Publications

Format: Oct 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
BT Q2 2015/16 results: Sport distorts, but underlying results strong

The launch of BT Sport Europe pushed up BT’s revenue and pushed down EBITDA in its Q2 results, but underlying revenue growth was strong across all divisions and cost control continued, with the company well on track for its full year guidance

BT Sport itself is being executed well, both in terms of viewers and direct revenue earned, but is not having a discernable impact on broadband figures, nor a game-changing impact on BT’s modest pay TV base, despite its very considerable net cost

On the regulatory side, BT has secured a strong result with the EE merger being provisionally approved without remedies, but debates over the future of Openreach continue, with the related issue of ultrafast roll-out regulation of particular import

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 5 November 2015
Watching TV and video in 2025

Television has seen massive change and it has held up remarkably well since the era of satellite and cable dawned in the US in the mid-seventies; but now there is a sense of transformation in the air as broadcast TV gives ground to limitless video on multiple screens

Viewing habits are changing very rapidly indeed among the under-35s due to a combination of cohort and life stage factors, although we are also seeing change among older age groups

In spite of all the change that is now taking place, our latest long term forecasts point to the broadcast sector as continuing to account for the greater share of viewing for many years to come absent government intervention, which cannot be ruled out

Media, TV, UK Media 4 November 2015
UK consumer perspective on Internet of Things

The UK is a prime market for sales to consumers of IoT products with obvious and compelling use cases: wearables surf perennial social trends such as fitness and diet, while smart home solutions address energy use, safety and security

British Gas’ Active Hive Heating, first to market and the top smart thermostat brand in the UK, is facing competition from the Nest Learning Thermostat from Nest Labs, while Samsung’s SmartThings provides safety and security in the home

A substantial barrier to sales of IoT products to consumers lies in their concerns regarding the privacy and security of the personal data collected online. This data should be safe under the UK’s data protection regime, although well-publicised hacks highlight compliance issues on the part of data controllers

  • Apple
  • Google
  • Samsung
Internet, Media, Technology 29 October 2015
EE Q3 2015 results: Strong subs, ARPU still weak

EE reported strong mobile contract net adds in Q3, after a string of weaker performances earlier in the year following the closure of Phones 4U and retirement of the Orange and T-Mobile brands

Contract ARPU growth remained at -3.1%, keeping mobile service revenue in modest decline (-1.4%), a disappointing result in comparison to modest positive growth at its rivals in recent quarters, although improving subscriber numbers should start to bridge this gap

Fixed broadband subscriber growth suffered in a competitive quarter, with EE unable to maintain momentum when faced with the launch of BT Sport Europe and corresponding increased marketing spend from Sky

  • EE
Telecoms 29 October 2015
BT's away game

BARB viewing figures provide an encouraging start to BT in its first season showing Champions League and European televised rights; numbers are on a par with those achieved by Sky over the previous few seasons

The investment in rights is not just about achieving good viewing figures - BT’s entry into televised sports is as much about supporting its broadband and pay-TV business in the face of increasing competition from Sky and others

BT has reported results for the September quarter with record-setting TV net adds and steady broadband net adds, confirming that while Sky arguably won the broadband battle, BT won TV, and neither really lost in either category

  • BT
Fixed Line, Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 29 October 2015
Sky Q1 2016 results: positive start to the year

Sky has got off to a good start in 2016, as Q1 group revenues grew by 6% and operating profits by 10% year-on-year, while churn stayed low across all three operations, and product net additions of close to one million pointed to continuing strong underlying growth

The Q1 results have softened concerns about the impact of loss of Champions League live televised rights in the UK and Italy, which have so far shown very little effect in spite of intense competitive pressures from BT and Mediaset

Although Sky UK & Ireland has accounted for the entire year-on-year increase in Q1 operating profits, strong subscriber growth in Germany & Austria over the last two years, and signs that economic conditions in Italy are on the mend, provide a positive outlook for the year ahead

  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky Italia
Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 27 October 2015
ITV acquires UTV TV - where next?

