Publications

Format: Dec 2017
Leave blank for all. Otherwise, the first selected term will be the default instead of "Any".
Leave blank for all. Otherwise, the first selected term will be the default instead of "Any".
Sector(s) Datesort ascending
Lightning strikes: Virgin Media Q4 2015 results

Project Lightning is showing clear signs of success, running ahead of new premises targets with ARPU and penetration levels in line with expectations, which helped deliver the strongest organic RGU performance in over seven years, and could add c1% to revenue growth in 2016

Recent performance, though strong, was not immune to the rivalry of Sky and BT, with efforts to manage profitability in the face of inflated sports content rights costs in turn yielding tension at the subscriber level; we anticipate round two when the 2016/17 Premier League kicks off in August

Mobile revenue growth was relatively weak and quad play penetration fell, but the H3G/O2 merger in the UK may provide an option to improve its mobile wholesale deal, and the cable/mobile JV in the Netherlands with Vodafone points to a possible similar deal in the UK in the longer term

  • Liberty Global
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms 23 February 2016
EE Q4 2015 results: Slowing revenue, accelerating profits

EE reported solid contract net adds, but weakening contract ARPU, which drove mobile service revenue growth down to -2.5%

However, EBITDA growth was spectacular at 15% in H2, suggesting that much of the subscriber growth is in low revenue high margin segments such as SIM-only and B2B, as well as cost control being strong

EE’s new parent BT is likely to be able to drive further progress in these areas, and the outlook is robust even if quad play demand remains low in the consumer market

  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 22 February 2016
Independent, i and content publishing models

The sale of the i, the innovative 2011 launch by the Independent, inevitably led to its parent’s death in print form and pushes two media experiments into the marketplace

ESI Media becomes the first publisher to switch a traditional national news brand into a digital-only service, while Johnston Press has developed a new local-national platform to compete with Trinity Mirror

Content publishers will increasingly experiment with vertical models and membership models for a range of services including access to some content as the challenges of the digital advertising market begin to mount

  • Independent Print Ltd
  • Johnston Press
  • Local World
  • News UK
  • Trinity Mirror
Media 18 February 2016
Millennials, mobile and traditional media

Millennials are the mobile generation, and their preoccupation with mobile erodes time spent with other media, but also offers new opportunities for traditional media brands

Millennials have a different relationship with traditional media; mobile has provided them with control over what they consume and the convenience to access content where and how they like

New content forms such as very short videos have added to the mobile experience, creating social discovery opportunities for media to reach millennials

Media, Music and Radio, Telecoms, TV 16 February 2016
UK advertising expenditure forecast 2016-2018

2014 and 2015 have seen outstanding real growth of 13% in display advertising spend. Although we cannot rule out a recessionary downturn, we project further 11% growth during 2016-2018, but at a slowing rate as display spend continues to benefit from relatively benign economic conditions

A sizeable chunk of the display growth reflects a shift from non-display. However, the most dramatic change in the present decade is the total reversal of the balance in display market share between press and the internet: 75% press/25% internet in 2010; 25% press/75% internet in 2018. Nor will the shift be over in 2018

Meanwhile, we expect other display categories – television, out of home, radio and cinema – to see advertising spend grow at close to the market average. As yet, we have seen no signs of television advertising spend suffering due to the decline in viewing among younger age groups and emergence of digital video. If anything, evidence points to the contrary

Media, Telecoms, UK Media 11 February 2016
Vodafone Q3 2015/16 results: Almost stable

Vodafone Europe’s service revenue growth continued its trend of gradual improvement, helped by solid contract net adds and sustained high data traffic growth, and is now almost stable

Project Spring network metrics performed strongly in the quarter, and there is some evidence of this translating into better operating performance in Italy, which enjoyed positive mobile service revenue growth for the first time since 2010

Problems remain for the company in its other key mobile markets however, all of which remain in decline. Although these issues may prove temporary, and Project Spring may yet offer them a boost, further pressure is on the horizon due to competitor consolidation and associated regulatory remedies

  • Vodafone
Telecoms 10 February 2016
Cyber blues: TalkTalk Group Q3 2015/16 results

Damage from the cyber-attack was revealed to be a 2% impact to the on-net subscriber growth, a 3% impact to Group revenue growth and a combined EBITDA and exceptionals cost impact of £75-80m, roughly double the previous guidance

An updated FY17 trading strategy promises “more conservative” price increases and greater focus on upselling mobile/fibre/TV to existing customers, while maintaining rather than growing the consumer base

FY17 guidance has been updated to account for cyber-attack related setbacks and trading strategy adjustments, now aiming for modest revenue growth and EBITDA of £320-360m and an implied margin of 17-20%

