10 July 2017 - 12:11pm -- Olga De Giovanni

Toby Syfret was quoted in an article on the Sky – Fox deal, which has been referred to the Competition & Markets Authority by the Culture secretary Karen Bradley. Bradley agreed with Ofcom’s assessment that Fox would be a "fit and proper" owner and that the takeover was no threat to broadcasting standards. However, she felt there was a risk that the deal could threaten media plurality, especially over the provision of news if other providers were squeezed in an already tough market. According to Enders Analysis, advertising is set to fall "over the next two years". However, Toby said "I don’t think this deal will affect advertisers. Advertising is not the strategic focus for Fox, which is a separate business from News Corp. This is all about Fox wanting to increase its scale in a global marketplace without boundaries".

Retransmission fees back on the burner

The debate over the entitlement of free-to-air PSBs to retransmission fees from pay-TV platforms has simmered for the last few years, yet promises to boil over once the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA 2017) comes into force; as expected in late July/early August

The repeal of section 73 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) has removed a barrier to negotiations between the PSBs and the cable operator Virgin Media over retransmission fees, seen by some as the thin end of a wedge for obtaining such fees across all pay-TV platforms

The National

6 July 2017 - 11:16am -- Olga De Giovanni

Joseph Evans was quoted in an article on the new Snapchat feature, which allows users' locations to be accurately displayed on a map, has sparked fears it could expose children to stalkers. Snapchat has previously drawn criticism for appearing to facilitate underage sexting (sexually explicit messages). The Snap Maps feature, which uses augmented reality technology, has prompted warnings from schools and child welfare campaigners who fear the information could put youngsters in danger. Joseph said “Snap is hoping that brand ad budgets will move from TV to mobile, providing a windfall that will make it profitable. But it faces a series of daunting challenges: growth is slowing; it can’t differentiate when rivals like Instagram quickly match new features; and costs are high due to computing requirements and its need to innovate. He added that most importantly, TV budgets are likely to stay with quality content watched on TV sets, and Snap doesn’t yet have access to smart TVs or longform content. In the long term, its investments in Augmented Reality may give it unique inventory suitable for brand advertisers”.

The Drum

5 July 2017 - 10:54am -- Olga De Giovanni

Joseph Evans was quoted in an article on Thinkbox commissioned research by YouGov and House 51 which has found that TV sponsorships drive long-term brand health and awareness with viewers at a time when digital advertising often leans on short-term gain. The research found that sponsoring a TV show raises brand awareness for all brands. Interestingly, this is particularly poignant in lesser-known brands, which found both their brand and advertising awareness scores were substantially higher for viewers of the TV shows they sponsored. However, sponsorships have remained a resilient medium in the face of ever-increasing competition for ad spend from the digital giants, leading TV ad spend to fall nearly 2.1% in the final quarter of 2016, and is predicted to decrease by a further 0.5% in 2017. Joseph said “I think sponsorships have been resilient because they serve a valuable and hard-to-substitute purpose. Digital ads are mostly focused on activation: driving clicks, installs and sales in the short term”. He added “looking ahead, the line between TV-like content online and “traditional” TV content are blurring, as smart TVs, broadcaster VOD services and the delivery of TV content over IP become more prevalent. Broadcasters will be able to sell sponsorships of TV shows watched online and on-demand, while digital media companies will sell sponsorships of things that look very similar; distinguishing between the two will be less and less useful”.

Royal Television Magazine

3 July 2017 - 1:00pm -- Olga De Giovanni

Claire Enders was quoted in an article on the effects of Brexit on media giants. Claire said “it’s a disaster”. She notes that the Brexit vote immediately knocked £18bn off the value of media stocks in the UK. ITV was badly hit because of its reliance on advertising. Shares can rise as well as fall, but Claire fears that the loss of three years’ worth of stock-market growth in the media sector will not quickly be made good. A remain vote, she believes, would have added 10% to the value of media stocks and the pound. In other words, the downside is even greater that it first appears. Claire predicts other big changes “A financially weak Government is going to have few places to look for increased income. We will have a greater risk of privatisation of Channel 4 and privatisation of BBC assets”.

End-game for the merger of 21CF and Sky

Secretary of State (SoS) Karen Bradley has made an initial decision to refer 21CF’s bid for Sky to the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) for a detailed consideration of media plurality concerns, to be finalised in the near future

The issue at hand is the potential increase in the influence of the members of the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) over the UK’s news agenda and political process. The SoS rejected the remedy for Sky News brokered by Ofcom

The Daily Beast

30 June 2017 - 2:48pm -- Olga De Giovanni

Claire Enders was quoted in an article on Fox's Sky acquisition, which has been delayed by British authorities for further study. Claire said “this is a time when there is an entirely new level of political risk. The avoidance of controversy is a priority”. She added that Karen Bradley has purposely left open two options to avoid arousing the elder Murdoch’s wrath. The first is giving him the chance to make the July 14 deadline with more concessions on the independence of Sky News to avoid the “media plurality” probe. The second option is to pass the issue to the Competition and Markets Authority with a wink and a nod, with the expectation that the agency will ultimately clear the deal. The CMA has a reputation of leniency, following a long-standing Tory policy of “soft touch” financial regulation.

Financial Times

30 June 2017 - 9:55am -- Olga De Giovanni

Alice Enders was quoted in an article on the Fox-Sky deal. Yesterday, the UK culture secretary Karen Bradley announced, in a statement to MPs following a three-month investigation by the media regulator Ofcom, that she was likely to refer the deal, where 21st Century Fox would acquire the 61 per cent of the company it does not own, to Britain’s competition enforcement. She added that Rupert Murdoch’s effort to take full control of European pay TV broadcaster Sky would probably give him too much power over the UK media and the political process, throwing up a significant hurdle to his effort to seal the £11.7bn takeover. Alice said that the formation of a separate legal entity, similar to the one created by BT to tackle regulator concerns over its ownership of the broadband network Openreach, might convince ministers. She added “this is a political decision. We have always said the takeover has inherent merit, but there’s powerful political opposition”.


29 June 2017 - 5:42pm -- Olga De Giovanni

Alice Enders was quoted in an article on today’s announcement from the UK Culture Secretary on Fox’s Sky acquisition. Karen Bradley said she was “minded” to refer the bid to the Competition and Markets Authority — largely over Ofcom’s concerns about “the risk of increased influence by members of the Murdoch Family Trust over the UK news agenda and the political process”. 21st Century Fox’s £11.7B ($14.6B) bid to acquire the 61% of Sky that it does not own now depends on the remedies, or so-called “undertakings in lieu” (UIL), it can offer. Alice said that the UILs are integral because “the Secretary of State must accept them in order to not refer” a Phase 2 probe to the competition authority. Adding that “we don’t expect for this transaction to be approved without some form of UIL/remedy relating to Sky News”. Besides, today’s findings are not a major setback to the transaction, analysts say. Alice calls them “completely expected!” and “just part of the process”.

European mobile in Q1 2017: Stuck at zero

European mobile service revenue growth remained stuck at zero in Q1, with a heightened impact from the mobile termination rate cuts in Germany and price promotional activity in southern Europe mitigating improving markets in the UK and France

‘More-for-more’ price rises continued both during the quarter and after, and appear to be more widespread than the 2016 increases. This should be driving revenue growth at a healthier rate than zero, and may well do as out-of-bundle revenue declines fade away in significance and regulated MTR and roaming cuts annualise out


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