Format: Jul 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
The mobile internet, apps and the route to market

By 2015 we expect internet-centric smartphone penetration in the UK to reach 75% and mobile internet use to reach 28% of total time spent online. The dynamics and ecosystems of the mobile internet, and in particular the app model, will become a significant part of overall digital strategies

First seen as an interim reaction to slow networks and small screens, mobile apps have become a major new route to market for publishers and ecommerce providers, and are likely to spread to new areas

However, Apple is likely to continue to lose share in the internet-centric smartphone market, and publishers will face a far messier, fragmented world of competing platforms, app stores and payment systems

  • Nokia
  • Google
  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 4 January 2011
Iliad’s Freebox V6

France’s Iliad will rekindle broadband subscriber recruitment with its Freebox V6 (router and TV set-top box), and extension of the triple play to include unmetered fixed-to-mobile calls

Freebox V6 is positioned as an innovative premium quasi-PC device including a 250GB PVR, a Blu-ray player, a game console and a web browser, re-establishing Iliad’s technology leadership

Iliad expects that V6 subscribers will be less profitable in the short term than in the medium term, but cumulative free cash flow guidance for the ADSL business remains unchanged for 2010-12

  • Iliad
Media, TV, Non-UK Media, Telecoms, Mobile, Fixed Line, Non-UK Telecoms 22 December 2010
Spain: Update on free-to-air and pay-TV

Since free DTT launched in 2005, Spain’s free-to-air broadcasters Telecinco and Antena3 have broadly managed to preserve audiences at group level. In 2010, they benefited from the rebound in advertising and from the withdrawal of public TV from airtime sales

By the end of 2010, Telecinco will close its acquisition of loss making competitor Cuatro. Telecinco will be able to realise some synergies, but we expect Cuatro's business model may require change to break even

Pay-TV operator Digital+ has lost 300,000 subscribers (15%) in two years, but prospects are mildly encouraging as a result of the end of the digital transition and the recession, a new three year football deal with competitor Gol TV and possible marketing initiatives by new minority shareholders Telefónica and Telecinco

Non-UK Media, TV, Media 17 December 2010
UK DTV platform growth: 2005-20150

With the completion of digital switchover still on track for mid 2012, stabilisation of the main digital broadcast platforms is expected, with roughly equal numbers of subscription pay-TV and free TV homes, though with marked differences between the platforms in terms of demographic composition and the proportion of pay-TV customers

Further marked differences exist between the satellite, cable and terrestrial platforms with regard to PVR adoption, notably higher in pay-TV households where distribution can benefit from box subsidies and greater product consistency. National PVR penetration of TV homes is expected to grow from slightly below 50% in 2010 to over 70% in 2015

As DSO nears completion, the stage is set for broadband connectivity. Although household penetration of internet-enabled TV devices is expected to exceed 50% by 2015, the emergence of hybrid broadcast and broadband services is expected to proceed much more slowly, limited by a number of factors – not least the ability of service providers to monetise their non-linear on demand offerings

  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
  • BT
Technology, Internet, TV, Media 17 December 2010
BBC Worldwide magazine portfolio

BBCW is selling its portfolio of magazines. This is the first major disposal of the UK magazine marketplace since Emap sold its consumer magazines division to Bauer in December 2007, valuing the portfolio at 1.8x pro forma revenue, but we expect a lower valuation given the downgrading of the magazine marketplace

Our analysis of the portfolio suggests a mixed bag of relatively resilient adult-focused titles, while Radio Times is a significant cash cow with medium term potential from a more aggressive commercial owner. Our principal concern resides in the viability of the children’s magazine portfolio, where titles are tied to Cbeebies programming, with relatively short life cycles

Bauer is a probable favourite to buy the portfolio, assuming it is picked up by a trade buyer. A post-acquisition process of disposal of non-core assets could provide other trade players with the opportunity to scoop titles that fit well in their portfolios

  • BBC
Media 16 December 2010
Sky Songs silenced, Spotify sings

Sky Songs will shutter on 7 February 2011, ending a brand extension experiment that probably cost parent BSkyB some £5 million end-to-end

A PC-based ad-free subscription service, Sky Songs failed to offer the mobility and exclusive content that music fans are most willing to pay for

Spotify’s reported 750,000 European customers as of November 2010 have moved the subscription side closer to breakeven, while the ad-supported side bleeds on

