Publications

Format: Jul 2017
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Sector(s) Datesort ascending
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
ITV interim results 2009: every little helps

ITV reported a pre-tax loss of £14 million in H1 2009 as the advertising recession took a grip, with total TV NAR down an estimated 17% against H1 2008, while ITV family NAR fell year on year by 15%

Although visibility over future advertising spend is restricted to a couple of months, we expect significant further decline in total TV NAR over the remainder of 2009 and 2010, before recovery starts in 2011/12

Cost savings, debt-restructuring and disposal of non-core assets, including Friends Reunited and SDN, should see ITV through the worst and we expect it to benefit later on from regulatory changes to its core advertising business

  • ITV
Media, TV 5 August 2009
Sky fiscal FY2009 closes on the best quarter ever?

Fiscal FY 2009 closed on a very strong note, with record Sky+ HD additions contributing to Q4 net growth of 124,000, the highest Q4 increase since 2003, and opening up the opportunity for a large increase in TV operating margins after absorption of the initial subscriber acquisition costs

In assessing the medium-term outlook, the Ofcom pay-TV investigation appears unlikely to have a material impact on Sky earnings, even if Ofcom pushes through its premium wholesale proposals, while the advertising downturn may work to Sky’s benefit in developing its competitive strengths in programme origination outside sports

Results for the telecoms business again displayed strong volume growth in a difficult market. The business has now turned EBITDA-positive and is expected to generate a quarterly operating profit during FY 2011. However, original guidance for IRR remains challenging

  • Sky
TV, Media, Telecoms, Fixed Line 2 August 2009
BT FY 2009-10 Q1 results: what goes down

BT’s Q1 results provided welcome respite from a string of bad news, and some evidence of management’s ability to cut costs, but were helped by a temporary sharp reduction in capex and a VAT repayment. It remains early days

The ‘21st century’ upgrade to the core network now appears to be largely complete and delivering cost savings, but a separate voice network will continue to run over the access infrastructure

The company’s project to deploy more fibre beyond the local exchange, whilst a useful defensive move, looks unlikely to have a major impact on shareholder value

  • BT
Telecoms, Fixed Line 1 August 2009
Canvas “drive digital Britain”

The BBC Executive has fleshed out many details of Project Canvas in response to questions raised by the BBC Trust: Canvas being the proposed joint venture between the BBC, BT, ITV and Five that aims to solve the challenge of realising the seamless convergence of linear broadcast TV and internet video to the TV screen in the living room

For Project Canvas to succeed, it is likely, in spite of its merits, to have to address competition concerns in the areas of company structure, stifling innovation and editorial controls over who gets to participate

Stifling innovation – whether to do with creative restrictions, marginalisation of competing players or undue prominence given to the traditional public service broadcasting (PSB) model – appears the most problematic issue facing Project Canvas, whose success will depend on its ability to convince the rest of the industry that it is stimulating, not stifling innovation

  • BBC
Media, TV, Internet 29 July 2009
Vodafone June quarter KPIs: the slide continues

Vodafone’s European revenue growth continued to slide, down to -4.4% in the June quarter from -3.3% last quarter, which itself was a sharp drop

A substantial element of this quarter’s decline was driven by an acceleration in termination rate cuts in Germany, but the general trend is weak volumes driven by a weak economy

With a substantial termination rate cut in the UK taken from 1st July, we expect growth to decline again in the September quarter, before stabilising/improving for the rest of the year

  • Vodafone
Telecoms, Mobile, Non-UK Telecoms 25 July 2009
Carphone Warehouse June quarter trading update: on course

The distribution business experienced modest growth in connections and revenue, easily outpacing European market handset growth of -15%, as the company continues to build market share

At TalkTalk Group (TTG) net broadband additions for the quarter were relatively strong, given likely market growth, probably due at least in part to reduced subscriber loss at AOL UK

In our view cut-price business broadband, rather than IPTV, offers the best prospect of profitable revenue growth in fixed line

  • TalkTalk
  • Carphone Warehouse
Telecoms, Mobile, Fixed Line, Non-UK Telecoms 22 July 2009
Google UK Q2 results: flatlining

A last minute rescue proposition has postponed the threat of Setanta entering into administration by at least another week, subject to meeting its revised payment schedule of sums owing to the Premier League

The profound commercial difficulties experienced by Setanta highlight the weakness of EU efforts to ensure competition in the sale of live televised rights to top UK domestic football and underline the inflated rights costs that would face any other complementary premium pay-TV sports supplier

Setanta’s survival hinges on its ability to negotiate further cuts in its rights payments and persuade investors that it can become profitable by making the necessary revisions to its retail/wholesale business model

  • Google
Media, Internet 18 July 2009
UK mobile user survey 2009: iPhones, femtocells, predators and the recession

