Publications

Format: Sep 2017
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Canal+ France prospectus

Canal+ France has issued a prospectus in view of the April flotation of Lagardère’s 20% stake, which could still reach an agreement to sell with majority owner Vivendi

The prospectus provides a unique insight on the performance of Canal+, which has increased ARPU and profitability in the past three years, despite erosion of its subscriber base due to competitive pressures and the recession

Management’s revenue and profit targets for 2013 appear within reach, and we also see potential upsides

  • Canal Plus
  • Vivendi
Non-UK Media, TV, Media 2 March 2011
TV NAR in 2011 and medium term outlook

Q1 2011 TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) has delivered strong year-on-year growth of about 8%, yet the monthly variations are large, with a predictably sharp decrease in March based on past year comparatives countered by a large Christmas-style upswing in the Easter and Royal Wedding month of April

After several years of decoupling total display and TV advertising trends from those in the broader economy due to negative structural causes, the underlying positive correlations are expected to reappear as the structural factors subdue

The general economic outlook suggests stable growth in TV NAR during 2011 of about 5%, remaining flat to marginally positive in real terms beyond 2011 as long as conditions of weak economic growth last, but with significant risks of a sudden sharp downturn in the short to medium term

  • ITV
  • Five
  • Channel 4
TV, Media 1 March 2011
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
EMI and WMG: into the end game

Citigroup acquired Terra Firma’s EMI Group on 1 February and may look for buyers in the near future. Although Terra Firma paid far too much for EMI Group in 2007, it significantly improved the operating metrics

Warner Music Group has entered the fray as a buyer or a seller of music assets. We think WMG’s management will keep the recorded music division and sell Warner/Chappell

A pairing of the recorded music divisions of WMG and EMI will face moderate regulatory clearance risk; we discount private equity interest in recorded music assets amidst the industry decline, ill-suited to the PE model

Non-UK Media, Music and Radio, Media 22 February 2011
Apple prunes the ecosystem

Last week Apple introduced a new subscription payment system for publishers using its devices, but also clamped down on publishers using their own payment systems, obliging them to offer Apple’s system (with a 30% commission) in parallel or leave the platform

For publishers selling their own content with no marginal cost, this is an extra cost that most will grudgingly accept. But aggregators obliged to pay rights-holders a fixed fee for each content sale, such as music or ebook vendors, face bigger problems: some will be forced off the platform

Apple is trying to strengthen its ecosystem, increasing the range and user-friendliness of apps and locking users in with content only usable on its devices. Yet it risks pushing some popular services off its platform entirely, increasing the appeal of the newly launched Android devices

  • Google
  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 21 February 2011
VMed Q4 2010 results: strong financial performance; prospects more modest in 2011

VMed’s Q4 results were strong financially, although this was partly due to an exceptionally sharp drop in capex; cable volume growth continued to weaken in the face of strong competition from BT Retail and BSkyB

VMed’s results for the past seven quarters have benefited heavily from price increases, which are unlikely to have as great an impact in 2011

Management is developing a range of strong initiatives, including TiVo, 30 and 100 Mbit/s broadband, and fixed-mobile service convergence, but the financial benefits are likely to be felt in 2012 and beyond rather than in 2011. A revamped Virgin Media Business should have a more immediate impact, but we expect group performance in 2011 to be more modest

  • Virgin Media
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, TV, Media 21 February 2011
The Daily Cloud – Murdoch, publishers and Apple

With the Daily, Rupert Murdoch has launched an iPad-only mass market ‘newspaper’ with a fifth of the journalists and just 15% of the revenue per reader of a conventional popular newspaper. Whether it succeeds or not, this sort of radicalism may be essential if the spirit of newspapers is to survive

The Daily is using every tool Apple and the social web can give it to drive adoption, but for all the video and twitter feeds it remains at heart a print product on a tablet. The first truly native iPad news voice has yet to come

The Daily and its peers are discovering that a platform owner such as Apple has power the print unions never dreamed of, with the payment models they want conflicting with bigger strategic objectives at technology companies ten times their size

  • News Corp
  • Apple
Media, Internet, Telecoms, Mobile 14 February 2011
TTG Q3 2010/11 trading update: record churn

TalkTalk Group (TTG) lost broadband customers for the first time in its history in the quarter to December due to dissatisfaction among former Tiscali customers, and to a lesser extent, at AOL UK

But gross additions appeared to remain healthy and ARPU growth was strong, holding group revenue flat

The group remains on track to make guidance for the financial year to March. Beyond that, we remain optimistic about the prospects for further cost reduction, but reducing churn remains a daunting prospect

  • TalkTalk
Fixed Line, Telecoms 9 February 2011
BT Q3 2010/11 results: BTGS on the level; fibre investment continues to impact group

BT Global Services is generating cash ahead of schedule and the company’s strategy for defending the core business is gaining traction