  • Sky
Non-UK Media, Music and Radio, Internet, Media 15 December 2010
Italy: Update on free-to-air and pay-TV

In this presentation we highlight Mediaset's star position among European FTA broadcasters, enjoying the highest share of its national advertising market (and profit margin), stable throughout digitalisation and secure for the future

Mediaset Premium, the pay-as-you-go and subscription DTT service, grew customers rapidly up to 2010, leveraging both DTT expansion and the appetite for low cost football and film programming. This hampered subscriber recruitment at satellite pay-TV operator Sky Italia, which relaunched its sales in 2010 on heavy programming in programming, set-top boxes and marketing

Sky Italia's subscriber base may be just above that of Mediaset Premium, but Sky's ARPU is 8x that of Mediaset premium, underlining the greater efficiency of the monthly subscription bundle in relation to PAYG pay-TV. Sky Italia is profitable while Mediaset Premium might just reach breakeven in 2010

  • Sky Italia
Non-UK Media, TV, Media 10 December 2010
Google eBooks: Good news for publishers

Google has launched a dedicated ebooks store in the US, with support from 4,000 publishers, providing an ecommerce platform for independent book retailers

Google’s aim is not revenue from ebooks, though the market is attractive: we estimate ebooks will be 5% of the US books market in 2010 ($1bn) and could grow to perhaps half of all book sales within the next five years

Like Amazon and Apple, Google is using ebooks to support its broader strategy, driving search traffic and building an ecommerce platform. Revenue from ebooks is less important than supporting these objectives

  • Google
  • Apple
Technology, Internet, Media 9 December 2010
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
Newspapers: Good news, bad news

National newspaper advertising revenues should be up 6-8% year-on-year in 2010, with ‘popular’ titles in particular attracting display ads from national retailer brands

Local and regional press advertising revenues will fall by about 6% year-on-year, mainly on the continued decline of recruitment classifieds

Publishers are exploring more efficient printing, new digital models, and staking a claim on e-commerce

  • News Corp
  • Guardian Media Group
  • DMGT
Internet, Media 3 December 2010
France: Update on free-to-air and pay-TV

The digital transition is almost complete in France, five years after the launch of DTT. After undergoing an audience share decline, TF1's share is stabilising. In contrast, M6 improved its audience share during the transition. Both groups are likely to remain dominant in the FTA TV market, thanks to the partial withdrawal of public TV from advertising sales

The advertising recovery in 2010 was strong. Thanks to its diversification, M6 is less exposed to the cycle than TF1, which is rebounding more strongly. M6 is also structurally more profitable

Pay-TV platform growth has stalled, with subscription decline at Canal+ somewhat balanced by growth of low cost packages of IPTV providers. Canal+ will benefit from the withdrawal of Orange from premium TV and a new distribution deal with Orange. Combined with the roll out of new set-tops with PVRs, we are moderately optimistic on Canal+ prospects

  • TF1
  • Orange
  • Canal Plus
  • Vivendi
Non-UK Telecoms, Telecoms, Non-UK Media, TV, Media 2 December 2010
UK broadband and telephony trends to September 2010

In this short presentation we show our analysis of trends in UK broadband and telephony to September 2010, based on the published results of the major service providers and Ofcom telephony data. We include our own estimates where reported data is incomplete. This quarter’s edition includes a revision to some historical trends resulting from our own interpretation of BT’s recent adjustment to the volume of unbundled lines.

Highlights in the quarter included exceptionally strong growth in broadband net additions at Sky and the resumption of the long term rate of decline in broadband market growth by volume.

  • EE
  • BT
  • O2
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Telefonica
  • Virgin Media
Media, Internet, Telecoms, Fixed Line 2 December 2010
Facebook: here, there and everywhere

Facebook Messaging adds email, IM and SMS to Facebook messages. Some portion of the social network’s 600+ million users will switch to Facebook for an all in one text-based communications service

Switchers to Facebook Messaging in the US will reduce the display ad revenues of traditional portals, like Yahoo! and Microsoft, which use such tools to drive traffic

Less affected is Google. Some Gmail users will switch, but Google’s core business model is selling search advertising, where it is not challenged by Facebook (yet)

  • Google
  • Facebook
Non-UK Media, Internet, Media 25 November 2010
Mobile revenue growth and outlook Q3 2010: smartphones surge, revenue doesn't

European mobile revenue growth improved by 0.8ppts in Q3 to reach -0.3%, but all of this improvement and more was due to easing regulatory pressures, with underlying growth actually declining marginally

