Publications

Format: Nov 2017
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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
Carphone Warehouse 2010/11 interim results: US driven growth

CPW’s European handset business had a steady quarter, with growth dipping slightly on the previous quarter but still in line with full year guidance. Smartphone sales are surging, and CPW is orientating its business towards them, but their impact is not unambiguously positive in Europe

The US handset business continued to enjoy strong growth, with this side of their business benefitting strongly from smartphone growth, and this outperformance led the company to increase its full year EBIT guidance

The UK ‘big box’ roll-out is continuing, but no sales figures or indications have been given, and the full year operating loss guidance has been increased, eating up some (but not all) of the outperformance from the US. There appears to still be much experimentation involved at this stage, and even more uncertainty about the eventual success or failure of this new business

  • Carphone Warehouse
Technology, Telecoms, Mobile 8 November 2010
Vivendi scenarios for 2011

Vivendi is close to being in a cash position to buy out minority shareholdings in SFR and Canal+, shedding the image of a ‘conglomerate’ of partly owned and diverse assets, which has weighed on valuation Acquiring Vodafone’s 44% stake in SFR (now only a question of price) would allow Vivendi to rebrand itself as a telecoms story, serving France, with Maroc Télécom and mainly Brazil’s GVT supplying the upside To fully acquire Canal+, Vivendi’s offer will need to consider Lagardère’s option of floating its 20% stake. Owning 100% of Canal+ and SFR opens the narrative of a ‘French media/telecoms champion’ – which we find less credible

  • Vodafone
  • SFR
  • Canal Plus
  • Vivendi
Fixed Line, Mobile, Telecoms, Non-UK Media, TV, Media, Non-UK Telecoms 4 November 2010
Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland

This report on Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, News Corporation’s Continental Europe pay-TV assets, complements our coverage of BSkyB in the UK. We look at the market environment, including regulation and competition. The report also provides subscriber, revenue and earnings forecasts and SWOT analysis.

  • Sky Italia
  • Sky Deutschland
  • Sky
  • News Corp
Non-UK Media, TV, Media 27 October 2010
Virgin Media Q3 2010 results: resilience under pressure

VMed’s Q3 results showed continuing strength in the face of heavy marketing by BT Retail and BSkyB, although cable churn increased significantly

There are plenty of further challenges on the horizon, including a downturn in consumer confidence and later, the launch of YouView and wider deployment by BT of next generation access

The broad based nature of the company’s growth and its plans for further product development in TV and broadband continue to give us confidence in the potential for further growth in cash flow, albeit at a more modest pace

  • BT
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Media, TV, Internet, Technology, Telecoms, Mobile, Fixed Line 27 October 2010
Versatile multiproduct strategy: Sky fiscal Q1 2011 results

A switch in marketing focus from HD to home communications and sports appeared chiefly responsible for a record quarter in multiproduct take-up, with the biggest increases being registered in broadband, telephony and line rental

Although Q1 2011 net HD take-up halved against the previous quarter, partly reflecting reduced emphasis in marketing plus the World Cup factor, there is abundant room for growth and we expect a strong Q2 as Sky enlarges its HD offer with the ITV digital channels, and prepares for the launch of Sky Atlantic HD in early calendar 2011

The exceptional leap in home communications product sales underlines Sky’s competitive strengths against the rest of the sector using its existing LLU platform, suggesting Sky is under little pressure to sign up to BT’s more expensive high speed broadband access product

  • Sky
Fixed Line, Telecoms, TV, Media 25 October 2010
Windows Phone 7: fast but late

Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 operating system is launching with a big bang: ten handsets, eighteen operators, and a massive marketing campaign

The OS itself is positioned firmly in between iPhone and Android in terms of ease-of-use and customisability; it is as fast as the best-in-class but no faster; and its interface is bold but will not be to everybody’s taste

A lack of apps, limited distribution, and expensive handsets will likely limit sales in the short term. Longer term, being late in the game with no truly compelling unique feature will make building a major position very challenging, but not impossible

  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
Telecoms, Technology, Internet, Media, Mobile 21 October 2010
Ofcom gives YouView clearance

Ofcom’s decision not to investigate Project Canvas under the Competition Act removes one more regulatory obstacle to the launch of the broadband connected TV service with the brand name YouView

It looks increasingly as if the YouView launch will experience further delay, with autumn 2011 looking steadily more likely as disputes continue over the satisfactoriness of the technical specifications released by YouView for meeting manufacturer needs

Although backed by powerful broadcast and ISP interests, YouView faces stiff challenges to achieving widespread adoption among ‘Freeverse’ homes, with much depending on YouView’s ability both to deliver consistent product quality and to get its message across

  • Virgin Media
  • TalkTalk
  • Sky
  • ITV
  • Channel 4
  • BT
  • BBC
Fixed Line, Telecoms, Technology, Internet, TV, Media 20 October 2010

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