Publications

Format: Nov 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
Micropayments and Microsubscriptions: Beyond advertising

Digital advertising in the UK has been a phenomenal success story, but a concentrated one, such that many online media companies have not found a sustainable model

User payments are growing, but are currently focused on large, expensive bundles: Spotify, Netflix, the New York Times. This implements a hard division between free and paid and limits the potential audience

Micropayments and microsubscriptions are alternative models which content owners in certain media can use to address more types of demand. Multiple obstacles remain but for many companies the need to experiment has become critical

  • Amazon
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV 14 November 2017
Supply of news in the UK

Since Communications Act 2003, the number of national news outlets supplied on broadcast and in print has been stable. Adoption of multi-channel TV, supported by Freeview, has augmented the number of homes accessing on a free-to-air basis five "all news" channels (BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, CNN, Russia Today), with many more all news channels served on pay-TV platforms

Original news production has been transformed by digital tools and Twitter occupies the centre of the journalism ecosystem. Jobs devoted to news production are in recovery, although mask a decline in newspapers to the benefit of online mainly

Expansion of fixed-line broadband and, more recently, consumer adoption of mobile broadband and connected devices, have made the internet a platform for the supply of and consumption of all news services. Broadcasters serve eponymous text-based websites, all newspapers serve websites, and native news outlets have entered the market due to low barriers to entry. Prominent native brands in the political genre include Buzzfeed, HuffPost and Politico

Internet, Media, UK Media 10 October 2017
US ISPs hail the end of online privacy rules

The Federal Communications Commission’s Privacy Order (FCC) was overturned by the Senate, clearing the way for ISPs to ramp up consumer data-driven advertising revenue

While Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising in the US as in other markets, the US is alone in removing regulatory barriers to ISPs taking a piece of the pie

US ISPs now have a self-regulatory regime for consumer rights on transparency, security and data breaches; but in the UK and EU, privacy advocates prefer enforceable rights

  • Cable & Wireless
  • Facebook
  • Google
Internet, Media, Mobile, Telecoms 9 October 2017
Consumer magazine publishing, Part two: The power of brands and industry innovation

In a challenging digital marketplace, publishers face a crisis of purpose. To navigate the turbulent seas, publishers must invest more in their brands and the industry as a whole must innovate

Consumer engagement, previously held by magazines, has sailed to social media where young influencers across Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat challenge established norms of content discovery and curation

Magazines are more heterogeneous than is commonly assumed, and strength lies in a distinctive brand. To right the course, we recommend the industry carry out bespoke reviews that outline brand-specific audiences, use-cases and revenue solutions, and exploit systematic audience data to optimise all brand manifestations - with enhanced marketing income a secondary benefit

  • Facebook
  • Google
Internet, Media, Mobile, UK Media 6 October 2017
Consumer magazine publishing, Part one: The power of brands and industry collaboration

Evidence is mounting that the consumer magazine market is reaching an existential threshold. In this two-part overview of the UK consumer magazine marketplace we address the need for industry collaboration and brand innovation.

The print market is seeing sector-wide declines and the real structural fallout has only just begun; a supply chain review is urgently required.

Magazine brands lack a unique selling point in online advertising, and although long-disastrous ad tech trends may be finally turning in favour of premium publishers, developing must-have consumer services remains the key.

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • News UK
Internet, Media, UK Media 5 October 2017
Internet Trends H1 2017: Fruits of the mobile revolution

With smartphones in the pockets of 3/4 of the UK population, and accounting for over half of all online minutes, the mobile revolution is in its final stages, allowing us to survey its impact

As the number of social media users continues growing, untapped older demographics and Instagram help the Facebook suite of apps grow in the UK, but Snapchat is the social media app of choice for UK teens

News publishers face issues with brand attribution as social media platforms overtake search as the main news aggregators online, while small UK video publishers have become unlikely winners in a global market for soft news, infotainment and gags that dominate social video

 

  • Apple
  • BBC
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Twitter
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 5 September 2017
Voicing concerns: virtual assistants and the media

Voice, and the smart virtual assistants that power voice interfaces, will be a key transformative force over the next five years

