involve the UK continuing with unchecked migration from the EU or substantial payments into the EU budget.”
Ms Enders was absolutely not in favour of Brexit: this is dispassionate analysis, not politically motivated wishful thinking.
FIPP 20 September 2016
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on news content in the digital era which, despite the overflow of information available on the internet, consumers are keen to digest from trusted news brand. Douglas said “they want the news in a timely way and they want to understand the context and the implications of the news, the weekend newspapers and news magazines are particularly good at the latter, and as information and news moves more quickly, these digests grow in importance rather than otherwise.”
Consumers are being updated on how their world is changing constantly throughout the day, and get their news not only from traditional news suppliers, but also brands, social media and other platforms. He added, “But, that in no way reduces the need, indeed, it could be argued it increases the need for a news provision that details the context, that provides commentary and analysis, that provides an authoritative view and opinion on what is happening and why it is happening,”. The rapid pace and creation of news content online means people can be constantly up to date with events as they happen. However, having a detailed commentary, background, analysis or opinion on the event is not something people want to necessarily read every minute, according to Douglas. “There is something just that intuitively feels right about a digest on a weekly basis,”. He added “How often do you need a commentary and digest of what has happened? Is it appropriate to provide that on an hourly basis, a daily basis, a weekly, a monthly basis? A quarterly basis? Weekly just feels right.” “That is why, generally speaking, weekend editions of quality newspapers or weekly magazines are holding up a bit better than weekday newspapers. News magazines are clearly doing very well. Circulations are fairly stable and they tend to have quite high subscription volumes and so on.”
Financial Times 19 September 2016
Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on the war for content in broadcasting. Last week, public service broadcaster Channel 4 bought the rights to screen The Great British Bake Off, the UK’s most popular TV show, for a reported £75m over three years. The deal reflects how competitive the market for watchable programming has become. Toby reckons that Channel 4 should make a modest profit on its rumoured outlay if more than 5m viewers regularly watch the show.
The Guardian 14 September 2016
Toby was quoted in an article on the decision to move the popular show “Great British bake off” from the BBC to Channel 4. Toby said that even if Channel 4 drew less than half the audience that Bake Off had on the BBC, it would still prove financially beneficial. He estimated that advert and media buys would bring in about £3m per episode, with each series currently made up of 11 episodes. He says “if Bake Off gets even half the success on Channel 4 that it got on the BBC, it will more than cover itself,” adding that “Channel 4 are likely to charge premium rates in terms of airtime, in the region of £50,000 to £100,000 for 30-second slots, even if it just gets audiences of around 3 million, and if Bake Off draws in 5 or 6 million then that will be another step up. “It doesn’t have to get anything like the audience it had on BBC1 to be successful and make back the £25m it spent.”