GDP growth continues to improve year-on-year, but in the current low confidence environment underlying mobile revenue growth is not (yet) responding. Smartphone sales are surging, but their net impact on revenue is hard to discern

Looking forward, the regulatory impact is likely to turn negative again for the next few quarters, so some underlying growth catch-up is required for revenue growth to stay at around zero

  • Vodafone
  • Virgin Media
  • Telefonica
  • T-Mobile
  • SFR
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Nokia
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Google
  • France Telecom
  • EE
  • Apple
Non-UK Telecoms, Mobile, Telecoms 24 November 2010
Germany: Update on pay and free-to-air TV

Unlike other European TV markets, the digital transition started in Germany 15 years ago and is having little impact on advertising or audience share trends of leading FTA broadcasters, RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1

RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1 each have both German and international FTA TV operations, but German FTA TV is more profitable. RTL and ProSieben operate a de facto duopoly in advertising, with broadly stable market shares

Germany has historically been difficult for pay-TV due to the early development of FTA multichannel and ample FTA broadcast of football highlights. News Corp’s Sky Deutschland has improved key metrics, but losses remain significant and achieving break even in the medium term will be a challenge

  • Sky Deutschland
Non-UK Telecoms, Telecoms, Non-UK Media, TV, Media 24 November 2010
Cable & Wireless Worldwide interim results 2010/11: not much excitement

C&W Worldwide’s performance over the six months to September was strong in terms of cash flow growth, although this was partly due to lower bad debt cost

Revenue decline is easing, but weakness in the mid-market business and reduced public sector spending are weighing on EBITDA

Looking ahead, this should improve somewhat, as the retail mid-market business recovers, but we expect growth in the core business to remain unexciting

  • Cable & Wireless
Telecoms, Fixed Line 19 November 2010
TTG H1 2010/11 interim results: the Dido effect

TalkTalk Group (TTG) revenue growth for the six months to September was flat on a like-for-like basis; broadband net additions were affected by heavy churn among former Tiscali customers as the migration process got under way

Guidance for broadband net adds to March has been reduced by two thirds, but the prospect of improved efficiency from migrations and strong ARPU growth has enabled financial guidance for the full year to be maintained

Management has laid out ambitious plans to improve performance further by cutting costs. The plans look feasible, but controlling churn will be a long haul

  • TalkTalk
Fixed Line, Telecoms 17 November 2010
HD platform differentiation

A large gap has opened up between the different platforms in the five years since HD launched in the UK, with the pay-TV platforms – above all Sky – gaining a large lead over the free-to-air satellite and terrestrial platforms

With HD Ready TV sets now counting for almost half the total population of TV sets in the UK, the big issue facing the free-to-air platforms is the number of channels, where Sky (now 52 HD channels) and Virgin Media (now 28 HD channels) are expanding their lead over the free-to-air platforms Freeview (now 4 channels) and Freesat (now 3 channels)

Freeview in particular offers no clear evolutionary pathway beyond five channels in the next five years, except through acquisition of more capacity in the coming spectrum auction, where the outcome is very uncertain or via streamed high capacity broadband, which faces significant challenges in building penetration

  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
  • BT
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, Technology, Internet, TV, Media 17 November 2010
BT Q2 2010/11 results: digging in

Group performance to September was affected by increased investment in fibre and other defensive measures, as expected

Despite strong retail broadband subscriber growth, the core business remains under siege. High speed broadband should – eventually – provide an effective defence, but not much more

The Global Services turnaround is continuing, and further progress at GS supported by improving stability in the rest of the group should enable new guidance to be met

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 15 November 2010
Vodafone half year 2010/11 results: slow improvements, strong strategy

Vodafone Europe’s underlying revenue growth rose slightly in the September quarter, performing well in a market that is still only slowly recovering. Control of fixed costs was strong, but rising handset subsidies pushed margins down again

Vodafone’s updated strategy contains strong elements of a focus on the nitty gritty and a move away from the more expansive desires of the past, which is excellent. Successful implementation remains a challenge, but at least head office is likely to be a help, not a hindrance

Vodafone’s medium term expectations are for growing revenue and stable margins, which is laudably ambitious compared to past performances, and may even be achievable if it can balance smartphone tariffs and handset subsidies to its net advantage

  • Vodafone
Telecoms, Mobile 11 November 2010