Group performance continues to be affected by increased capital expenditure due to investment in next generation access

The company is on track to meet guidance, although prospects for further upside remain limited

  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 7 February 2011
Vodafone Q3 2010/11 results: MTR cuts bite, and perhaps the snow too, but otherwise steady

Vodafone Europe’s revenue growth was broadly flat in the December quarter at 0.2%, but MTR cuts in Germany meant that underlying growth improved by 0.4ppts

Given flat economic growth in its key markets and the cold weather effect, this is a very respectable result, albeit not in line the company’s confident guidance given three months ago

With more severe MTR cuts scheduled over the coming quarters, and GDP growth forecast to not improve, revenue growth is more likely to decline than rise over the coming year

  • Vodafone
Telecoms, Mobile 4 February 2011
Life beyond ten million: Sky fiscal Q2 2011 results

The year ended on a strong note, as Sky broke passed its milestone of ten million homes and achieved yet another record breaking quarter for multi-product take-up

Home communications once more achieved exceptional growth, with triple play penetration jumping from 18% to 24%, while HD take-up resumed strong momentum after halving in Q1 2011

Financially, the company has never looked in better shape, with good prospects for continuing strong multi-product growth, leaving the question of where Sky will choose to invest next to drive further revenue growth

  • Sky
Media, TV, Telecoms, Fixed Line 28 January 2011
Will News Corp’s best and final offer be enough?

Jeremy Hunt announced on 25 January his intention to refer News Corp’s bid for BSkyB to the Competition Commission

However, he is first providing News Corp with the opportunity to address Ofcom’s concerns, and in so doing protecting his department and Ofcom from any legal threats

If Ofcom or the OFT say the News Corp remedies don’t go far enough, Jeremy Hunt will be then almost obliged to refer the transaction to the CC

  • Sky
  • News Corp
Fixed Line, Telecoms, Non-UK Media, TV, Media 25 January 2011
French fixed line retail upheaval

French ISPs are about to enter a disruptive four month window of penalty-free broadband subscriber churn, triggered by the VAT rise on IPTV

SFR has followed Iliad’s Free by offering unmetered fixed-to-mobile calls at the risk of ARPU decline

We expect Free’s market share to stabilise, whilst those of SFR and Bouygues should rise to the detriment of Orange

  • France Telecom
  • Iliad
  • Orange
  • SFR
Telecoms, Mobile, Fixed Line, Non-UK Telecoms 24 January 2011
Google Q4 results – raising forecasts

Google’s UK gross revenue rose 18% YoY in Q4 to £550 million (excluding estimated hedging gains), with bad weather and the impending VAT rise helping to deliver better than expected performance

The company’s core search business continues to be a key driver and beneficiary of the growth in consumer e-commerce, which we project will increase by 20% in 2011, compared to 4-5% for retail sales (excluding fuels)

We have raised our 2011 growth forecast for Google’s UK business to 15% – with search supported by growth in mobile and display – we now project UK internet advertising spend will increase 11% this year

  • Google
Media, Internet 24 January 2011
Carphone Warehouse Q3 2010-11 results

CPW’s European volume and revenue growth dropped in the December quarter, but this was largely due to the higher mix of prepay in the Christmas period, with underlying trends (strong contract, weak prepay) unchanged

US volume growth surged to 34% as the company continued to roll out standalone stores in malls and shopping centres, and there appears to be plenty of growth to come

Looking forward, the UK business is likely to suffer from the longer handset contracts that have been rolled out by the UK mobile operators over the last two years, but continued strength in the US is likely to more than make up for this

  • Carphone Warehouse
Technology, Telecoms, Mobile 20 January 2011
HMV high street sales in decline

HMV’s poor trading update for the crucial Christmas period was due to the decline in demand for CDs, DVDs and games, and competition from supermarkets and e-tailers, compounded by bad weather

Waterstone’s outperformed HMV as the challenges of high street book retailing are not (yet) as acute as for CDs and DVDs – we consider it possible that HMV will divest the chain

HMV’s strategy for the store network is a key challenge for 2011 – in addition to planned store closures, further closures may be needed to maintain current profitability

Media, TV, Music and Radio 11 January 2011
Smartphones and mobile advertising

Smartphones are rapidly moving to become a majority of UK mobile handset sales, driving a surge in mobile internet use. Even if usage per user (currently growing) flattens out, we forecast mobile internet usage to grow from 1.8bn hours in 2010 to 7bn in 2015: 28% of total online time

This should drive the long promised growth in mobile advertising and we project UK spend, including search and display, will rise to £420 million by 2015, equivalent to 10% of PC internet search/display advertising

We expect the majority of this usage to be incremental to PC-based consumption, as users find new things to do and buy on the mobile web, driving the overall online advertising market to further growth

  • Nokia
  • Google
  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 4 January 2011
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

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