The launch of UTV Ireland in the Republic has proved less than successful for UTV Media and has led to its divestment and that of its Channel 3 licence in Northern Ireland

ITV has bought UTV Television for £100m cash and will own 13 of the 15 regional Channel 3 licences, though we do not see a play for STV in the medium term

UTV Media is now able to fully focus on its main profit centre – its growing radio business in the UK and Ireland

  • ITV
Media, Music and Radio, TV, UK Media 26 October 2015
European mobile in Q2 2015: Improving, up to a point

European mobile service revenue growth improved to the highest in over four years driven by improvements in the three slowest growing markets of late. Out-of-bundle revenues are still declining at a rate of over 10% but data revenue growth trends point to underlying strengths in the revenue profile. Looking at the longer term picture begs the question as to whether the quarter’s improvement can be repeated over the next 18 months, transforming the industry into one with extremely healthy revenue growth of 5%-10%; on balance we are not very optimistic

Two major in-mobile transactions are yet to be approved by the EC, namely H3G/O2 in the UK and an H3G/Wind JV in Italy. The recent precedent from Denmark is somewhat discouraging, although the Danish consolidation was unusual in some respects. Nonetheless comments from the new competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager suggest that regulatory caution towards 4-to-3 mergers is still high

Progress towards convergence is continuing with few operators in a post-consolidation world being either 100% fixed or 100% mobile. Convergence has to date been discount-led and damaging to market revenues, but post-consolidation, operator rhetoric has been reassuringly more focused on intentions for increased investment in both LTE mobile networks and high speed fixed networks

  • EE
  • France Telecom
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Iliad
  • O2
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • T-Mobile
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 14 October 2015
BBC plans hit local press

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

BBC proposals for local media set out on 7 September offer solutions to an alleged market failure, without much evidence, contained in February’s Future of News report.

There is no dispute that local commercial print and online media operations have suffered heavy revenue losses since their peak a decade ago – the industry is, however, still profitable, innovation and online growth are helping to stabilise the top-line, and new enterprises are emerging.

Local media publishers prefer a turbo-charged BBC policy of linking to their sites to the proposal for a local media digital hub fed by publishers and 100 BBC journalists.

  • BBC
  • DMGT
  • Gannett/Newsquest
  • Guardian Media Group
  • Johnston Press
  • Local World
  • News Corp
  • Trinity Mirror
Media 14 October 2015
Music publishing in Germany 2014-17

Germany remains the second largest market in Europe for the exploitation of composition rights by their authors, with €382 million paid out to them in 2014, up 8% on 2013 (63% share of distributions on average). The German Government intends to secure an even “better balance for authors” in their contracts with music publishers, by allowing the composer to “re-tender” their contracts after five years to secure a better deal

GEMA, the collecting society, has a strong position in Germany and is poised to lead the development of the digital single market for online music services. Together with PRS for Music (UK) and STIM (Sweden), GEMA has formed a joint venture (JV) to offer multi-territory licensing and copyright administration services to services, music publishers and other CMOs, cleared by the EU Commission

Music publisher revenues from domestic collections could rise from €225 million to €247 million from 2014 to 2017, due to a moderate rise in broadcast revenues on the back of the economic recovery, a boost to public performance revenues from a higher live music tariff and flat royalties from recorded music expenditure, as the decline of physical mechanicals is offset by the rise of online royalties

  • Bertelsmann
  • RTL
  • SFR
  • Spotify
  • Vivendi
  • YouTube
Non-UK Media, Media, Music and Radio, Non UK Media 12 October 2015
Sky’s cost discipline in Italy close to being vindicated

In Italy, pay coverage of the Champions League shifted from Sky to Mediaset Premium this season. Alongside a new Serie A contract, this adds an extra €300 million to Mediaset Premium’s cost base

The first results indicate that Mediaset is unlikely to meet its subscriber growth target. On current trends we expect cumulative EBIT losses of over €400 million by 2018

Mounting losses may force Mediaset to close or sell Premium, but fear of Sky may slow decision-making. Sky was probably right not to overbid for the Champions League and the savings should more than offset minor subscriber losses

  • Sky Italia
Non-UK Media, Media, TV 9 October 2015
Friends with benefits: Facebook and publishers

We are seeing a proliferation of news distribution services on social media and technology platforms, as companies like Apple and Facebook look to capture the value of longform professional content.

Facebook’s Instant articles will likely be the most significant distribution mechanism for publishers, allowing Facebook to further position itself as a provider of quality, rather than just user-generated, content.

This is best seen as a trade: news providers’ engaging content for Facebook’s audience reach and data. While concerns about reliance on Facebook and content commoditisation are understandable, these are the inevitable results of user behaviour.

  • Facebook
Internet, Media 8 October 2015
Sky Deutschland: approaching profitability?

