Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Rupert Murdoch’s relationship with his younger son James, which is being called into question in the aftermath of the revelation that his company 21st Century Fox was considering selling its film studio and stake in Sky to rival Disney. It also raises the prospect that Rupert has become disillusioned with James’s strategy at Fox and the Sky deal. Alice said that if the Sky deal collapsed, in the face of a lengthy regulatory process and political opposition, then it would be seen as a failure for James. She added “we think that a lot of things could be on the table if the deal does not go through. If it doesn’t go through it would compromise the position and the strategy James has taken, it would be a failure.”
Public service broadcasting (PSB) and the entire unique broadcasting ecosystem face huge challenges from global tech giants with deep pockets, data insights and scant regard for PSB prominence
All three pillars of the PSB model are threatened: content supply, distribution and advertising. The further threat of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) spectrum being reduced or turned off in c.2030 is real and PSBs must have a migration path in place
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on how The Guardian plans to reach one million paying members. The perennial question of how to fund quality journalism has seen a few new answers in recent memory, with membership programs as one potentially successful solution. The Guardian hopes to tap into this, with their membership plan as a core component of their goal to more than double revenue generated from readers to £68 million. Douglas said “at some level consumers are increasingly aware of the value of quality news provision by trusted brands due to an acceleration in the momentum of national and international political and economic developments. Greater uncertainty has pushed people to engage and commit”.
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the change of viewing habits, as the increasing appeal of programmes available from streaming services is shaking up the world of television. For decades, the bosses at Hollywood studio giants, including Disney, had controlled the biggest stars and had signed the fattest pay cheques in the global entertainment business. Suddenly, it was upstarts such as Netflix and Amazon that seemed to be in charge, hiring the best talent, drawing hundreds of millions of subscribers to their booming internet streaming services and making the industry dance to their tune. With consumers increasingly choosing to watch movies and television shows via on-demand streaming, often on smartphone or tablet, traditional models of advertising-funded viewing are being hit hard, forcing the industry to come up with new strategies to compete. Claire believes that Netflix is trying to cut out the studios and that this is forcing many to consider defensive mergers and acquisitions. Everybody, she said, “is thinking about how to circle the wagons”.
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on how Jeff Bezos built a tech business within the Washington Post. Over the past four years the Post has become both a technology business and a journalism institution, a mix it believes is essential to succeed in media in the future. Douglas believes Bezos has done a good job of evading the potential downsides of a tech entrepreneur buying an impartial news organisation. He said “the downsides could have included: interference; technology innovation at the expense of investment in journalism; an Amazon strategy shoehorned into the publishing business; too much distance, that is, money without intelligence. None of these outcomes have emerged because Bezos has evidently not interfered with the Post’s content at all. He has applied a strategic framework and some tactical elements to generate a means of investing more in journalism in the short and medium term”.
Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the prospect of Mr Murdoch and his sons to sale 21st Century Fox prime film and television assets to Walt Disney. Claire said “you will not find the Murdochs selling a damn thing unless they are forced to — or humiliated politically. They’ve never been sellers and don’t need the money”. She added that James Murdoch was particularly personally invested in acquiring Sky, saying “he has spent 10 years trying to buy it. [James] has always been a one-track guy”. Six years ago, the family’s reputation took a knock from the phone-hacking scandal, which led to Rupert Murdoch apologising to MPs and the eventual withdrawal of its first Sky bid. Claire said “there are huge reputational advantages to James and the Murdochs of this [latest] deal clearing”.
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Walt Disney’s exploratory talks with 21st Century Fox to buy the bulk of Fox’s entertainment assets. Alice told TVBEurope she is sceptic about the deal as the Murdoch family has always been "buyers not sellers". The younger sons are still in their 40s, they’re very active in the assets that they have, they see entertainment and media as being their forte as opposed to newspapers which is their father’s passion. So from a human element, you have to say why would the Murdoch brothers want to sell to anybody, not just Disney?". She added "I think the existence of talks masks a much broader set of options that are being considered for eventually a collaboration or maybe a sale, although we see Disney as not really needing to buy Sky or 21st Century Fox. Disney occupies a very unique space in the studio market, and the heart of what it’s doing is selling entertainment and products to children. It’s not absolutely clear what it would be seeking to get out of a hook-up with 21st Century Fox as a studio". However, Alice said the distribution side of Fox's business could be what's attracting Disney. "Of course 21st Century Fox owns 39 per cent of Sky today and presumably in the future will own 100 per cent of Sky potentially. Obviously Sky is the most interesting pay-TV operator in Europe for a US studio. So Disney probably doesn’t need studio assets but it might enjoy having a footprint outside the US in the distribution area".
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Walt Disney talks about buying assets from 21st Century Fox, including much of its international business. The news not only drew attention in Hollywood and on Wall Street, but also in London, where industry watchers immediately wondered what the news means for European pay TV giant Sky. After all, Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky and last December offered to take full control of it in a $15 billion deal, which U.K. regulators are still reviewing. Consequently, what does all the news mean for the regulatory review in Britain of Fox's bid for all of Sky and Fox's commitment to the deal? Alice said "I doubt very much this would interfere with the [U.K. regulatory review] process, which after all concludes in early March 2018. It has been rumoured that this would lead to 21st Century Fox withdrawing from the Sky deal, but I doubt that very much. Relatively, 100 percent of Sky is worth much more than 39 percent".
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief, which according to Forbes Magazine is the most powerful woman in the media and entertainment. But why is Dame Anna top of the tree? Alice has a theory, she said "it's pretty simple why Anna Wintour is number one - Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Google's Susan Wojcicki are not included in that list. By media, they mean the printed press and performing arts. They (Forbes) have studiously segmented out the advertising genius of Facebook and Google, despite these two companies being advertising behemoths today". Despite that, Wintour has still squeezed out other big names including Bonnie Hammer (number two), the chair of media company NBCUniversal. Alice explains "Anna Wintour is the most influential woman in the printed press simply because Vogue magazine is the pinnacle of taste-making and women's fashion. She incarnates the transatlantic bonds of commercial fashion endeavour today, spanning the continent where fashion was born to the dynamic innovation of the British and American fashion houses".
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the prospective sale of Waterstones. Analysts have said that new ownership of Waterstones “makes sense”, following reports that its Russian owner, Alexander Mamut, has appointed banker N M Rothschild to contact potential buyers for the chain. But the development has sparked anxiety in the wider trade, with concerns over any uncertainty affecting the crucial retailer. Douglas said that Waterstones’ reported £40m profits would "give the owner some leverage and reinforces why the timing of new financing could be attractive". He added that if Waterstones increases its profits in its next results, the "responsible thing" to do would be "to re-engineer its financing on a more stable footing”. Douglas elaborated “there are a range of possible outcomes - same owner, same owner and other owners, other owners - but essentially with any outcome the company should be looking for more flexibility to invest in the company, greater security for the long term."