Publications

Format: Mar 2019
sort descending Sector(s) Date
Wall St Shuffle: Spotify’s non-IPO

Spotify is now the world’s first publicly listed on-demand music streaming service. Its global footprint generated €4 billion in 2017 from over 70 million paying subscribers and 90 million ad-funded users across 65 countries

As it expands, the service is steadily but surely moving ever closer to profitability, with a 2019 operating profit a very real prospect

So far and for the near future, Spotify’s global pre-eminence versus competition from Apple, Amazon and Google proves remarkably resilient. Plans to build upon its differentiating features will become ever more decisive as the tech titans will continue to wield their resources and ecosystems against the comparatively undiversified company

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Sony
  • Spotify
  • Vivendi
  • YouTube
Media, Music and Radio, Technology 10 May 2018
Wanadoo

Wanadoo is a business combining extensive interests in European ISPs with a strongly cash-generative directory business. Wanadoo's position as the leading French ISP is secure. Its position as an ISP in other markets is much less happy; in particular, Freeserve in the UK is not performing well. In this report, we address the underlying reasons why the French ISP business is healthy while the low ARPUs and poor or negative access margins in other countries are draining the company's profitability. Section A of the report provides detailed projections of 2002 for Wanadoo ISP operations. We try to show why the unmetered access model for narrowband ISPs is dangerous.

This note inquires into the difficult question of what really drives the capital expenditure of mobile operators. We try to show that since much capital investment is actually replacement of existing assets, the importance of the declining growth rate in call minutes in reducing capex is overstated. Our - very rough - estimate is that a mature European 2G operator will probably have to spend about 15% of sales on capital expenditure for years to come. This is in marked contrast to the more optimistic operators, who have publicly offered targets of below 10%. Similarly, we see little relief from 3G. While it is undoubtedly true that 3G provides more bits per buck, the costs of running a 3G network alongside a 2G infrastructure more than outweigh this advantage. Observers should also note that the capital efficiency benefits of 3G are largely illusory, since the savings in the network are wiped out by the higher handset costs.

  • France Telecom
Media 3 April 2002
Wanadoo FY 2002 Results

Wanadoo reached an important milestone in 2002, reporting its first (very small) positive EBITDA margin on its French Internet business, thanks to broadband-related revenue increases and lower narrowband and broadband access costs. In contrast, losses widened at Wanadoo's Internet properties outside France, in particular Freeserve in the UK and Eresmas is Spain, but these were more than fully offset by profits on the Directories segment. This note looks ahead to 2003, when Wanadoo expects to reach positive EBITDA on the Internet segment as a whole, thanks to continued improvement in France and tightly contained losses at Freeserve and Eresmas.

  • France Telecom
Media 3 April 2003
Wanadoo H1 2002 Results

Wanadoo's results for the first half of 2002, detailed in the attached note, show that the company is well on track to make its target of positive EBITDA as the loss margin has been cut by half on the Internet side of the business. The targeted revenue increase of 30% also looks plausible as Internet access revenues have done well in France due to migration of the subscriber base to higher priced broadband packages. Wanadoo hopes to have 1 million broadband subscribers by the end of the year, and is counting on the rollout of a new lower speed (128k) and lower-priced broadband package in mid-October. The French Competition Commission has also permitted the company to again market its broadband packs in FT's network of shops, cutting customer acquisition costs. Margins will improve in mid-October due to wholesale broadband price declines mandated by the regulator ART.

We think that the business is worth about €6bn, rather less than the €7-9bn that the investment banks are projecting. The difference arises because we think that they over-estimate the value of Universal’s music publishing business and expect a faster upturn in recorded music sales. But Universal is clearly strongest of the major music companies and we do expect the company’s margins to recover from the low levels seen this year.

  • France Telecom
Media 29 September 2002
Wanadoo H1 2003

Wanadoo just reported its H1 2003 results and the FY 2003 Group EBITDA target looks well in hand thanks to the outstanding performance of the directories division. The performance of the Internet segment has been less satisfactory for two reasons: Wanadoo France is facing stiff competition from Free on the 512k DSL segment; and Freeserve in the UK and Eresmas in Spain have seen very slow subscriber and revenue growth due to barebones customer acquisition activity. Wanadoo will be ramping up DSL customer acquisition activity from September onwards to achieve Internet segment targets and may reduce prices in the UK.

  • France Telecom
Media 10 August 2003
Wanadoo Q1 2002 Results

This note contains our latest update on Wanadoo, France's leading ISP and broadband service provider, following on from the report we issued in April. Wanadoo's Q1 2002 results are on target with the company's objectives for the year, despite sharp declines in portal and e-commerce revenues. The reason is Freeserve: a better deal from its network provider has raised ARPU to €5.7/month from €3.7/month in Q4 2001, and its PAYG customer base has expanded under continued marketing efforts.

  • France Telecom
Media 16 May 2002
Warner Music Group: I will survive!

