Format: Sep 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
Virgin Media Q3 2009 results: steaming ahead

VMed’s Q3 results were strong, with the impact of the May price increases feeding through almost directly into growth in revenue and cash flow. Cable volume performance was solid, given difficult market conditions and the focus on higher value customers

VMed’s plans for HD are becoming increasingly important. In this regard, the outcome of Ofcom’s pay-TV investigation could prove crucial

The cost reduction programme is delivering ahead of expectations, and we remain optimistic that revenue growth will continue, in combination with reductions in operating costs, to generate further significant growth in cash flow

  • Virgin Media
TV, Media, Telecoms, Fixed Line 30 October 2009
2010 off to a good start: Sky fiscal Q1 2010 results

Latest fiscal Q1 2010 results show continuation of the strong subscriber and revenue growth trends, but as Sky forges ahead of its rival pay-TV operators so attention is turning to competition issues

It is still unclear whether Ofcom will succeed in introducing a wholesale ‘must offer’ remedy with regulated pricing for Sky’s premium subscription films and sports channels; a proposal that Sky vehemently contests but, if put into place during 2010, this could have a significant influence over the longer term structure of the UK pay-TV market

Results for the telecoms business continued to improve, albeit on a more modest scale than in Q4 2009, with the cost base beginning to show signs of greater stability

  • Sky
TV, Media 27 October 2009
Sky Songs: Does the music get any cheaper?

Just-launched Sky Songs offers a ‘new’ online music model, combining on- demand streaming with credit towards DRM-free downloads, for a single monthly payment

Sky Songs combines the best features of Spotify and iTunes, with lower average per track prices for in-bundle downloads, which will appeal to the music purchaser, and drive industry revenues provided regular use is made of the service

Sky Songs is backed by the power of Sky’s brand, serving the UK’s most entertainment-conscious clientele, with initial promotions targeting Sky’s 2.2 million broadband customers

  • Sky
Music and Radio, TV, Media 19 October 2009
Channel 4 plugs into YouTube

Channel 4 has confirmed it will distribute catch-up and archive TV shows via YouTube on a non-exclusive basis starting in November, with the broadcaster responsible for selling advertising around its content

The partnership looks to be a win-win: Channel 4 stands to get a huge lift in its online audience while retaining control over sales, while Google achieves a breakthrough deal with a major broadcaster with the hope of more to come

We expect a rash of similar deals as rights holders, broadcasters and video service providers jostle for position in the nascent internet TV market, but few will benefit from the special synergies offered by Channel 4-YouTube

  • Channel 4
Media, TV, Internet 17 October 2009
TV NAR gloom lifting a shade

Recent weeks have seen a marked improvement in the short-term outlook for TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenues), with total decline for 2009 reckoned to be in the order of -12.5% after a fourth quarter in which year-on-year decline is now expected to be in the order of -6%

The economic outlook for 2010 remains very uncertain due to the drastic cuts needed in the government’s spending to bring the deficit under control, which could lead to a double dip recession, and the persistence of downward pressures on airtime costs due to structural changes to the TV medium

We have accordingly revised our central case forecast year on year decline in TV NAR from -8% up to -4% in 2010, but it may not be until the London Olympics year of 2012 that we again witness positive growth

Media, TV 11 October 2009
UK Fixed Telephony Market Trends

Over the four years to 2008, fixed telephony market revenue has fallen by about 17% (£1.9 billion). But the picture is complex

The total number of fixed access lines has fallen by only 4% since 2004, but losses have been predominantly of business lines, due to a combination of inter-related factors involving a shift from ISDN2 to broadband, fixed call substitution and increased home working

We estimate that roughly half of the decline in total market revenue since 2004 has been due to substitution of dial-up internet access by broadband, the rest being accounted for by the substitution of regular call minutes by email and other forms of text communication, as well as by mobile, and price cuts

Telecoms, Fixed Line 10 October 2009
Amazon, ebooks and the UK

Amazon has announced that it will launch its ‘Kindle’ ebook reader internationally. It will be sold from the US site and shipped internationally for $270, with a free global wireless service for downloading books. This looks like an interim step with full ‘local’ sales in place next year; nonetheless local media (newspapers, magazines and book publishers) are in place.