  • TalkTalk
Fixed Line, Telecoms 9 February 2016
BT Q3 2015/16 results: Fibre-driven accelerating revenue

BT Group’s revenue growth accelerated to 4.7% in Q3; while this was helped by some beneficial one-offs, including the TalkTalk cyber-attack, the underlying trends also looked strong across all divisions

Fibre adoption had a record quarter, with growth particularly apparent at BT’s DSL competitors, helping to drive Openreach’s external revenue growth to 7%

BT completed the purchase of EE at the end of January, and BT will keep EE separate for consumer but fully integrate for business. We are sceptical of consumer-side revenue synergies, but the business side and cost synergies will significantly benefit going forward

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 5 February 2016
Sky Q2 2016 results: innovation, service and bonding

Europe’s biggest pay-TV service provider Sky has delivered another strong quarter, which saw H1 adjusted operating profits across the group rise by 12% year-on-year on a like for like basis at a constant Euro exchange rate, and the upward trend clearly has a lot of mileage left in it

Although Sky UK & Ireland now generates almost all the current operating profits, the performances of Sky Germany & Austria and Sky Italy give cause for optimism and testify to the group’s deep commitment to top of the class innovation and customer service

In a converging online, telco and TV space, the appointment of James Murdoch as non-executive Chairman and entry of Showtime into the Sky Atlantic partnership of Sky and HBO send out a clear message from the TV side about the importance of global scale and ties between its members

  • Sky
Media, TV, UK Media 4 February 2016
China OTT and SVOD

China holds tremendous appeal to studios and OTT video services, boasting an audience of 460 million online video users in mid-2015 (69% of internet users), which could exceed 900 million by 2020 by our estimate

China’s OTT video marketplace generated estimated revenues of $5 billion in 2015, of which two-thirds was due to ad-supported streaming and the rest to paid video streaming

Netflix recently pledged to enter China, although the current regulatory environment presents substantial, perhaps insurmountable, challenges to a direct-to-consumer offering

Non-UK Media, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV 1 February 2016
Google’s exaggerated mobile trouble

Rumoured details of Google’s traffic acquisition deal with Apple and also the size of its Android revenue have prompted many to doubt the search giant’s prospects on mobile

Compared to previous analyst estimates and in view of Google’s traffic cost structure, we see the reported figures as positively rather than negatively surprising 

Since the mobile economy is still developing around the world, it is in our view misguided to evaluate the success of Android in revenue terms alone, since the OS responds to Google’s broader strategic aims            

  • Apple
  • Google
Media, Technology 29 January 2016
Will the young of today ever turn to trad TV?

The steep year-on-year decline in TV viewing among younger age groups has continued in 2015, with reported TV viewing by children 4-15 and adults 16-24 approaching 30% down on the peak of 2010

The downward trends notwithstanding, there are good grounds for believing that some of the new media consumption behaviours will fall away as today’s millennials move-up the lifestage ladder

In addition, half-yearly comparisons reveal a big slow-down in the rate of decline during H2 2015, suggesting that the explosive impact of smartphones, tablets, apps and social networks has almost reached its limits, while further change will occur at a much slower pace

Media, Telecoms, TV 15 January 2016
Channel 4 market impact

Channel 4 is a key pillar of the UK’s audio-visual economy. Its unique commissioning model fosters a hotbed of new creative UK talent, an ecosystem of independent producers, many micro

Channel 4 commissions a greater share of its budget than any other broadcaster, public or private, also fostering the creative economy outside the M25, and 9% of commissions will be to the Nations by 2020

The future success of the stand-alone independent production companies is not in the hands of ITV and Channel 5, but of Channel 4 and the BBC – the pure PSBs

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, UK Media 5 January 2016
Channel 4: sustainability and privatisation

The newly elected Conservative government is exploring all the options for privatising Channel 4, but faces a complex legislative pathway

The privatisation case would be made easier if the current model were unsustainable. Only, Channel 4 is delivering its remit with great success, is commercially sustainable, and promises both to remain highly sustainable and grow its PSB contribution through its current licence ending in 2024

Channel 4 privatisation offers small returns to the Treasury as long as the remit, IP ownership restrictions and ban on vertical integration remain in place

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, UK Media 18 December 2015
Pandora’s 2016 music royalties to rise 12%

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) delivered its Web IV ruling on statutory SoundExchange licensing rates for webcasters for 2016-20, raising Pandora’s total music royalty costs by a forecast 12% in 2016

Had the CRB sided with SoundExchange, rates for Pandora’s non-subscription tier would have shot up 79%, leaving the company floundering in a sea of red ink

Nevertheless, these increased licensing costs for Pandora over 2016-20 will postpone the moment when the company attains net profitability

