Publications

Format: Dec 2016
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
European digital news models

Pay access now predominates in print-rooted national digital news across Europe, with meters the most popular model. Reliance on digital advertising is retreating. Best of class Continental publishers have roughly stabilised revenue, and the risk of print ad decline acceleration looms – as in the UK

Digital is still typically below 20% of revenue as online advertising CPMs decrease and newsstand buyers are reluctant to migrate to digital subscriptions – on current trends digital revenues will be insufficient to sustain a full-scale newsroom

Emerging innovations include aggregation, bundling (with broadcast, music, telecoms), and youth-skewed spin offs, but execution is uneven. Profitable native digital news sites provide templates for focused coverage at a fraction of traditional newspapers’ costs

  • SFR
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Press 6 December 2016
Property classified marketplace

This is the second of three reports in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on property, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment classified outlook [2016-116]

Stamp duty reforms and the impact of the Brexit referendum triggered a -10% fall in UK residential property sales between April and October 2016 and the consensus among estate agents and commentators is that the property slowdown will continue into 2016/17 as buyer confidence recedes. As a result, we expect UK property classified advertising to slip into decline in 2016/17 driven by losses in print, while online advertising growth will slow to low single digits

In the online market, while Rightmove continues to deliver outstanding financial results from its simple listings model, we believe that a new phase of innovation is imminent. Consumers are demanding enhanced services through data and personalisation, and there is clear potential for virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence to disrupt the market in the longer term

  • Rightmove
Internet, Media, Press 5 December 2016
Brexit impact on UK-EU trade in creative services

Brexit poses direct risks to exports to the Continent of regulated services, such as audiovisual (AV) media services, if the UK ceases to qualify for the Single Market

Since 1994, the EU has formalised a ‘cultural exception’ in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and in all trade agreements aside from the European Economic Area (EEA)

Many countries have emulated the policy since, making it challenging for the UK’s AV cluster to gain significant additional market access from future bilateral trade deals

Brexit, Media, Public Policy, Technology, Telecoms 2 December 2016
UK digital ad forecast 2016-2018: Strong but uneven growth

UK digital advertising has enjoyed strong growth in 2016, with forecast growth of 12.7% for the full year, just scraping under the £10 billion milestone

However, this growth is highly uneven, being led by mobile display and mobile search, while desktop spend looks set to decline by over 5% year-on-year. More significantly, 90% of the growth is accruing to the two big players: Facebook and Google

Cross-device campaigns, the convergence of marketing and advertising functions, and new consumption trends all threaten our traditional categorisations of online ad spend

  • Facebook
  • Google
Internet, Media, Mobile 30 November 2016
Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment classified outlook

Our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds) is presented in three reports, with the first providing a summary of the key macro trends, technological developments and spending outlook for the total UK classified advertising market followed by a detailed analysis of recruitment marketing; we will look at the property and auto verticals separately in two upcoming publications. Overall, we believe that the UK classified market is poised for a period of sustained innovation as the print to digital transition matures and incumbents search for new revenue streams induced by slowing digital revenue growth and consumer and client demand coupled with increasingly applicable emerging technologies. Across the three verticals we identify voice, video, virtual and augmented reality, user-generated content; and, critically, Artificial Intelligence as potentially disruptive forces. In terms of macroeconomic drivers, we observe that the Brexit referendum has had a minimal impact thus far but believe that economic uncertainty around the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU will prove a significant dampener on revenue growth in the next two years.

In recruitment, the jobs market remains in growth despite the initial shock from the referendum and the recruitment industry continues to grow its revenues, up 2% in 2016 by our estimates. However, recruitment advertising spend itself was down -1% in the first half of this year reflecting the saturation of the online market as the print to digital transition reaches its latter stages; online now accounts for 76% of recruitment spend. The pay per listings model of traditional job boards appears increasingly outdated and in the future we believe that recruitment advertising services’ main value will lie in collecting and organising job seeker data rather than charging for advertising space, a view corroborated by Microsoft’s $22.6bn acquisition of LinkedIn announced in June. Meanwhile, the online jobs aggregator Indeed continues to build its revenue share while print brands’ digital revenues fell in both 2015 and H1 2016.

