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Format: Dec 2017
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Channel 4 future funding challenge

The essential conclusion of Ofcom’s Second Public Service Broadcasting Review is that the present commercial PSB model is unsustainable in the digital age. The Ofcom solution of fixing on Channel 4 as the “alternative, commercial PSB voice”, while freeing up the Channel 3 and 5 licensees from most of their PSB obligations, still leaves a major funding gap

A particularly attractive solution is some kind of synergy-generating merger/JV/partnership, but difficult to achieve in practice. The attached note examines the main issues that we may expect to arise with the existing proposals

  • Channel 4
  • BBC
  • ITV
Media, TV 6 February 2009
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 plugs into YouTube

Channel 4 has confirmed it will distribute catch-up and archive TV shows via YouTube on a non-exclusive basis starting in November, with the broadcaster responsible for selling advertising around its content

The partnership looks to be a win-win: Channel 4 stands to get a huge lift in its online audience while retaining control over sales, while Google achieves a breakthrough deal with a major broadcaster with the hope of more to come

We expect a rash of similar deals as rights holders, broadcasters and video service providers jostle for position in the nascent internet TV market, but few will benefit from the special synergies offered by Channel 4-YouTube

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, Internet 17 October 2009
Channel 4 radio: six feet under

Channel 4 has announced the immediate withdrawal of its majority stake in 4 Digital Group, a new venture that was awarded the licence by Ofcom in 2007 to build the UK’s second national commercial radio DAB multiplex, and Channel 4 will not be launching its promised portfolio of broadcast radio channels

The obvious culprit is the weak economy, with mobile telecoms seeming to be more vulnerable to consumer cutbacks than previously thought, a hypothesis supported by recent consumer research

With European economic growth forecast to decline further, revenue growth is likely to drop below zero by the beginning of 2009, and then progressively worsen through 2009 as regulatory effects worsen, creating a very tough environment for mobile operators to preserve margins

 

  • Channel 4
Media, Music and Radio 11 October 2008
Channel 4 set for the future: 2016 annual report

2016 has seen Channel 4 break new records in growing revenues and investing in content origination, whilst making further progress in delivering its remit and maintaining audience share for its main channel

However, the second half of 2016 and early months of this year promise a significantly tougher 2017 as the economic and TV advertising climate has worsened and the future is clouded with uncertainties

Channel 4 nonetheless starts from a relatively strong position financially and we expect it to be well capable of sustaining its remit under the leadership of its new CEO Alex Mahon, though much hinges on the outcome of the Government consultation on relocation 

  • Channel 4
Media, TV 24 July 2017
Channel 4 setting new records: 2015 annual report

2015 has been a very good year for Channel 4: excellent remit delivery, record revenues and record investment in content origination, supported by the stabilisation of audience share for its main channel, which we expect to continue in 2016.

The spectre of privatisation nevertheless looms. The government may have backed away from full privatisation, but part privatisation is still on the table. In our view, this has even less merit and promises even more conflicts of interest than full privatisation.

Channel 4 should be encouraged by the government’s White Paper on BBC Charter Renewal, which has strongly endorsed its commitment to public service broadcasting under the next 11-year Charter.

  • Channel 4
Media, TV 24 May 2016
Channel 4 viewing trends and sustainability

The Government is exploring the privatisation option for future Channel 4 ownership on account of its concerns about the sustainability of the Channel 4 business model in light of recent viewing trends

Channel 4’s focus on 16-34s has put it under extra pressure, but the topline figures do not remotely tell the true story. 2010-2013 was a period of disruption due to special factors. Little decline has occurred since, and Channel 4 group 16-34 and peak time viewing shares have held firm since 2010

As for revenues, the trading dynamics of UK TV advertising have seen audience loss more than matched by increased spend, benefiting both Channel 4 and ITV. This is not about to change, while BBC3 closure and Channel 4 digital video growth will reinforce the financial sustainability of Channel 4, now delivering its remit better than ever

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, UK Media 1 March 2016
Channel 4: radio ambitions aim too high

Ofcom has awarded the UK’s second national commercial digital radio multiplex to Channel 4 Television, having rejected a competing bid from National Grid Wireless

  • Channel 4
Media, Music and Radio 4 July 2007
Channel 4: relocation and dislocation

Channel 4 revenues and content spend hit record levels in 2016, but the company faces a declining TV advertising market in 2017 due to a weaker economy and competition

The company’s ability to deliver its unique remit to audiences and producers is also under pressure from Government proposals to move staff outside London

Because Channel 4 can only commission, a move will not stimulate a creative cluster. Risks to the remit include the loss of talent and lower content spend due to higher opex 

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • ITV
Media, TV, UK Media 16 August 2017
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
Channel 5 sold

Northern & Shell has concluded the sale of the Channel 5 Group for the price of £450 million, a little over midway between the £103 million spent on acquiring Channel 5 from RTL in 2010 and the quoted target price of £700 million at the beginning of the year

Channel 5’s fourth place in the strong and buoyant UK advertising market, its PSB privileges and current audience and operating performance make it a rare and attractive opportunity for US groups like Viacom seeking to expand their international footprint

Among the challenges facing Viacom are the integration of the free-to-air Channel 5 Group reaching a broad audience with its own largely pay-TV channels aimed at the younger age groups. In the process, we expect Viacom to deepen its ties with Sky, including advertising sales, where further consolidation appears likely

  • Five
TV, Media 1 May 2014
Channel 5 up for sale?

