Format: Mar 2019
Sector(s) Datesort ascending
New media and creative industries

Here are the main points of the evidence I gave on 9 May 2006 before the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media & Sport joint meeting with Trade and Industry Committee. I was questioned by the chairman, John Whittingdale MP OBE, and committee members, John Price MP and Helen Southworth MP.

Pipex’s strategy is sophisticated, but its success depends to a large extent on implementation problems at Carphone Warehouse and Tiscali 

Media 13 June 2006
Orange and Wanadoo in the UK: a match made in France?

Orange’s new ‘free broadband’ offer brings savings of up to 60% for Orange UK customers who pay for broadband, and may appeal to a great many of them 

  • France Telecom
  • Orange
Telecoms 12 June 2006
Canal+ outlook for sub growth

Vivendi Q1 2006 quarterly results show solid underlying improvement in earnings, but disappointing subscription figures, which fell by 40,000 in the quarter 

We regard meeting even this extended deadline as difficult given their slowing growth, churn problems and the increasing network costs associated with their network outsourcing deals, and furthermore EBITDA is unlikely to improve significantly from 2007 onwards 

  • Canal Plus
Media 12 June 2006
Fastweb model under strain

Q1 2006 results show strong subscriber growth due to an enlarged LLU footprint and to promotions 

Telecoms 7 June 2006
Vodafone results: diverting to fixed line?

Vodafone's performance in its core European markets is continuing to worsen in both absolute terms and in relation to its competitors, and its margin progression is weak 

There is little evidence of a revenue meltdown

  • Vodafone
Telecoms 31 May 2006
Cable & Wireless annual results ending 31st March 2006

International subsidiaries continue to perform solidly 

  • Cable & Wireless
Telecoms 30 May 2006
Sky Italia and the broadband question

Positive Q3 FY 2006 results and the announcement of a possible flotation have raised speculation that Sky Italia may be gearing itself up to follow BSkyB’s entry into broadband 

  • Sky Italia
Media 29 May 2006

The directors of Eircom, the Irish incumbent, have recommended acceptance of a joint offer from Babcock and Brown Capital and the Eircom Employee Share Ownership Trust 

But BT’s cost performance is improving. Group EBITDA growth has accelerated whilst capital expenditure has been held steady, increasing cash flow (EBITDA minus capital expenditure) 

Telecoms 29 May 2006
BT FY 2005-06 Q4 results

BT is continuing to grow revenue in spite of increasing competition in the residential market

Telecoms 21 May 2006
Versatel - Football-driven LLU?

The experience of Versatel (now owned by Tele2) in The Netherlands provides a cautionary tale for new entrant altnets hoping to use premium content to gain broadband market share in a well-contested and maturing broadband market (58% household penetration). In late 2004,Versatel was the surprise winner of the 2000-2008 broadcast licence for the domestic football league Eredivisie (carried only by Versatel and licensed to satellite TV), but Versatel's broadband market share and that of other unbundlers fell in 2005 while those of incumbent KPN (operating under three brands) and cable rose.

We welcome that the company appears to be de-emphasising 3G, with SACs reduced and 3G as a percentage of handset sales dropping from 20% to 12%. Unfortunately, just as Vodafone is recovering from the 3G industry fad, it seems keen to get distracted by another – convergence 

Telecoms 16 May 2006
Freebox to hit mobile?

Illiad’s new Freebox in France promises savings of ‘up to’ 40% for mobile users by using Wi-Fi to make mobile calls at home, creating fears that it will harm the French mobile industry 

BSkyB plans to unbundle 1,200 exchanges by the end of 2007, enabling it to offer shared or full LLU to 70% of UK homes. It will offer ‘free’ broadband up to 2Mb to all and only Sky DTH customers served by its unbundled exchanges. Or they can pay a little more, £5 and £10 a month respectively, for broadband up to 8 Mb or 16 Mb. In addition, all Sky Broadband customers will be able to take BSkyB’s telephony offer, Sky Talk for an additional £14 a month, which includes line rental and unlimited calls in the UK.