Internet, Media, Press 28 November 2016
SFR and the downsides of the LBO model

France’s number two telecoms operator has suffered extensive damage since the 2014 takeover by Altice, which engaged in a slash-and-burn leveraged buy-out. Market share loss has triggered a revenue decline, with uncertainty of when this might stabilise

Increased investments will barely allow SFR to stand still in the competitive race for 4G and fibre deployment. Cash flow, while in decline, is sufficient to meet high debt payments – but rising bond yields could pressure P&L

SFR aims to appeal to subscribers through enlarged bundles of content sourced mainly from Altice investments in media, but execution seems geared to achieve VAT optimisation and augment the group’s political influence – which may be needed as massive job cuts are planned

  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Vivendi
Telecoms 25 November 2016
Vodafone Q2 2016/17 results - Strong in parts

Vodafone Europe has improved its mobile service revenue growth to near zero (-0.2%), and narrowed its revenue growth gap to competitors to a mere slither (0.2ppts), allowing it to return to significant EBITDA growth (3.1%)

The primary driver for this was however ‘more-for-more’ price increases, which have been followed by competitors only in part, and it is still losing contract subscriber share across its major markets (with significant local variation)

Its overall network performance statistics are flat, and customer NPS statistics are improving in some markets and worsening in others. Future outperformance is possible, but by no means guaranteed, and we believe that stabilising market share should be more of a priority than price rises

  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms, Vodafone 24 November 2016
Snappy birthday: Snapchat's IPO

Snap’s IPO is reportedly pressing ahead as expected, suggesting a remarkably early maturity for the company’s advertising business model

Snapchat creatively adapts the tried and true TV advertising formula, focusing on content, context and audience affinity – this goes against the grain of digital advertising and could unlock new brand budgets for online

After an IPO, Snap’s founders would have the freedom to expand their platform with new content, distribution channels and even devices

  • Facebook
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Technology 18 November 2016
ITV in Brexit wake: Q3 2016 trading update

ITV’s latest update points to a weak end to 2016 in advertising sales chiefly due to rising uncertainty post-Brexit, as the 1% year-on-year decline during the first nine months is expected to sink to 3% across the full year despite hitherto positive economic growth trends

ITV claims of outperforming the TV advertising market across the first nine months of 2016 are at odds with other sources, although the likely main cause of apparent underperformance – the large fall in ITV Main share of viewing in 2015 – will not apply in 2017, as ITV Main has regained some of the lost share in 2016

Weakening sterling exchange rates post-Brexit may have fueled rising inflation, lower consumer disposal income and falling TV NAR. But, it has also boosted ITV Studios revenues from international sales

  • ITV
Media, TV 18 November 2016
The studio model: stay tuned!

US entertainment groups have not been disrupted by the rise of digital media. Long running franchises drive growth across diverse sectors, starting with pay-TV and SVOD. US television advertising is rising in line with GDP, while the online video ad market is flourishing, with much appearing alongside the majors' scripted content

Studios' cable channels are their most profitable assets, but M&As with distribution platforms, including Comcast's aquisition of NBC Universal, have usually failed to deliver synergies

The Donald Trump presidency could leverage hostile public opinion towards mergers to undermine the AT&T bid for Time Warner; but it could also stimulate M&As if it granted tech companies a tax break to repatriate profits. A more protectionist administration could also bring about a less benevolent attitude towards majors' foreign operations

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • NBC Universal
  • Netflix
  • Sony
  • Turner
  • Viacom
  • Walt Disney
Media, TV 17 November 2016
Marketing and measurement in the digital era

Digital consumption has generated a lot of data in marketing and media and a huge variety of new opportunities for marketeers—but insights and intelligence are not growing as much as data points, as a culture of short termism prevails

We recommend the linking of audience measurement and consumer behaviour data, but the industry lacks both standards and trust, while the still-immature digital marketing supply chain poses problems for data integrity

The new data economy has also precipitated a new war for talent, with marketing, media and publishing competing with technology, finance and other industries to attract the best quant and science brains to transition the creative sectors.

  • Facebook
  • Google
Internet, Media 16 November 2016
Virgin Media Q3 2016 results: Continued acceleration

Virgin Media continued to accelerate in Q3, with subscriber numbers accelerating despite the broader market slowdown, driven by its network extension starting to have a material impact and an enhanced TV offering reversing its pay TV decline

The only weak area was mobile, with revenue and subscriber growth slowing, and convergence stalling. The company hopes that its 4G launch will reinvigorate this; we believe that consumer demand for fixed/mobile convergence remains limited

The early price rise implemented in November will likely help ARPU but harm churn during the rest of the year; for 2017 and beyond the accelerating network extension will increasingly drive volume and revenue growth

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, UK Media 10 November 2016
BT Q2 2016/17 results: Strong results, but regulation weighs

