Format: Mar 2019
sort descending Sector(s) Date
UK Commercial Radio

The Communications Act heralds a brave new world for commercial radio... or does it? Although newly relaxed media ownership rules vastly increase the scope for consolidation, the competition authorities have already shown they will curb excessive concentrations of advertising selling power.

Media 22 July 2003
UK Commercial Radio Consolidation

Further consolidation could lie ahead for the UK commercial radio sector. EMAP is expected to offer its radio assets for sale and Scottish Media Group plans to divest Virgin Radio. The battleground is competition for listeners drawn by the BBC's increasingly popular national radio networks. This report however examines past consolidation, which produced substantial cost savings, without noticeably improving the commercial sector's fortunes. In our view, for consolidation to succeed in this regard, much greater attention will need to be paid to improving content

  • BBC
  • SMG
  • Virgin Media
Media, Music and Radio 18 September 2007
UK Commercial Radio Q1 2008

UK commercial radio revenues increased by 6.7% in Q1 2008 year-on-year, resulting in four consecutive quarters of growth for the first time since 2004

Media, Music and Radio 16 June 2008
UK Commercial Radio Q2 2008

UK commercial radio revenues fell by 10.2% in Q2 2008 year-on-year to £134.2 million, the sector’s lowest quarter since 2000. In Q3 2008, commercial radio revenues are expected to be down 9% year-on-year as advertisers, particularly those in the finance and food sectors, continue to respond to the economic gloom by cutting their radio marketing budgets

Media, Music and Radio 9 September 2008
UK Commercial Radio Q4 2007

UK commercial radio revenues increased by 7.1% in Q4 2007 year-on-year, driven by strong growth from national advertisers, while full-year 2007 revenues increased by 2.8% to £598.2 million

Media, Music and Radio 27 March 2008
UK Commercial Radio Update

This report updates our ongoing coverage of the UK commercial radio sector (UK Commercial Radio Q2 2008 [2008-84]), and includes our latest revenue forecasts for the period 2009-2013 (Table 1)

In the context of a UK recession that is proving to be deeper and longer than official forecasts had anticipated in 2008, we have severely downgraded our advertising forecasts. We now anticipate that, following the 6.4% decline in 2008 to £560.2 million, commercial radio advertising revenues will decline by a further 14.6% in 2009, to £478.2 million (compared to the peak of £641 million reached in 2004)

Media, Music and Radio 13 March 2009
UK commercial radio update 2011

After a bounceback of 3% in commercial radio consumption in 2010, we forecast a return to the long term trend of decline, at an average rate of around 1.2% a year, as young people increasingly turn to other music listening options

We forecast revenue growth in 2010 of +3.8% for 2010, despite the collapse of COI money, due to stronger private sector appetite for radio as an advertising medium

The removal of localness requirements and liberalisation of product placement rules should help improve the operating model of large industry groups like Global

Music and Radio, Media 24 February 2011
UK commercial radio – advertisers tuning in

In this report we present our latest analysis of the UK commercial radio sector. Impressive listening figures for the first half of 2011 should help commercial radio listening to increase by 3.2% in 2011, following a similar improvement last year. The advertising outlook is also promising: despite the retreat of the COI, we expect advertising revenues to grow by 3.0% in 2011, backed by a strong Q3. The shift towards branded networks should reduce operating costs and make it easier for advertisers to invest in radio, building on sales house consolidation in the late 2000s.

Music and Radio, Media 20 September 2011
UK commercial radio: sector update

This report provides an update on the UK commercial radio sector, covering listening trends, digital platforms, group strategies and advertising expenditure.

Over the last few years, Global Radio has cleverly exploited the regulatory framework to rebrand, merge and share programming across its stations, creating the quasi-national Heart and Capital networks and slashing its operating costs in the process. But Global appears to have misjudged the competition regulators’ attitude towards local media mergers in its purchase of GMG Radio and has been ordered to sell off eight stations in seven local markets.

With at least eight stations to be divested from the Global/GMG portfolio and Absolute Radio still potentially up for sale, hot on the heels of Bauer's recent acquisition of Planet Rock, the radio industry is in the midst of a new wave of M&A activity. This report assesses the performance of the leading commercial groups and the strategies they have employed in recent years.