Telecoms 15 May 2006
BT Vision

BT plans to launch BT Vision – its hybrid Freeview-IPTV service – in Q4 2006. The aim is to broaden the appeal of its broadband offerings and help it to withstand aggressive competition from local-loop unbundlers such as Carphone Warehouse, Wanadoo/Orange and, soon, BSkyB 

Of the three known candidates, BSkyB stands to gain the most from acquiring AOL UK’s customer base, except that it would deepen an already challenging LLU cash flow profile. Orange’s market position would also be significantly strengthened by acquiring AOL UK’s customer base, with the added benefit of displacing a potentially harmful rival in BSkyB 

Media, Telecoms 8 May 2006
Sky and football: more to pay, less to show and reduced margin

The FAPL has just auctioned six packages of televised live Premier League (PL) rights, each comprising 23 games, for the three years commencing autumn 2008. The total consideration of £1,714 million is 67% up on the £1,024 million BSkyB is now paying over three years for the same number of live PL games 

Barça cannot afford to dispense with Sogecable’s support as a pay-TV partner and possessor of contracts with the other leading clubs. A deal has to be struck 

  • Sky
Media 7 May 2006
Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse (CPW) has launched a broadband/telephony bundle which effectively offers free broadband to non-cable customers in urban areas 

O2’s purchase of Be may only have cost £50 million but its entry into UK broadband may ultimately prove an expensive distraction 

  • Carphone Warehouse
Telecoms 11 April 2006
Valuing Premier League Football Rights

The FA Premier League Limited has set a deadline of 14:00 on Thursday 27th April 2006 for receiving bids for live televised Premier League (PL) rights under the new three-year contract due to start with the 2007/08 football season. BSkyB is everyone's favourite to win at least four out of the six packages of 23 games up for auction, but probably the maximum best-looking five under the new rules that will not allow total exclusivity. Valuing Premier League Football Rights [2006-11] addresses the question of how much BSkyB may have to bid in order to win.

The combined NTL/Telewest occupies the centre ground of the triple play space in the UK. It has long provided the triple play of TV, telephony and broadband and is now the largest ISP in the UK. However, it has historically been constrained by high prices and poor customer service.

Media 10 April 2006
H3G results: 3 broken promises

H3G’s 2005 results underperformed in 3 key areas: net subscriber additions were lower than promised, unit SACs were higher than promised and the group failed to reach EBITDA breakeven as promised 

2006 promises to be much worse due to a markedly bigger drop of about 11.5% in weighted share of commercial impacts in 2005, due to a number of factors (not just multichannel platform growth), and an anticipated decline of between 2% and 5% in total TV NAR in 2006. Taking a mid-value of -3.5% yields a drop in ITV plc NAR of around £180 million in 2006 

  • Hutchison 3G
Telecoms 9 April 2006
NTL/Virgin Mobile

NTL’s acquisition of Virgin Mobile will improve NTL’s prospects for revenue growth and enable it to exploit the Virgin brand and marketing expertise 

  • Virgin Media
Telecoms 4 April 2006
The PVR and Adding Value

The Personal Video Recorder (PVR) will play a central role in contesting the digital TV landscape in the UK over the course of digital switchover and broadband expansion. BSkyB’s market leader Sky+ will be present in over 60% of its Sky Digital homes as the central media storage unit and intelligence hub.

The product, however, has a massive cost to Orange’s economics, and we cannot see how lowering churn or offering extra services can possibly compensate for this – the strategy appears to be driven by French rather than English economics 

Media 30 March 2006
Mobile Video Downloads

Mobile video services (along with music) have been heralded as the ‘killer applications’ set to deliver the revenue and customer satisfaction long promised by 3G. In our report Mobile TV: Trials and Tribulations [2005-20] we addressed live TV services; in this report we now consider non-live video downloading services. We conclude that while this is currently the largest ‘media’ mobile service (excluding ringtones) and it may continue to grow strongly in the short term, the market opportunity is ultimately limited due to the small size of video files downloadable over 3G, and that live TV and PC-based downloads will eventually force the market into decline.

The cause of subscription take-up already falling behind management targets set in mid 2005 is the CanalSat DTH basic rather than the Canal+ premium service, now under pressure from rival DSL and DTT services 

Telecoms 28 March 2006
Spanish Free-to-Air TV

With the launch of two new analogue terrestrial services and a relaunch of digital terrestrial television (DTT), the Spanish government has opened up the country’s free-to-air (FTA) TV market. Although we expect the government to assist the new analogue terrestrial entrants, we anticipate that both will struggle to become profitable. Meanwhile, the DTT space will be more interesting for the takeover opportunities that it presents to the leading terrestrial commercial groups.

Fastweb’s high service model increasingly appeals to the business segment but aggressive competition on the residential segment is eroding ARPU 

Media 24 March 2006