The push for accelerated subscriber acquisition has stalled Sky Deutschland’s underlying growth in profits as promotions have undermined ARPU

After being artificially suppressed by the introduction of two-year contracts, churn is poised to rise. Sky could maintain subscriber growth only through increased marketing and discounting – but this is unlikely

We expect EBIT breakeven before the end of the current Bundesliga contract in 2017. But sustained profitability depends on the outcome of the rights auction to be held next spring

  • Sky
  • Sky Deutschland
Media, Non UK Media, TV 6 October 2015
Amazon’s Prime Directive

Despite dropping the Fire Phone, Amazon has upped the ante in its battle for digital media consumers, upgrading its Fire TV devices and rolling out a new range of low price and robust tablets, starting from £50/$50, squarely aimed at the mass market

As with all Amazon devices aside from the failed phone, they are conduits for the company’s media and retail services, aimed at increasing purchases and forcing other platform operators to include them

Although shrinking as a share of Amazon’s business, media remains crucial, both for direct revenue and to attract customers to Prime, its membership programme, which by some estimates now accounts for the majority of its US sales

  • Amazon
Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, TV 5 October 2015
PSB at risk in the world

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

Australia’s ABC and Canada’s CBC/Radio Canada have each suffered severe budget cuts imposed by governments without public or political debate and in spite of strong audience support

These cuts have impaired the international reach of ABC and CBC, as well as their investment in news and locally originated content

The UK’s reputation and standing in the world relies on the BBC’s services, its online presence, channels and its programming sales. And, just as in Canada and Australia, this valuable national soft power is and will be diminished by current government policy

  • BBC
Media, TV 1 October 2015
BBC TV airwaves beyond 2026?

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'PSB' page of our site.

The DCMS Green Paper on Charter Renewal does not mention the DTT spectrum, but the question of its future is never far away, in particular where it refers to the recent explosion of choice and poses questions about universality

The former 470-862 MHz band reserved for broadcast TV will already have shrunk to 470-694 MHz by 2022 following intense international pressure from the mobile sector. Absent a strong defence case, we cannot rule out total clearance from the mid-twenties

As things stand, replacement of the DTT spectrum by the internet will have devastating consequences for the entire TV broadcast ecosystem. Most importantly, examination of viewing trends leads us to conclude that the UK public will not be ready for at least another 20 years

  • BBC
Government Broadcast Policy List 2015/16, Media, TV 16 September 2015
Apple battles for control

New ‘s’ versions of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus will help to maintain Apple’s grip on the high-end smartphone market. A notebook-sized iPad Pro and revamped Apple TV round out this year’s iOS device upgrade

iPhone sales may be further boosted by a new leasing plan, initially US-only, allowing users to upgrade handsets each year more easily, which also should enable the company to take a share of the used iPhone market, and could even be a precursor to an Apple MVNO

While the new iPad and Apple TV are unlikely to have a material impact on profits in the near term, they should be seen in the context of the wider battle for control of the connected office and home

Media, Technology, Telecoms 16 September 2015
BBC TV – impact on investment in UK content

Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site.

Responding to the Green Paper’s question on the BBC’s market impact, this report finds that the UK’s creative economy would suffer a 25-50% decline of investment in new UK content “if BBC TV did not exist at all”

Advertising-supported broadcasters would gain little, if any, extra revenue from expanded commercial audiences. ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and non-PSB multichannel broadcasters would be unable to fill the gap in investment left by the BBC

Pay-TV platforms could gain significant revenues although the loss of BBC TV programming, with 30% viewing share, would increase costs. Pay-TV platforms invest <10p on the £ of revenue in new UK content excluding sport so they, too, would not fill the gap left by the BBC

  • BBC
Media, TV, UK Media 10 September 2015
UK quarterly internet trends Q2 2015

The UK’s love affair with the smartphone continued in Q2: 85% of adults under 55 and a third of over-55s now have smartphones, which are becoming the primary method of accessing the internet, accounting for over 40% of time online

Among teens and younger adults internet usage is now higher than TV viewing, though this is still offset overall by the massed ranks of older viewers who remain glued to their TV sets

Commercial revenues derived from mobile devices still trail their share of internet usage but the gap is closing fast: in Q2, smartphones and tablets generated nearly half of consumer e-commerce transactions, while mobile ads represented 34% of internet search and display advertising

Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms 3 September 2015
Numericable-SFR: Costs down but growth elusive

Ten months after the acquisition of France’s SFR by Numericable, cost cutting targets appear likely to be exceeded, but the promised resumption of revenue growth may still take time to materialise as downward price pressures persist and the subscriber base has yet to stabilise

Profitability has increased faster than expected, while debt ratios look sustainable and set to decline. The challenge is to relaunch marketing while achieving the guided ambitious EBITDA margin growth. Investments, even if lower than planned, may be enough to sustain network competitiveness

The rationale for consolidation between Numericable, Bouygues and/or Iliad remains strong. But Numericable’s model looks sustainable without this. Side investments in media may at best bring political clout. The main risk stands with parent company’s Altice’s debt-finance expansion

  • SFR
Telecoms 2 September 2015

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