Facebook: how to win friends and influence publishers and developers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has set out a vision of the social network as the hub of a personalised internet based on real identities and connections – the so called ‘Social Graph’, with Facebook providing the infrastructure

Simplified tools for apps and new social plug-ins for third party sites will increase Facebook’s influence both on and off the core platform, but raise some privacy concerns

BT 2009/10 Q4 results: strong cost control and better visibility, but a tough year ahead

BT met its guidance for the year to March 2010, although the improvement this quarter was more modest and concentrated at Global Services

New guidance gives an exceptional level of visibility over the next three years which, although welcome, reflects the challenges which lie ahead

BT has stepped smartly back from the brink but, as management concedes, there is much left to do, particularly at Global Services, which continues to burn cash

 

Vodafone 2009/10 FY results: economic recovery benefits revenue, costs not-so-much

Vodafone Europe’s organic revenue growth improved again, from -3.2% to -2.4%, with it enjoying a fair share of the improvement in mobile market growth driven by improving economies across Europe

EBITDA margin fell, partly as a result of weak cost control but mainly because SAC/SRCs rose as Vodafone subsidised consumers getting more expensive handsets, which involves a short term (but not long term) profitability hit

Yell signals strategic shift

On 18 May Yell published a roughly as expected revenue decline for the year of 13.8%, and announced the departure of both its CEO and Finance Director, just six months after its mammoth refinancing was secured

The City responded swiftly and brutally, wiping 23% off the share price on further evidence of structural decline for the legacy print business, as well as instability at a critical time for Yell

Apple and Google: Apps, iAd and War

In June, Apple’s new ‘iAd’ unit will begin serving ads within iPhone apps. iAd will compete with Google’s AdMob, paralleling Google Android’s competition with the iPhone, as the two companies contend to shape how people will use the mobile internet

The iPhone’s success is underpinned by apps, which draw in both consumers and publishers in a virtuous circle, but undercut Google’s search model. With iAd, Apple seeks to make sure iPhone apps remain the most profitable place for publishers

Commercial radio update: pressure continues

This report updates our coverage of the commercial radio sector. In Q1 2010, RAJAR data showed that the average number of hours listened per listener and the total number of hours listened, across both the commercial sector and the BBC, fell by 2.7% and 1.2% respectively compared to Q1 2009. This continues the long term trend of gradual consumption decline we have highlighted in the past. Another consistent trend is the relative robustness of listening to BBC radio, whilst the brunt of the decline is borne by the commercial sector

Cable & Wireless Worldwide annual results to March 2010: continuing strong cost control

C&W Worldwide’s first set of annual results since demerger were flattered by the inclusion of a full year of Thus

Nonetheless, management has continued to execute well despite difficult market conditions. Excellent cost control generated another year of strong underlying cash flow growth, albeit from a low base

Looking ahead there are grounds for continuing optimism, despite minimal guidance, although the rate of cash flow growth is set to drop, as cost reduction becomes progressively more challenging

Pressures on paper costs intensify

Newspaper publishers face paper price increases of at least 10% in H2 2010, with higher quality paper used by some book and magazine publishers rising in price by 20%

Paper represents between 10-25% of publisher underlying costs, but their ability to push through costs to the topline by raising cover prices (as they did in 2008/09) or book prices in 2010 appears severely compromised by the declining demand for print media

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