Alongside the formation of branded networks, another key development has been the launch of digital spin-off stations, first by Absolute Radio and more recently by Smooth and Kiss. We also discuss the impact of DAB growth on listening behaviour, the continuing challenge of getting digital radio into cars and the potential for smartphone listening growth.

Music and Radio, Media 22 May 2013
UK commercial radio: stable market with organic growth prospects

UK radio listening remains very healthy, with the plethora of internet radio and music streaming services now available barely affecting average listening time which has decreased by only 6% (11 minutes per day) since 2008

Commercial radio has maintained a consistent 43% share over this period, but its audience is getting older, as those that grew up with it remain loyal, and the population itself gets older. In a stable and benign market, the three major players of Bauer Media, Global Radio and UTV Media are focussed on increasing audiences, multi-platform propositions and digital opportunities

DAB growth remains slow, although the recently advertised national commercial multiplex may provide the impetus DAB badly needs, as it will allow for the launch of up to 11 national digital stations. Bauer, UTV and Arqiva have announced a new consortium to apply for the licence, and we believe Global is also looking to form a consortium

Music and Radio, Media 20 July 2014
UK Competition Commission Investigation Update

In January the UK Competition Commission (CC) is expected to issue its report on the pricing of mobile termination rates, an issue that was referred to it by Oftel after the UK operators rejected Oftel's initial decision. In this note we speculate on the likely contents of the report, and the impact on the UK mobile industry.

Media 17 December 2002
UK consumer books: a tale of two markets

Consumer ebook sales exploded after Amazon launched its Kindle in the UK in 2010, but growth rapidly slowed, and disruption was limited by genre, creating parallel ebook and physical book markets

Compared to the relentless downward spiral of music purchasing, these trends have been heartening for publishers and booksellers, but there are signs that slower, more complicated and insidious disruption is emerging

Decades of steady, albeit slow, growth in total book sales have been reversed, as consumers spend more time on a variety of mobile-delivered services, including some in classic content categories for books

  • Amazon
Media, Mobile, UK Media 28 July 2015
UK consumer e-commerce trends

Our first report on UK consumer e-commerce covers the largest e-tailing market in Europe. Although the share of e-commerce in UK retail sales is just below 10%, the influence of online is much wider, including reducing shop trips (along with superstore and mall development), which rising fuel costs are bound to intensify as a trend. In the context of the consumer recession that started in Q4 2010, bargain-hunting online has again become a more important driver of consumer interest in consumer e-commerce. Retail sales value and volume data reveal that online retailers are delivering low prices to consumers, in contrast to offline retailing, where consumers face price inflation. As e-commerce grows its share of mind in a converged internet experience, the pressure on offline retailing will intensify, driving out weaker retailers; we think superstore and mall retailing will fare better than the high street, as consistent with a single trip to access a larger choice of goods/outlets (London being the exception). In electricals, the leading online category in the UK (ahead of food and clothing), specialist retailers are suffering the most from the consumer recession and the pressure of online on prices and margins.

Internet, Media 20 July 2011
UK Consumer Magazines

The UK consumer magazines business has shown steady growth and stable profitability, though some individual participants have suffered from failed attempts at international expansion. The industry has overcome the advertising recession very successfully so far. This is partly because only 30% of revenue is derived from advertising, but also because page rates have continued to be firm. Though profit margins are currently lower than regional newspapers, the sector shows considerable scope for improved returns.

Several factors lie behind this assessment.  The first is that growth of Internet households will slow, possibly to 10%, although expansion will be faster than in the UK or Germany.   The second is that Wanadoo, as the ISP arm of France Télécom, continues to benefit in our view from advantages that other ISPs cannot match, significantly reducing customer acquisition and retention costs, whether on narrowband or on broadband.  Actions taken by the regulator have largely been too little, too late.

