Publications

Format: Jun 2019
sort ascending Sector(s) Date
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
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
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
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
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 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 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

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
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
Waiting for Googlephone

Google has announced that, alongside other industry partners, it is to create ‘Android’, a new operating system for mobile phones which is designed to facilitate the design and use of 3rd party applications, and which is planned to be in handsets from H2 2008

  • Google
Telecoms, Mobile 9 November 2007
Volumes slow, but revenue robust: UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q2 2016

UK residential communications market revenue growth was broadly unchanged at 5% in Q2, despite volume growth continuing to slow across all products, with pricing and fibre adoption helping to boost ARPU

The combination of weakening market growth and an accelerating Virgin Media (on the back of its Project Lightning network extension) is putting pressure on the other operators, all of which were weak in subscriber terms

These factors bode for a competitive Q3 with the major operators offering very aggressive promotions in the battle for subscribers at the start of the football season. Underlying pricing though looks firm with price rises already implemented, scheduled or expected in Q4

  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Telecoms 23 August 2016
Voicing concerns: virtual assistants and the media

Voice, and the smart virtual assistants that power voice interfaces, will be a key transformative force over the next five years

Any business providing content or services via digital means is potentially affected, as these virtual assistants promise a single front end for all digital services, representing an extraordinary concentration of control over discovery, delivery and data

Media businesses will clearly be affected. But there is an opportunity for them right now to influence the assistant providers to their advantage, a window that will not stay open forever

  • Amazon
  • BBC
  • Google
  • Samsung
  • Sky
Internet, Media, Technology, TV 23 August 2017
Voice-over-IP

Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) is a fashionable topic and this report provides our assessment about whether the mass market potential in Europe matches the rhetoric of enthusiasts or the experience of the United States. In other words, does VoIP represent a fundamental threat to the continent's (and the UK's) incumbent telecoms operators, which still dominate the fixed telephony business? In our view, VoIP in Europe has quite a limited potential for consumers in general although business applications will expand significantly.

Fixed Line 6 April 2004
Vodafone: Strategy vs. Reality

Vodafone's strategic direction appears little altered since its change of CEO earlier this year. In this report we look at the company’s overall global positioning and prospects.

  • Vodafone
Telecoms 19 December 2003
Vodafone: pressure is still on

Vodafone’s operating performance worsened again this quarter with revenues down 3.3% and an extension of its underperformance relative to peers 

Vodafone was right to cut its dividend given the extremity of the cash constraint. With financials in Euro terms in negative territory and worsening, an elevated and progressive dividend was not sustainable 

In spite of difficult market conditions, the lower end of guidance looks achievable as comparables will become easier and football rights costs decline. The transformation programme will need to pay off fast to deliver any meaningful growth
 

  • Vodafone
Media, Telecoms 24 May 2019
Vodafone: all change?

Vodafone’s discussions with Softbank to exit Japan could remove its most troubled and ill-fitting subsidiary, but only if the structure allows for a clean break, which will require tricky financial engineering given Softbank’s limited ability to pay

We estimate that savings for the typical French contract customer would actually be around 5%, and therefore not worth the extra handset cost and inconvenience involved 

  • Vodafone
Telecoms 6 March 2006
Vodafone/Liberty Global deal: Slim economics and regulatory risk

Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty's assets in Germany and Central Europe is likely to face regulatory scrutiny at the EU – and possibly also German – level. We view Vodafone’s expectation of closure in mid-2019 with no remedies as unlikely

The economics of the deal for Vodafone are slim, highly reliant on extracting sizeable synergies, and vulnerable to operational risk and potential remedies for regulatory approval, particularly in Germany

While we see some synergy benefit from combining two cable assets in Germany, we are unconvinced of meaningful benefits from combined fixed/mobile offerings

  • Liberty Global
  • Vodafone
Fixed Line, Media, Mobile, Non UK Media 14 May 2018
Vodafone, KDG and quad play in Europe

German unbundlers are in decline, unable to match cable for price or bandwidth, or to invest in new fibre networks. Vodafone, the second largest unbundler, must choose between consolidating and divesting Merging with Kabel Deutschland would deliver fixed line synergies – with high execution risks. But, based on the French and Spanish experiences, we doubt that a quad play strategy (synonymous with a price war) would generate value Mobile operators’ fixed line ventures are also in decline elsewhere in Europe, but cable is not always to blame, with pure play fixed line altnets also tending to outperform them, suggesting that genuine cross-selling advantages are marginal at best

  • Vodafone
  • Telefonica
  • SFR
  • Orange
  • Iliad
Non-UK Telecoms, Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms 21 March 2013
Vodafone UK data pricing: free for £5 a month

Vodafone UK has announced a tariff refresh that includes ‘free’ mobile browsing with all of its new contract plans

  • Vodafone
Telecoms, Mobile 30 April 2008
Vodafone UK broadband launch

Vodafone UK’s new broadband product is not very competitively priced compared to the offers from Carphone Warehouse and Orange, costing £5-10 a month more than the nearest equivalent packages

  • Orange
  • Carphone Warehouse
  • Vodafone
Telecoms, Fixed Line 13 November 2006

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