Warner Music Group reported a mild revenue decline in Q2 FY 2006/07, despite continued steep declines in CD sales in the US and elsewhere, by outperforming other CD suppliers, gaining from rising downloads and ringtone sales, persistent strength in music publishing, as well as favourable currency movements

Media, Music and Radio 15 May 2007
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
Web TV: Kangaroo is dead, long live Marquee

Kangaroo – the proposed BBC Worldwide/ITV/Channel 4 video-on-demand (VOD) service – has been terminated by the Competition Commission (CC) due to fears that it could control the wholesale and retail supply of UK TV VOD

In our view the CC decision is a lucky escape for all three shareholders since it will save them from investing potentially tens of millions in an ill-advised venture which could have become a bottomless money pit when they can least afford it

Near term ITV and Channel 4 will refocus their internet strategies around their own portals and online syndication deals, but these are unlikely to deliver significant revenue; Marquee – the BBC’s proposition to open up iPlayer to other PSB broadcasters – could help, with the advantage of being very low cost

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • ITV
Media, TV, Internet 5 February 2009
Web TV: much hoopla, little moola

Early figures from the BBC show promising take-up of iPlayer, its web TV application to deliver BBC TV shows. More than 2 million people watched an average of just over one show per week in January, representing about 1.6% of TV viewing amongst iPlayer users

  • BBC
Media, TV, Internet 4 March 2008
Web TV: Project Kangaroo heads to the Competition Commission

Project Kangaroo, the planned joint venture between BBC Worldwide, ITV and C4 to pool archival resources and supply video-on-demand (VOD) to UK retail and wholesale customers, was referred by the Office of Fair Trading to the Competition Commission on 30th June

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • ITV
Media, TV, Internet 29 July 2008
What does ‘fit and proper’ mean?

Ofcom is entitled to consider whether News Corp is ‘fit and proper’ to own BSkyB’s channels, not the company itself

Precedent suggests that Ofcom will only be able to conclude that News Corp is unfit if the acquiring company’s directors are found guilty of a serious criminal offence. Suspicions, allegations and mistrust are absolutely not enough

We believe that Ofcom will only be able to assess whether News Corp is ‘fit and proper’ to own Sky channels after the transaction is concluded

  • Sky
  • News Corp
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 6 July 2011
What should the BBC be for?

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.

The Charter Review of the BBC officially opened with the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the Future of the BBC asking the question “What should the BBC be for and what should be the purpose of public service broadcasting?” The only obvious answer is that the BBC and public service broadcasting should be for the people of Britain, and the BBC rates highly on different measures of public and audience engagement. The BBC plays an irreplaceable role in the supply of PSB programming that UK audiences appreciate, most importantly news, where the BBC accounts for 70% of TV news time and for 22% of online news time in 2013.

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • Five
  • ITV
  • News Corp
  • Sky
Media, TV 20 January 2014
What Sky means for Comcast

Comcast’s £30.6 billion acquisition of Sky brings to an end the long-running ownership battle since Disney agreed to tender Fox’s 39% stake to Comcast, also ending the Murdoch Family Trust’s interest in Sky

Comcast’s US domestic cable and global NBCU media businesses complement Sky’s European operation. Sky’s telecoms business is likely to expand, while the TV side should benefit from NBCU’s global distribution might, with greater revenues generated by its original content

Fox’s long-running battle with UK regulators over the public interest dimensions of the proposed Sky acquisition has also ended. Plurality of media is preserved by Comcast’s undertakings to support Sky News for 10 years

  • 21st Century Fox
  • Sky
  • Walt Disney
Media, Telecoms, TV, UK Media 28 September 2018
Where Did the Music Go?

This report provides our analysis of the main factors in the evolution of the global music market in the period 2002-2006.

Media 5 August 2002
Where have all the young viewers gone?

Watching traditional linear TV has shown a sharp decline among younger adults over the last two to three years and the question is how far it has to go before bottoming out. This report explores the causes and presents our forecasts up to 2020

We see the main causes of this as the growth of online connectivity associated with the proliferation of screens via smartphones and tablets, the increasing functionality of these other screens, the increasing population of connected TV sets and the growing volume of long and short form content that can be accessed over the internet

Examination of current “connectivity” trends suggests that 2013 will prove the peak year of decline. Thereafter we expect trends to stabilise over the next three or four years without fundamental change to the linear TV landscape

Technology, TV, Media 23 January 2014
Wholesale DSL Access Products

Ofcom is about to issue a decision that will have a major impact on the way the UK broadband market develops. It concerns the pricing of wholesale DSL connections. The decision will be an important first signal to the market on how the newly-established Ofcom intends to deal with quasi-monopolies like BT.

Telecoms 4 March 2004
Why does Amazon sell the Echo?

Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home accelerated their prodigious rate of adoption in Q4 2018, and we expect they will soon be in 20% of UK homes

Amazon and Google price devices low to drive adoption to mass-market levels and win the race to own the home, in contrast to Apple’s profit-making strategy for its speaker

Echo’s main strategic benefits to Amazon are the scope for data collection and the intelligence it supports, and gatekeeping partners’ access to customers

  • Amazon
  • Google
Internet, Media, Technology, TV 4 February 2019
Wi-Fi: Wireless Data in Public 'Hotspots'

The last few weeks have seen several enthusiastic announcements from telecom operators eager to start public Wi-Fi services. In this note we look at the prospects for public Wi-Fi. Our analysis suggests that Wi-Fi is likely to suffer from three major problems

Our central projection – that about 50% of households will have access to multi-channel TV in 2006 – is far lower than other forecasters. Indeed, if we are wrong, it will probably be because we are too pessimistic. However, more sanguine observers should note that Zenith, probably the most quoted industry analyst, has quietly reduced its digital TV penetration forecasts by 5 million homes (over 20% of UK households) in the past year.

Telecoms 29 August 2002
Will consumers pay for online news?

Newspaper publishers are about to enter a series of ‘online payment’ trials to help bolster disappointing online advertising performance that alone will be unable to support full scale newsrooms

Publishers are on the back foot, however: they have been giving away their content for free for almost a decade, and their core content does not have the unequivocal unique attributes of a football match, a movie or a pop song

While there are a variety of options for management to explore, in aggregate they will never match the print model, and so news is destined to shrink as a commercial enterprise for newspaper publishers

Media, Internet 25 May 2009

Pages