Media 28 October 2002
UK consumer magazines: (some) loss of gloss

This report on UK consumer magazines charts the ongoing pressures on the sector: circulation of paid titles in H1 2011 of 445m copies was down 5% year-on-year, and down more than 20% in relation to the 562m copies sold in H1 2006. When the closure of Sky's titles is factored in, the year-on-year decline of both free and paid copies is 15%
A worrying decline in demand has taken place amongst the core magazine audience of women, whose frequency of purchase dropped in the recession and has not recovered with the squeeze on household budgets. Similarly, display advertising commitments to the magazine sector lost almost 25% of their value in the recession with no sign of subsequent recovery
Meanwhile, paid-for men’s magazines continue to crash, with free titles Shortlist and Sport adding further pressure on the paid weeklies and some monthlies. Amongst other genres, circulation of top tier ‘must have’ titles has been more resilient than second tier titles, and we suspect top tier titles are gaining disproportionate share of display advertising in the current difficult economic environment. Second tier titles are also likely to be the casualty of supermarket expansion via metro stores, which trim the magazines on offer to the top selling ones. Thus, while we consider the magazine format remains loved by readers, the pressure on publishers to downsize and consolidate portfolios will remain a feature of sector trends. Given the vast range of titles and publishers’ portfolios, we expect to see both winners and losers emerge. A second report, UK consumer magazines: the digital dimension [2011-099], focused on publishers' strategic and digital strategies, is forthcoming.

Media 20 October 2011
UK consumer magazines: digital and innovation

In second of a two part report examining the current state of the UK consumer magazines sector we focus on magazine brands’ prospects in the rapidly evolving digital and mobile landscape.

Mobile presents a particularly fundamental challenge to magazines, but should also act as a spur for publisher innovation; we assess the degree of digital engagement from publishers thus far and consider the risks in ecommerce and opportunities in video.

We look in detail at Good Housekeeping’s digital transformation strategy to be rolled out in the second half of 2014, which combines digital utility solutions with bold innovations in its heritage brand. More publisher experimentation is a pressing necessity; the industry appears to have stalled on digital innovation and new competitors such as Houzz and Wiggle are occupying the digital ground in traditional magazine territory.


Media 31 July 2014
UK consumer magazines: Digital future still a long way off

In this extensive report on the UK magazine market we review demand for print magazines, the advertising marketplace and the transition to digital. We detail the major publishers’ print and digital activities and provide advertising forecasts for print and digital spend to 2018

Media 14 August 2015
UK consumer magazines: sector update

This comprehensive, 52 slide report provides detailed analysis of the UK print consumer magazine sector in terms of circulation and consumer and advertiser expenditure

Circulation decline has drifted from important, but non-core, male and teen readers, to young, lower and middle income, female readers, with UK paid circulation decline accelerating, down 9% year-on-year in 2012 compared to 6% in 2011

We discuss the impact of mobile devices, the merits of publisher’s discounting and cover price strategies, the continuing success of free magazines, the importance of 'category killer' digital services such as Mail Online and the challenging relationship between publishers and retailers. This report also provides a description and analysis of the IPC Media print magazine portfolio

Media 14 May 2013
UK consumer magazines: the digital dimension

This second report on UK consumer magazines considers the strategic positioning of leading publishers in terms of their print portfolio and the digital opportunities. We believe further consolidation print assets is inevitable during the next few years. Additionally, publishers are launching fewer, or at least generally smaller products, and a widespread shift to a subscription model remains a distant prospect for most publishers. Digital products, on the web, mobile and tablets, offer new business models and new revenue opportunities, and some early tablet products in particular have delivered highly promising successes. However, they also require major structural changes and offer no guarantee of equivalent and equal revenue in the future.

  • BBC
Media 20 October 2011
UK consumer magazines: threat of downward spiral

Core female readers appear to be leaving the consumer magazine market, or at least not purchasing multiple titles to the degree they have done in the past, raising concerns that the scale of the industry is starting to spiral downwards

Men’s titles continue to fall and titles targeted at young readers are in freefall as these demos drift online for content and social network services, or in some cases adopt more adult titles from a younger age

If circulation decline continues at the 2008/09 rate, the sector risks losing the confidence of the supermarket giants that generate more than 50% of magazine sales, an outcome with unthinkable consequences for many large and medium sized publishers

Media 17 August 2009