This report contains the 2009 edition of our annual review of UK mobile user trends, based on a survey of 1,000 adults

We look at handset ownership, replacement trends, handset manufacturer choice, network operator choice, 3G handset ownership, usage of existing services such as photo-messaging and the mobile internet and, finally, interest in new services such as mobile TV, datacardsand femtocells

  • O2
Telecoms, Mobile 15 July 2009
VOD edges forward

This report sets out our views about current trends and the longer term potential of Video on Demand (VOD) services in a world of converged TV and PC applications

Contrary to views expressed in the Digital Britain Final Report, we think that the non-linear on demand world will develop very slowly, with VOD applications unlikely to achieve more than 5% share of total TV viewing in ten years‟ time

We project that VOD use will achieve 2% of total TV viewing by 2013, some £300 million in total pay revenues and a little over £100 million in spot advertising revenues

Internet, Media 15 July 2009
Mobile market consolidation in the UK: value creative, but for whom?

Vodafone (and others) are reported to be interested in acquiring T-Mobile in the UK, but any such merger would be likely to face significant barriers from regulatory authorities

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

 

  • Vodafone
  • T-Mobile
Telecoms, Mobile 4 July 2009
UK Internet Trends

Driven by growing broadband connectivity, the internet continues to gain share of media consumption and advertising at the expense of traditional media, hit by the double whammy of substitution to online and deepening recession

In the near-term, the recession will be the dominant factor across many business sectors. The enclosed presentation highlights key online trends in the UK and our current forecasts for internet advertising in 2009 and 2010

Media, Internet, Telecoms, Fixed Line 30 June 2009
Ofcom pay-TV consultation: end of round three

There is a reasonable chance that, by the middle of 2010, Ofcom will introduce regulations concerning the availability and pricing of wholesale premium movie and sports content, as outlined in its third pay-TV consultation released on 26th June 2009

The Ofcom wholesale remedy proposals are likely to provide rival retailers to Sky with modest benefits in new customer acquisition and customer retention in the first three years, whilst opening up the prospect of wider competition as the broadband infrastructure develops

The complexity of the wholesale pricing issues being addressed by Ofcom may yet stand in the way of achieving an effective “must offer” wholesale remedy

  • Sky
Media, TV 28 June 2009
OFT approach to local and regional newspaper mergers

To coincide with the Digital Britain Report, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) released its report on local media merger rules, confirming their application to newspaper consolidation although, perhaps significantly, it will ask Ofcom for “views... arising from its understanding of media markets”

Costs of compliance with the merger regime will remain a very significant barrier to consolidation of newspapers, especially for local newspaper titles serving small catchment areas, and we anticipate no appetite for engaging with the OFT

If local newspapers cannot consolidate further in the near future, the recession and ongoing structural shift to the internet will force title closures and job losses and also weaken local economies. The supply of local media to communities will be impaired to the detriment of democracy and plurality

Media 17 June 2009
Digital Britain Report: anti-piracy measures

Digital Britain Report’s “Universal Service Commitment” will make high speed broadband ubiquitously available, thus potentially boosting the adoption of illegal file-sharing by UK internet users. However, the government’s goal is to achieve a 70-80% reduction of illegal file-sharing activity

Media, Telecoms 17 June 2009
UK broadband and telephony market Q1 2009

UK broadband market growth continues to slow, with net additions more than halving year-on-year to 284,300 and annualised market growth in single figures

Telecoms, Fixed Line 16 June 2009
Setanta at bay

A last minute rescue proposition has postponed the threat of Setanta entering into administration by at least another week, subject to meeting its revised payment schedule of sums owing to the Premier League

The profound commercial difficulties experienced by Setanta highlight the weakness of EU efforts to ensure competition in the sale of live televised rights to top UK domestic football and underline the inflated rights costs that would face any other complementary premium pay-TV sports supplier

Setanta’s survival hinges on its ability to negotiate further cuts in its rights payments and persuade investors that it can become profitable by making the necessary revisions to its retail/wholesale business model

 

TV, Media 16 June 2009
Digital Britain Final Report: implications for UK telecoms

The Digital Britain report’s proposed fixed line levy to fund rural NGA may well never become law, but if implemented, could end up being absorbed by the service providers, with a disproportionately negative impact on TalkTalk Group

The proposed Universal Service Commitment for broadband at 2 Mbit/s looks of limited attraction to potential bidders, but could increase the addressable market for retail broadband by about one million households

The proposed spectrum solution is a sensible compromise which ensures a roughly even playing field between mobile operators over the longer term. There is however still some way to go to implement it, with mid-2010 the best case timetable for the main auction of new spectrum, with this continued delay benefitting the incumbent mobile operators

  • TalkTalk
Telecoms, Mobile, Fixed Line 15 June 2009

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