Publications

Format: Aug 2018
sort ascending Sector(s) Date
Virgin Media Q1 2014 results: Volume, revenue and profitability improving

Improving volume trends and ARPU drove Virgin Media’s cable revenue growth to improve from 3.0% to 3.6%, helped by a firm price increase implemented during the quarter

Underlying OCF growth improved more dramatically, from -1% to +6%, with synergy benefits, lower marketing costs and lower premium channel cost growth some of the main drivers

While volume growth is still modest, solid ARPU growth and cost control should allow continued strong OCF growth through the rest of the year

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, Media 11 May 2014
Virgin Media Q1 2013 results: Early price increase boosts revenue

Virgin Media’s consumer business had a very strong quarter in revenue growth terms, but a weaker one in subscriber terms, both driven by the annual price increase occurring during the quarter

On the wholesale side, the company signed up both Sky and two mobile operators for backhaul services, likely at BT Wholesale’s expense

Net net Virgin Media is well on course, with the completion of the acquisition by Liberty Global expected by the end of Q2 unlikely to derail this

  • Virgin Media
Media, TV, Telecoms, Mobile, Fixed Line 25 April 2013
Virgin Media Q1 2011 results: still respectable, but growth dropping

VMed’s Q1 results were respectable, helped by strong revenue growth at Virgin Media Business

However, growth in volume, ARPU and OCF, while still positive, is trending downwards, and we retain our expectation of more limited progress in 2011 compared to 2010

VMed’s strategy is coherent; the issue is the pace at which initiatives such as high speed broadband, service convergence and footprint expansion can be converted into cash flow growth

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, Media 20 April 2011
Virgin Media Q1 2010 results: volume growth strengthening; still potential for improvement

VMed’s Q1 results were again strong, with price increases and opex reduction continuing as the main drivers, underpinned by strengthening volume growth

The company’s recently completed debt refinancing gives management much greater flexibility in deciding how much to reinvest in growing the business

The outlook continues to look very encouraging, with the April price increases, further cost reduction, modest turnarounds at Mobile and Business and improved wholesale terms for Sky content still to come

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, Media 28 April 2010
Virgin Media Q1 2009 results: awaiting impact of price changes

VMed’s Q1 results were again mixed, with declining group revenue and OCF margin but improving performance at Virgin Mobile and continuing strength in TV

The core cable business is facing a return to negative customer growth due to a combination of seasonality and stalling demand for broadband

But de facto price increases in broadband, TV and mobile should boost financial performance from the autumn; we expect this to be combined with reduced opex to generate significant cash flow growth from 2010

  • Virgin Media
TV, Media, Telecoms, Fixed Line 4 May 2009
Virgin Media Q1 2008 results: turning point in prospect

VMed’s Q1 results represent a further step in the recovery of the core cable business, with markedly lower churn and strong growth in operating cash flow (OCF)

  • Virgin Media
TV, Media, Telecoms, Fixed Line 11 May 2008
Virgin Media Q1 2007 results: headwinds increasing

Virgin Media’s Q1 top line results were again mixed, with a growing number of customers leaving as competition intensifies, despite the rebrand to Virgin. But it could have been worse; most higher-spending customers are remaining

  • Virgin Media
TV, Media, Telecoms, Fixed Line 9 May 2007
Virgin Media Netflix TTM OTT pact

Virgin Media and Netflix have agreed on a ground breaking trial that blurs the traditional distinction between pay-TV platforms and OTT services by permitting TiVo customers direct access to Netflix via their set-top boxes The deal promises to benefit both parties as Netflix enhances the Virgin Media content offer to its TiVo customers with minimal risks of cord-shaving, while availability on Virgin Media TiVo offers Netflix the prospect of incremental subscription growth The question is whether other pay-TV platforms will follow suit, including Sky with its competitive interests in film rights acquisition, but where the Netflix value to UK viewers is increasingly seen to lie in its TV content

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms, Technology, Internet, TV, Media 10 September 2013
Virgin Media Investor Day 2010: pausing for breath

Virgin Media’s recent investor day served to emphasise the potential for further growth in cash flow, with Virgin Mobile, next generation TV and Business taking more prominent roles

The new TiVo service, launched on 1 December, is impressive, but will not be available throughout the cable footprint until Q3 2011 and is more likely to help maintain the company’s differentiated position, keeping churn low and subscriber growth positive, than generate a sudden revenue boost

Management’s residential ‘quad play’ strategy of selling higher end mobile contracts to cable customers looks sound, but handset subsidies mean that the benefits will not feed through until 2012

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, TV, Media 9 December 2010
Virgin Media calls for PL auction investigation

Virgin Media’s request for Ofcom to open a formal investigation into the auction mechanism of live televised Premier League rights is a timely reminder of the need to consider the consumer as the auction draws ever closer with all eyes focused on the battle of BT versus Sky

When the EC last intervened before the 2006 auction, its remedy focused on the need for more than one winner for the sake of a more competitive downstream market, but without considering other variables affecting the outcome, to which Virgin Media has drawn attention