  • Apple
  • Spotify
  • Vivendi
Internet, Media, Mobile, Music and Radio, Technology 18 December 2015
Used car marketing outlook

This is the third and final report in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on used cars, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook [2015-115] and Property marketing outlook [2015-116]. Auto Trader has long been the leading platform in cars – this was true in print, and the business is the greatest example of digital transition from print to digital we have seen anywhere in the world. Auto Trader was successfully IPO’d in 2015. The timing was good as the used car market is buoyant with many young cars coming to market following a period of intense new car purchasing, which was fuelled by attractive financing. Could Auto Trader be squeezed by the combination of specialist services Pistonheads and What Car? (Haymarket) at the top of the market, and Gumtree at the bottom? There is limited evidence of this to date, and AutoTrader is moving up the value chain, albeit without fundamentally diversifying its revenue model. The opportunities for growth from declining print revenue will shrink, however, and there is some downside risk for the market as a whole if car oversupply, driven by a decline in the number of used car buyers, become more accentuated.

Internet, Media 18 December 2015
Property marketing outlook

This is the second of our three reports in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on property, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook [2015-115]. Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) has been hit by new entrant OnTheMarket, and has diversified its publishing and revenue models. But OnTheMarket is a red herring in the marketplace, delivering the same charging model more expensively for estate agents than leading portals Rightmove and ZPG. Property marketing expenditure has been resilient this year, and we expect it to be roughly flat (a little down in real terms) over the next two to three years, largely a result of the print-to-digital transition depressing spend, but also because estate agents are feeling squeezed. Local newspaper print decline will roughly offset increases at the property portals and elsewhere, though print spend at the top of the market – brands such as Country Life, the FT and the Telegraph – remains robust, despite deep declining volumes of £1.5m homes.

  • Rightmove
Internet, Media 17 December 2015
European mobile in Q3 2015: Consolidation before convergence

European mobile service revenue growth again improved, albeit marginally, with the quarter’s gain driven by declines easing further in what nevertheless remain the three weakest markets: France, Italy and Spain. Generally stabilising pricing environments were a key factor although ARPUs in these markets remain largely in decline, under continued pressure from strong out-of-bundle revenue declines

In a post-consolidation world, H3G/O2 in the UK and Yoigo in Spain will be the only mobile-only MNOs in the top five European mobile markets, effectively cementing a convergence based future. Consolidation trends might point to the prospect of greater price stabilisation but a fresh land grab for the converged market could derail this

Overall, in spite of healthy underlying data trends, we continue to see medium term growth recovery prospects capped at around 1% given precedent from both the UK, where a healthy economy, healthy pricing environment and strong data trends have failed to exceed this level, and Germany, where post-consolidation revenue growth has reverted to negative territory, both due to competition and consolidation

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Iliad
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • T-Mobile
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
Telecoms 17 December 2015
Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook

Our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds) is provided over three reports, with property and auto to follow, and this first report summarizing the macro trends, issues and outlook, as well as a detailed study of recruitment marketing. Taken as a whole we identify three critical themes in specialist markets:

• Portals are extraordinarily popular with consumers, growing their importance in the value chain; the print to digital transition is far from over
• But portal reliance on revenue growth from print decline is starting to retreat; revenue diversification strategies are emerging
• Nonetheless, disruption in vertical markets is stubbornly slow, with leading portals using paid media models (print models) to sustain their position.

The recruitment market is buoyant (up 10%), so portals, specialists and intermediaries are generally doing well, while local newspapers have lost some market share. Linkedin (professional social media, which has diversified into skills and training) and Indeed (freemium jobs aggregator, which provides performance charging and will introduce new services in 2016) are the key influences in the marketplace, and both are growing very strongly. The value chain in recruitment is being slowly restructured. Recruiter demand for highly skilled, specialist candidates does not have the labour supply to support it, sustaining marketing expenditure, though print spend continues to decline.

  • Auto Trader
  • LinkedIn
  • Rightmove
Internet, Media 16 December 2015
Canal+: things will get worse before they get better

Booming sales in Africa offset the steady decline of the Canal+/CanalSat subscriber base in France, delivering low but positive group revenue growth
 
Canal+’s management, now firmly under Vincent Bolloré’s control, is committed to reversing the French decline by investing €2 billion in new set top boxes and content – but production of original series is hampered by corporatist regulation and the market for sports rights is increasingly competitive

Earnings are slipping – under a high fixed cost model any revenue decline depresses profit margin. The trend will worsen under the weight of the increase in domestic football costs next year as well as the planned extra spend on content and set-top boxes 

 

  • Canal Plus
Media, TV 11 December 2015

Pages