Any business providing content or services via digital means is potentially affected, as these virtual assistants promise a single front end for all digital services, representing an extraordinary concentration of control over discovery, delivery and data

Media businesses will clearly be affected. But there is an opportunity for them right now to influence the assistant providers to their advantage, a window that will not stay open forever

  • Amazon
  • BBC
  • Google
  • Samsung
  • Sky
Internet, Media, Technology, TV 23 August 2017
Facebook video: escaping the News Feed

Facebook video consumption - and video ad revenue - is still concentrated on the mobile News Feed, limiting engagement growth and appeal to brand advertisers in the interim period before VR and AR go mainstream 

Features like a dedicated video hub and ad breaks have seen limited deployment, likely as a result of lukewarm user reception, but Instagram Stories holds promise 

To attract long-form viewing Facebook is cautiously investing in original TV content and sports rights, but is late to the game over audiences on connected TVs 

 

  • Facebook
Internet, Media, Technology, TV 28 July 2017
SME marketing: a local and global battleground

Accelerating print advertising declines in 2016 are placing pressure on local newspaper publishers to deliver faster online growth

However, digital growth is being supported yet compressed by Google and Facebook; we estimate SME expenditure on Google is roughly 2x the local press, and we expect SME spend with Facebook to match local newspaper advertising revenues in two to three years

Publishers need to grow consumer registrations and subscriptions, digital display and also digital marketing services, in partnerships with the tech giants – but first they have to convince consumers they have relevant use-cases that global platforms cannot replicate

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Johnston Press
  • Local World
  • Trinity Mirror
Internet, Media 18 July 2017
Tinder and online dating: who's paying?

Tinder is one of the most high-profile mobile apps on the market and has transformed the adoption of online dating

Tinder’s success is due in large part to its understanding of user experience, which is key to getting, keeping and upselling users through network effects

But the financial value of this success is limited by the industry: even a mobile revolution has not created a high-revenue mass market where none existed before 

  • Guardian Media Group
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 27 June 2017
The map is now the territory

We are in the midst of a rapid change in how maps are made and used, from a world of cartographers making records of physical features to sell to consumers and businesses, to one where information about the world is automatically tracked and measured, and built into every service we use

A whole host of industries traditionally unconcerned with geography are being and will be transformed by maps and location, from retail and advertising to finance and insurance. Every business needs to know what maps can offer them

A variety of maps suppliers are jostling for position in serving this growing need: local or international, free or commercial, seeing mapping as a core or side-business. Different suppliers suit different requirements

  • Apple
  • Google
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 26 June 2017
How to sell games: borrowing ideas from Netflix and Apple

A Netflix-like subscription model for console based video gaming is a big step closer with Microsoft launching a clear and easy Xbox subscription game solution, and it may even work

Sony’s strategy for premium online services across all its businesses remains muddled and complicated, but could be fixed quickly: dropping game streaming is the first step, providing a lower cost subscription service is the second

Google’s admission that more curation in its games app store will be needed finally indicates a better understanding of the games industry, in parallel with the company’s efforts to win over other creative industries

  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Sony
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 21 June 2017
UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2017: Profit warnings come in threes

UK residential communications market revenue growth dipped 0.6ppts in Q1, from 3.3% in the previous quarter. This was mainly driven by ARPU weakness arising due to the timings of Sky and Virgin Media’s price rises, but weakness also stemmed from the sustained decline in broadband volume growth and continued new customer price competition

In competitive terms, BT and Sky suffered as a result of communicating price rises in the quarter, Virgin Media had a strong quarter if not quite as good as it was expecting, and TalkTalk manged to recover to positive retail broadband net adds at the expense of high marketing costs

BT, Liberty Global and TalkTalk issued profit warnings in the quarter, all of which were at least loosely related to increasing pressures in the consumer market. We expect these pressures – a slowing broadband market, an expanding Virgin Media, and a stabilising TalkTalk – to continue

  • BT
  • Liberty Global
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Internet, Media, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 19 June 2017
BT Q4 2016/17 results: Mobile strength, pressure elsewhere

