Free-to-air TV business models

Prospects for European free-to-air commercial broadcasters are clouded by a weak advertising recovery, decline in TV set viewing by younger age groups and increased competition from pay-TV and international operators

Growth opportunities are nevertheless to be found in fine tuning families of channels to sustain audience shares, increased production of differentiating original content, wider HD and catch-up programmes distribution and smart pay-TV developments – broadcasters must focus on strengthening the quality gap between the TV set experience and online entertainment

Football and the wider game

Although Sky’s bids might be seen as putting its majority ownership of PL rights beyond reach at the next auction in 2018, the contest between Sky and BT is by no means over, raising the question of further inflation of premium sports content as other rights come up for renewal

Sport may have lost much of the importance it once had in generating profits from pay-TV platforms; however, the record bids by Sky leave no doubt as to the continuing importance of premium sports, and especially PL football, in terms of building and retaining overall scale

PL auction over, regulatory questions remain

The record £1,712 million to be spent yearly on live TV rights to the PL from 2016/17, about equal to the entire BBC TV programming budget, has hammered home the continuing importance of premium sports, especially PL football, in cementing scale in pay-TV

Several regulatory processes are still in play that could influence market developments over the next few years. We expect Ofcom’s WMO remedy to continue in close to its present form, while the VULA margin squeeze sets significant restraints on BT Sport over rights payments

UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q4 2014: Growth, investment and competition

The UK residential communications sector continues to be in rude health, with revenue growth in Q4 accelerating by 1ppt to 5.7%, the strongest it has been for years, with all of the operators enjoying an improvement. Volumes were strong, and ARPU even stronger, with the latter driving most of the revenue growth progress, driven by firm pricing and high speed broadband adoption

Football auction to end all auctions

The latest auction of live televised Premier League rights has exceeded all expectations as the next three-year package commencing with the 2016/17 football season will cost £5,136 million, 70% up on the current £3,018 million

By shouldering much the greater cost increase of 83%, Sky has held on to five out of seven packages, including the most prized Super Sunday; however, the latest auction results underline the continuing core importance of PL football in spite of all the recent multi-product diversification and investment in non-sport content

European Sky plc on the go - Q2 2015 results

Sky plc, the coming together of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, has enjoyed an excellent start, as adjusted H1 2015 figures delivered a 5% increase in revenues versus a 3% increase in costs, resulting in EBITDA growth of 7% and with free cash flow up by 25%

The strong financial results were accompanied by strong subscriber growth figures, especially in the operations covering Austria, Germany, Ireland and the UK, while all markets showed large reductions in churn, reinforcing confidence in the strategic approach of Sky plc

Sky and Mediaset Premium: to live and let die

Speculation has arisen about a possible acquisition by Sky of Mediaset Premium, the DTT competitor to Sky Italia. The unprofitable platform faces a 50% cost increase this summer due to the start of new football broadcast contracts

Getting rid of competition would allow Sky to raise prices, but also burden it with the new contracts. At best, if it kept the Premium subscribers on DTT to limit churn, Sky would have a small revenue upside

Sky Italia pushes upmarket model, but conditions still tough

Sky Italia’s latest strategy presentation to investors focuses on a number of positive revenue-generating and cost-cutting initiatives it is taking in the Italian pay-TV market

Sky Italia is taking a disciplined approach to subscriber recruitment and upsell of optional products as it anchors its brand at the upper end of the Italian entertainment market, supported by proactive development of original content, advertising sales and IPTV distribution

UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q3 2014: Quad play and convergence focus

Market revenue growth in the UK residential communications sector dipped down to 4.5% in Q3, from 5.4% in the previous quarter, but underlying revenue growth actually rose a touch by our estimates. In an intensely competitive quarter, BT lost ground relatively in broadband, with its net adds dropping compared to growth at the others, but BT still had the highest net adds in absolute terms, and continued to lead the way in revenue growth


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