BT had a strong quarter for revenue growth, improving to over 1%. This was helped by some temporary factors, but underlying trends look nonetheless strong across the board

Network development looks strong, with G.fast pilot pricing announced and development on track, selective FTTP builds gaining momentum, and mobile coverage and speed capabilities accelerating

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the regulatory outlook is as murky as ever, with Openreach’s future structure still not resolved, spectrum auction rules still to-be-decided, and rulings on copper and fibre pricing from April 2017 heavily delayed

  • BT
Media, Mobile, Telecoms 3 November 2016
Programmatic TV's European Evolution

Declining broadcast viewing to the TV set among younger demographics, fragmentation of video viewing across screens, the lack of robust measurement of viewing across screens and the development of online video advertising technology are altering the European TV landscape

Programmatic TV is at an early stage, but has shown its potential with increased audience targeting options and campaign automation: the roll-out of programmatic models and ad technology for European TV advertising have already prompted advertisers to see TV in new ways, beyond its core strengths in mass brand advertising

Automated ad technology can support the existing linear broadcast ad infrastructure; in addition we project a combined potential for annual increased TV ad revenue of €220-300m by 2018 in the seven markets of the study, driven by new advertiser spend on addressable TV advertising and programmatic broadcaster OTT

  • Google
  • Prosieben
  • RTL
  • Sky
Media, TV 2 November 2016
Revenues what count for Sky: Q1 2017

2017 has started well as group revenues grew by 5% on a like-for-like constant currency basis and operating costs were 2% lower year-on-year

The outlook for continuing strong revenue growth in the coming quarters is very positive in light of the numerous and ongoing product and service synergies in all three Sky markets

Cord-cutting is now a major concern in the US; however, there is no evidence for it with respect to Sky operations in Germany & Austria and Italy, while the evidence from the UK & Ireland is so far inconclusive. We expect some to occur, but not on the scale seen in the US

  • Sky
Media, TV 19 October 2016
Brexit and UK internet privacy

Personal data is the fuel of the digital age and the UK is a top producer due to deep internet and ecommerce usage

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a key plank of the Digital Single Market (DSM), will directly apply in May 2018, before the date of Brexit in 2019

Upon Brexit, GDPR adoption would ensure easy certification by the Commission for data transfers outside the EU, giving companies another reason to stay in the UK 

Brexit, Internet, Media, Public Policy, Technology 13 October 2016
Google Devices - Leading the charge to consumer AI

Google’s recent hardware launch event was a confident assertion of an AI-led future where Google’s services are present for everyone, everywhere

With Google’s Assistant central to them, devices like the Pixel phone and Google Home smart speaker put pressure on Samsung, Apple and Amazon

If Google’s AI push is successful, it will evolve and strengthen the company’s role as a gatekeeper to content and services, fundamentally reshaping search marketing

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Google
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 12 October 2016
Canal+ in audacious model revamp

With the decline in its subscriber base accelerating and following an antitrust veto over its planned tie up with BeIN Sports, Canal+ has decided to radically restructure its retailing on IPTV – where over 60% of subscriber recruitment takes place 

The basic channel package is now wholesale to ISPs and included in upper tier triple play bundles – much higher volumes should more than balance a deep price cut. Soon premium and optional packages are to be unbundled on all platforms to create cheaper entry points and favour subscriber customisation

Canal+ is thus increasingly focused on supplying premium content, leaving the user interface to ISPs. Without the scale of other international content producers and in a nationalistic political context, we believe that this market rationale will eventually lead Vivendi to sell Canal+ to Orange

  • Canal Plus
  • Orange
  • Vivendi
Media, Telecoms 6 October 2016
Viceland: Is this what the kids want?

A lacklustre UK launch of Viceland—the new, multinational linear television channel from youth-skewing, gonzo-esque Vice Media—followed six months after a similarly underwhelming entrance into the US

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 sentiments

Beyond linear viewing, as an intended mass “content generator” to power the greater Vice online network, Viceland may answer a fundamental question: Is Vice and its distinctive content really what the kids want?

  • BBC
  • Vice Media
Media, TV 4 October 2016
Trade policy path to Brexit for the UK

Brexit will take place in March 2019 and the rush is now on to complete the UK’s exit through Article 50 negotiations and set the framework for post-Brexit trade with the EU

Trade-related investment by companies is at high risk from uncertainty; a free-trade area (FTA) for manufactured products should be a priority for 2019

Barriers to trade in services in the EU are more nebulous than tariffs and far more political in Member States, justifying a Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CEP)

Brexit, Media, Public Policy, Technology, Telecoms 4 October 2016

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