BT had a reasonable quarter in its consumer broadband business given market pressures, and a very strong one at EE with continued growth acceleration. It had a good quarter for fibre adoption as well, helping its wholesale divisions stabilise their revenue, but business/IT was weak as expected

Regulatory pressure remains intense despite the (welcome) Openreach agreement, with price cap regulation proposed or due on a range of products, and a regulatory approach which is far from investment-orientated

Pressures in the business/IT market are likely to continue, and pressures in the consumer broadband market are likely to intensify, justifying BT’s current cautious approach to guidance and dividends

  • BT
  • Liberty Global
  • Ofcom
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Vice Media
Fixed Line, Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms, UK Media 9 June 2017
UK General Election online - news and advertising

In contrast to print coverage, most shared news and opinion content on social media was decidedly pro-Labour this election season, with fake news relatively non-existent compared to the US election in November

Facebook’s role in news distribution has steadily grown and now rivals Google’s, but only a half of the UK’s  electorate are active users – for the platform to become decisive in political news would require much stronger turnout among young voters

Facebook was the chief digital ad platform for both main parties, with Conservatives targeting Labour seats, Labour defending them and both adopting a negative tone

  • BBC
  • Facebook
  • Google
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV, UK Media 7 June 2017
Nintendo Switching to a new console era

The successful launch of the Nintendo Switch creates a new console model, and demonstrates the staying power and long term value of great franchises

Microsoft reveals the specification for Scorpio, but it won’t be enough to catch up to Sony. New franchises, and probably new leadership, will be the key to stopping Xbox sliding into irrelevance outside North America

Sony’s PlayStation 4 now exceeds 60m units worldwide, allowing Sony more freedom to publish a wide range of challenging creative console games, while VR games continue to gain momentum

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Sony
  • Walt Disney
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV 5 June 2017
Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness

A partial — if seductively persuasive and impressive — data framework for online advertising combined with short-term incentives have encouraged a dramatic shift in the ratio of brand to activation advertising from 60:40 to 50:50, depressing the pricing of display media

Mounting evidence suggests a focus on quick returns and cheap media at all costs is hurting marketing effectiveness, measured in long-term Return-on-Investment, brand equity and consumer satisfaction

Guarding against this risk requires brand-focused advertisers to create more space for long-term judgement for CMOs, and to refocus agency remuneration towards planning and creative work<o:p></o:p></span></h2>

Internet, Media, Technology, UK Media 18 May 2017
Prophets before profits: Snap goes public

Snap is going public: its filing shows widening losses and slowing user growth, calling into question its ability to reach profitability and justify the ~$20 billion valuation it is seeking

Long term, the company hopes to capture the large brand advertising budgets it expects will leave TV as linear viewing declines. But how it plans to do so is unclear, as it has shown little interest in connected TVs, and the ad model for augmented reality – Snap’s focus – is a long way off

Most of all, investors are being asked to trust in the ability of Snap’s founders – who will retain full control of the company – to continually innovate products which will attract users and advertisers

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Netflix
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media, Mobile, Non UK Media, Technology 1 March 2017
Fashion's new look: digital sets new trends

Fashion underpins the growth of ecommerce; online took a 14% share of all fashion retail in the UK last year and is set to rise further, challenging the economics of physical retail 

Mobile is a key driver, it is changing research and shopping habits, and in turn affecting supplier product cycles, merchandising and marketing strategies 

Social media has disrupted the traditional shopping funnel, changing how trends and styles proliferate and shifting the sites of authority and influence in a £66 billion sector

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Twitter
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology 28 February 2017
Enterprise cloud on the horizon

Enterprise cloud computing democratises access to IT capacity ranging from specialised software to platforms to infrastructure, transforming cost structures in sectors like media and retail

Cloud enables unprecedented scalability of bandwidth for digital media services like Pokémon Go and Netflix, while also hosting the back-end for advertisers and retailers 

As the industry consolidates quickly, intense competition among Amazon, Microsoft and Google is delivering value to customers and boosting adoption

  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
Internet, Media, Technology 6 February 2017

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