As the European country with much the highest rights fees per game, much the fewest televised top league games, highest package prices and by far the biggest outlay on player wages, the current PL auction mechanism gives the UK consumer little cause for cheer

  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 5 October 2014
Virgin Media 50 Mbit/s broadband launch: product differentiation - at a price

On Monday 15th December, Virgin Media (VMed) announced the launch of its 50 Mbit/s ‘XXL’ broadband service, implemented over the existing cable network using the DOCSIS3 standard. This note looks at the details of the offer and the implications for VMed, other ISPs and the residential telecoms market as a whole

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms 16 December 2008
View from Mobile World Congress

Major European mobile operators were downbeat, with mobile revenue growth in Europe still massively underperforming the US, and their (misplaced in our view) anger at the OTT players being channelled into promoting new mobile OSs to compete with both Apple and Android

Samsung is cementing its dominance, while the other branded players focus on flagship models to try to cut through the noise. Meanwhile the flood of Android from Chinese OEM/ODMs is growing, at increasingly good quality. All other mobile platforms appear increasingly marginal

Superficially the handset industry appears to be stabilising around Apple, Android, and Samsung, plus the Chinese long tail. However, Apple, Google/Moto and perhaps Amazon may well all have disruptive moves planned for this year

  • Google
  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms 8 March 2013
Video viewing forecasts to 2027: continued divergence by age group

Our latest forecasts predict traditional broadcasters will account for 72% of all video viewing in 2027, down from an estimated 82% in 2017, reflecting the continuing adoption of online video services across all UK age groups

Additional viewing of online short-form content such as YouTube will keep pushing overall volumes higher, with SVOD services serving more as a substitution for linear TV

The extent will be greater among younger age groups, for whom the shift has already been significant. We predict that in 10 years just 42% of 16-34s’ total viewing will be to conventional broadcasters versus 91% for the over-55s

  • Amazon
  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • Google
  • ITV
  • Netflix
  • Sky
  • YouTube
Media, TV, UK Media 9 May 2018
Video viewing forecasts to 2026

2016 was yet another year in which we saw big changes in the UK’s video consumption habits amongst the under-45s, with little let up in the decline of traditional broadcast linear TV viewing for the younger age groups

Online video-on-demand services will continue to grow, partly at the expense of traditional TV audiences. We also expect the overall volume of viewing to rise, mainly due to wider production of and access to short-form content

Despite these changes, conventional broadcasters look to be strong for years to come—we estimate they will still account for 80% of all video viewing in 2026

Media, TV, UK Media 23 March 2017
Video streaming and news online

The UK is now entering a period of intense discussion of the regulation and ownership of news outlets. In this context it is revealing to look at a case study of news viewing online

Livestation is an online service which aggregates several dozen TV news channels and makes them available online. Two of the most prominent are Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. These channels experienced explosive growth during the ‘Arab Spring’ events, and this was reflected in the statistics for access to their online streams, which we analyse here

In the course of these events, the live video streams for Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya went from 150,000 and 50,000 monthly uniques to 3.3m and 1.3m. Their audience online switched from a tiny base of largely expatriate viewers outside the Arab world to millions of viewers in the Arab world. Even after the most dramatic events subsided, traffic remains 10 times what it was in late 2010

Internet, TV, Media 27 September 2011
Video on demand insights: Netflix, Amazon and the iPlayer

Even with the decline in linear television viewing, online video remains a small component of total video consumption. The growth area is unsurprisingly SVOD; subscription video now makes up about two thirds of the UK's digital video spend.

Netflix is moving from an aggregator of content to a "channel" in its own right, increasing proportionate spend on original programming, something that the public service broadcasters are unable to do for differing reasons. Amazon had a tough 2017 for video, and are still struggling to create a hit.

New Nielsen audience data suggests that the long-term "library value" of Netflix's originals may be overstated, while the BBC's iPlayer continues to be hampered by not really having a library at all.

  • Amazon
  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • Netflix
  • Sky
Media, TV 5 January 2018
Video games: buoyant year ahead

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Mobile World Congress (MWC) saw major announcements in virtual reality and new generation streaming game consoles, as well as further opening up of access to game engine software

Latest earnings reports show that major publishers and developers are currently in buoyant form as growth in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One install base boosts revenue and consumers migrate to digital sales

Results for developers dependent on the mobile or online ecosystem are more mixed: King (producer of Candy Crush) continues to grow, but Zynga is struggling, although recent performance hints at a possible halt in its decline

  • Microsoft
  • Sony
Media, Technology 13 May 2015
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
Very High Speed Broadband: A Case For Intervention?

In continental Europe ‘public/private partnerships’ rolling out very high speed broadband (VHSB) access networks to consumers are the latest rage, with local governments pushing their own subsidy initiatives and seeking to secure cover from European Commission rules on state aid. These initiatives raise basic questions about the future of the telecommunications industry, including whether the supply of network infrastructure will be led by demand for applications or by the will of politicians, subsidies at hand

Telecoms, Fixed Line, Non-UK Telecoms 24 January 2007
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

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