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Rigorous Fearless Independent

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Climate change is again a core theme of this year’s Media and Telecoms 2023 & Beyond Conference, as it has been since 2021 when the UK hosted COP26.

Published in March 2023, the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report points to alarming warming trends due to rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Echoing the messaging of COP26 and COP27, the IPCC implores signatories: “Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.” With many governments stymied by short-term political exigencies, it is businesses and people that must harbour the ambition for net zero that our planet requires. 

This year’s report highlights the climate change initiatives of TMT companies to decarbonise operations, and their society-leading role towards the environment. Media businesses are mobilising their touchpoints with their audiences—from news, to magazines, to audio-visual productions such as films, TV programmes, games and advertising—to inform and win over hearts and minds in favour of climate action. Case studies of the Guardian, WPP, Ad Net Zero, Bertelsmann, Vivendi, Sky, BT Group, and Virgin Media O2 provide best practice learnings.

Project Gigabit, the process of awarding subsidies to cover the hardest-to-reach 10-15% of the UK with gigabit broadband, is well underway, with altnets having been awarded all of the contracts won so far, although these are only 5-10% of the prospective total.

While wholesale provision is mandatory under the contracts, logic and experience suggests that this option may prove impractical, leaving the national ISPs (such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk) at risk of losing up to 15% of the market, and consumers being denied hard-won choice.

Openreach would be well advised to build its own network in these areas using the ducts and poles of the subsidy winners (also mandated), to protect the prospects of its ISP customers and maintain consumer choice.

“King have done a masterful job in keeping Candy Crush relevant and enticing,” said Gareth Sutcliffe, equities analyst at Enders analysis, “there is no reason to doubt that AI will provide a useful angle to attract and retain audience.”

“The broader issue is King’s lack of portfolio diversification and inability to replicate such a successful franchise. The eventual new owners, Microsoft, will be right to expect more,” he added.

Sports clubs, leagues and federations are accelerating investment in their direct-to-consumer strategies, developing next-generation apps and streaming services.

Objectives include gathering first-party fan data, diversifying revenue streams, and extending reach in growing markets and among younger audiences.

New league streaming apps supplement broadcaster coverage in core markets and enable new partnership arrangements with incumbent pay-TV operators and online video marketplaces.

But Canal+ has not given up on Ligue 1: if the call for tenders fails, the group could negotiate over the counter. Or even, in the event of failure, continue to offer Ligue 1 but as a distributor, thanks to its contracts with the Qatari channel BeIN Sports and the British platform Dazn (pronounced “da zone” )“The contract with Dazn is a spare wheel for Canal+” , deciphers François Godard, of the Enders Analysis firm.

Top-flight French football still fetches far less revenue for its TV broadcast rights than other European leagues. “The Bundesliga and Serie A take 50 per cent more, La Liga almost twice as much and the Premier League almost three times,” wrote Enders Analysis in a recent note. “Ligue 1 wants to break with its recent history of failed tenders, declining revenues and soured relations with incumbent Canal+,” Enders added.

Murdoch has long opposed the BBC and ABC in Australia, but has failed to bring them down. He has invested heavily in journalism, including investigative reporting – the Times/Sunday Times recently broke the story of allegations on the conduct of Russell Brand, together with Channel 4’s Dispatches. We anticipate that Murdoch, soon to become chair emeritus of News Corp, will remain as attached as he has always been to the UK titles.

Claire and Alice Enders are the founder and director of research at Enders Analysis