All of this, however, was caused by regulatory effects, with underlying growth being stable for the first time since March 2008

We expect both underlying and reported growth to recover in the December quarter, and to progressively improve throughout 2010

Media 8 October 2009
Carphone Warehouse September quarter trading update: continued resilience

At TalkTalk Group (TTG) net broadband additions at TalkTalk/AOL UK were unexpectedly strong, with low cannibalisation of Tiscali subscribers particularly good news

At the newly acquired Tiscali UK, the inevitable skeletons are starting to emerge from their cupboards. Management appears well prepared for the challenges, although it is early days

Carphone Warehouse’s distribution business grew connections at 2.1% during the quarter, another very creditable performance in a declining market, and it remains well positioned for the market recovery

  • TalkTalk
  • Carphone Warehouse
Telecoms, Mobile 7 October 2009
UK internet advertising: spend flat, share up

Recession has hit internet advertising, with spend down 1% YoY in H1 2009, but the collapse in advertising on traditional media helped push online to 23% share, up 4 percentage points versus H1 2008

Based on IABUK/PwC data, we estimate that spending on search rose 2% YoY in H1, whilst display was down 5% and classified fell by 4%, the latter supported by unexpected growth in non-recruitment listings

We have adjusted our forecast for online advertising up slightly to flat for the year, but whilst the internet has now overtaken TV in absolute terms, TV remains very much the king of display

Media, Internet 4 October 2009
On the brink: UK anti-piracy regime

By 29th September, all submissions on the government’s anti-piracy proposals will need to be in to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), with furious lobbying taking place in the lead up to the tabling of the draft Digital Economy bill in November

Under the proposals, content owners are to identify IP addresses of file-sharers and communicate them to their ISPs, which would be required to write letters to the account holders, and also release this information to content owners in the event of continued file-sharing activity to allow legal proceedings to be initiated

Opportunities for retreat abound, but if the proposals become law (rather than shelved for the next government), the UK’s new online piracy regime will generate economic benefits for the content owners (and the creative industries), which will share costs with the ISPs under the government’s latest proposal

Music and Radio, Media 23 September 2009
Vodafone 360 - all spin?

Vodafone has launched a suite of internet services, platforms and handsets under the ‘Vodafone 360’ umbrella brand

Our views are mixed: we applaud the contacts back-up service that will be available across a wide range of handsets, provided it proves user friendly, but are puzzled by the point of a Vodafone-designed user interface built onto a fairly obscure smartphone operating system

Overall, if Vodafone 360 can stimulate data usage amongst low- to mid-end handset users, Vodafone would profit in both revenue and loyalty terms, but competing at the high end with the likes of Apple, RIM and Google strikes us as both needless and futile

  • Vodafone
Telecoms, Mobile 23 September 2009
Mobile revenue growth and outlook Q2 2009: the penultimate dip?

In this presentation we show our analysis of revenue growth trends for mobile operators in the top five European markets (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain)

Overall reported year-on-year growth for the top 5 European markets fell sharply again, with a drop of 1.0ppts following on from the drop of 1.7ppts in the last quarter, with growth now -2.0%. Part of the drop can be accounted for by increasing regulation on termination rates in the UK and Germany –however, underlying growth still fell by 0.5%

Overall reported year-on-year growth for the top 5 European markets fell sharply again, with a drop of 1.0ppts following on from the drop of 1.7ppts in the last quarter, with growth now -2.0%. Part of the drop can be accounted for by increasing regulation on termination rates in the UK and Germany –however, underlying growth still fell by 0.5%

The continued fall in underlying growth is slightly worrying as GDP declines appear to have reached their nadir, with the Q2 average year-on-year decline of 4.9% the same as in Q1, raising the possibility that lagging effects of the downturn (such as rising unemployment) may keep downward pressure on mobile revenues beyond the point of inflection of GDP itself

Telecoms, Mobile, Non-UK Telecoms 9 September 2009
Competition Commission CRR announcement imminent

The impending Competition Commission announcement of its provisional decision concerning the Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) remedy is expected to make little change beyond extending CRR to cover variants of ITV1, such as ITV1 +1 and ITV1 HD