Richard Desmond’s appointment of Barclays to explore the sale of the Channel 5 Group in 2013 has fuelled speculation over prospective purchasers should Northern & Shell be intent on selling this asset

The reported target of at least £700 million, seven times the £103.5 million paid by Northern & Shell to RTL three years ago, reflects a strong performance in 2013, but needs to be against several distinctive factors, including Channel 5’s near total reliance on advertising and the cross-promotional benefits it gains from the Northern & Shell print publications

Regulatory and strategic considerations suggest that neither ITV nor the pay-TV platform operators, Sky and BT, are likely to emerge as serious bidders and that an overseas group from the US is the most likely outcome if a sale is to take place

  • Sky
  • ITV
  • BT
TV, Media 10 January 2014
Channel 5: three years on from Viacom's acquisition

Viacom’s 2014 acquisition of Channel 5 from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell occurred while the maelstrom encircling linear television viewing—sparked by the allure of SVODs and other digital distractions—was well underway

Nevertheless, with increased content spend, development of new titles and clarity as to its targeted audience, the broadcaster has increased its channel (and group) share amongst 16-34s and ABC1s, and has directed further benefits back to its owner's existing entertainment suite

Outside of the post-lunch and 8-10pm slots, however, work needs to be done: Channel 5’s BVOD proposition and social media offering leaves much to be desired, while the reliance on two major titles, Big Brother and Neighbours will be unsustainable in a post-linear world  

  • Channel 4
  • Five
  • Viacom
Media, TV 1 December 2017
Channel Four 2008 annual report: bridging the funding gap

Channel 4 broke even in 2008 despite a 5% fall in total TV NAR (net advertising revenues), through a combination of outperforming the market and £25 million in programme budget cuts. Its annual report also underlined its credentials as the alternative PSB voice, based on market research conducted over the year

The crunch time is likely to come in 2009 and 2010. Although financially better placed in many ways than ITV, and more flexible over committed programme spend, the recession threatens Channel 4 with a cumulative annual net deficit of around £150 million in 2010 without further action

Financial pressures facing Channel 4 highlight the need for urgent government action, in the absence of which much depends on the outcome of Virgin Media’s efforts to sell its content assets and the ultimate willingness of BBC Worldwide to engage in a JV with Channel 4. Consolidation would help even if it did not solve all of Channel 4’s pressing financial concerns

  • Channel 4
Media, TV 6 May 2009
Channel Netflix

Netflix H2 2013 results show continuing steady expansion in its domestic US and international streaming businesses, mostly towards the upper end of company guidance Netflix has always posed as a disruptor, yet there is nothing revolutionary in its business model or content origination strategy, while confidence in the future owes much to growing acceptance of Netflix as another channel outlet by incumbent content owners Although Netflix releases no international streaming data by country, there is some evidence to suggest it is edging towards two million in the UK; but is still on a tightrope as it races to add subscribers and revenues to cover its fast growing and somewhat shrouded content obligations

Technology, Internet, TV, Media 20 August 2013
Channelling strength: Virgin Media Q2 2016 results

Virgin Media had its strongest June quarter since 2008 with 43k broadband net adds (31% of market net adds), of which Project Lightning contributed less than half. Current momentum remains largely dual play with continuing, though stable, net losses in the TV base

Content investments, and an upgraded UI and STB will be at the centre of TV promotions as refreshed triple play bundles are launched towards the end of the year in a bid to reinvigorate premium pay TV competition. In a saturated premium pay TV market, base stabilisation should be the near term target

Pressure on revenue growth from price increase mechanics, discounting, one-offs and other factors are set to ease from next quarter, in tandem with increased Project Lightning contributions. As we enter the football season, attention turns to wholesale content costs following a record breaking rights auction last year

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms 12 August 2016
Children's changing video habits and implications for the content market

Children’s media use and attitudes have dramatically changed over the last few years, stemming from the rapid take-up of smartphones and tablets

Traditional TV continues to decline at the expense of newer video services such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon, with 43% of children aged 8-15 preferring YouTube videos over TV programmes

These online services offer content producers wider opportunities, but questions remain around the lack of regulation online, and the recent scandal around children’s safety on YouTube has heightened these concerns

  • Amazon
  • BBC
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Sky
  • Virgin Media
  • Walt Disney
  • YouTube
Media, TV, UK Media 8 December 2017
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
Churn

Little research has been done into why consumers move from one supplier to another. Churn, as this phenomenon is known, is much discussed but little understood. We carried out some research to show what types of people churn, why they do it, and whether it is an outcome of a certain type of personality.

Telecoms 7 March 2003
Clash of the retail titans: Amazon vs Walmart

The battle in the US between Amazon, ecommerce giant, and Walmart, the retail titan, reflects the changing face of US retail as online drives growth

Amazon, the everything store, innovates on marketplace, warehouse and logistics, and customer tools like Prime, while Walmart fortifies in-store and builds on its strengths 

Walmart cannot overtake Amazon online, but it can defend its position as the largest US retailer as Amazon drives an ecommerce future for retailing 

 

 

 

  • Amazon
Internet, Media, Technology, Telecoms 28 September 2016

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