Extending CRR to cover ITV1 variants should benefit ITV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) by improving ITV1’s overall audience share, but does nothing to ease the deflationary pressures now gripping the TV advertising medium, where CRR works hand in hand with the requirement on the commercial PSB channels to sell 100% of their advertising inventories

The current goings on underline the dichotomy between competition and public broadcasting policy objectives



  • ITV
Media, TV 9 September 2009
T-Mobile and Orange in the UK: creating a synergy champion

T-Mobile and Orange’s plan to merge their UK businesses into a JV would create the UK’s largest mobile operator by some margin, and the enormous planned synergies of £545m per annum are actually quite unaggressive given the cost overlap

This achievement would be moderated by ‘integration leakage’, i.e. increased churn caused by customers leaving who were initially attracted by an aspect of one of the operators that disappears after integration, but the net result should still be positive for the JV

The remaining UK operators will benefit both from this churn and the reduction in competitive intensity associated with five players dropping to four. While all the operators may win, UK consumers might lose, with regulatory clearance thus still far from certain

  • T-Mobile
  • Orange
Telecoms, Mobile 7 September 2009
UK broadband and telephony markets Q2 2009

This report looks at the UK broadband and telephony market up to Q2 2009. The key trend is that the steep reduction in UK broadband net additions continued in Q2 2009, to 176,100

  • Orange
  • Virgin Media
  • TalkTalk
  • Sky
  • BT
Fixed Line, Telecoms 6 September 2009
ESPN and Sky - The new complementary premium sports duo

According to recent speculation, Sky stands to benefit materially in the short-term from the replacement of Setanta by ESPN, but could suffer from rights inflation and worse in the longer term should ESPN become really successful

ESPN’s commitment to a pure wholesale channel distribution model across all platforms and lower outlay on rights gives a real chance of building a viable business where Setanta failed

But, profits will take time to build and there is little to suggest that Sky will either materially benefit from having ESPN rather than Setanta as a customer, or that ESPN will emerge as a serious threat to Sky’s own core premium sports business in the next three to four years

  • Sky
Media, TV 18 August 2009
H3G H1 2009 results: falling short

H3G’s H1 2009 results showed some improvement on revenue growth and profitability on a very weak H2 2008, but it is still growing very slowly while barely EBITDA positive

The company has at last admitted that it will not be EBIT positive in 2009, and without some major changes we doubt it ever will be

For the UK business, there are a number of factors which may turn in its favour over the coming two years, allowing a more concerted marketing push to scale; for Italy and the smaller European operation, consolidation appears the only answer

  • Hutchison 3G
Telecoms, Mobile, Non-UK Telecoms 17 August 2009
UK consumer magazines: threat of downward spiral

Core female readers appear to be leaving the consumer magazine market, or at least not purchasing multiple titles to the degree they have done in the past, raising concerns that the scale of the industry is starting to spiral downwards

Men’s titles continue to fall and titles targeted at young readers are in freefall as these demos drift online for content and social network services, or in some cases adopt more adult titles from a younger age

If circulation decline continues at the 2008/09 rate, the sector risks losing the confidence of the supermarket giants that generate more than 50% of magazine sales, an outcome with unthinkable consequences for many large and medium sized publishers

Media 17 August 2009
UK Classified Advertising

UK classified advertising, which covers categories such as recruitment, property, used car sales as well as directory services including Yellow Pages, has been hit severely in the recession

Last year, we estimate there was a 10.4% decline to £4.1 billion of total classified expenditure across all media including newspapers, magazines and online

However, trends have since accelerated, and we project total classifieds will generate about £3.2 billion this year, a decline of 27% on 2008

Media, Internet 15 August 2009
Virgin Media Q2 2009 results: positive impact from price increases

VMed’s Q2 results were again mixed but, on balance, encouraging, with the impact of the May price increases feeding through into revenue growth

Cable volume performance was poor but, with the exception of broadband, no worse than expected, and is not expected to deteriorate further relative to the market

We remain optimistic that management will succeed in combining revenue growth with reductions in operating costs to generate sustained growth in cash flow from autumn 2009

  • Virgin Media
TV, Media, Telecoms, Fixed Line 5 August 2009