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Rigorous Fearless Independent

Julian said “Recent research finds there is no link between competitiveness and audience sizes. It is likely that fans simply want to see the best players — it’s a bonus if they are evenly distributed between teams. Evidently, many fans are perfectly happy to watch a ‘super club’ take on a lesser team and probably more so than watching two evenly-matched lesser teams."

He added “The way in which people follow football is obviously changing but any decline in audiences is probably more attributable to the increasing cost of subscriptions, plus competition from other media for people’s time, as opposed to waning interest in the game."

Tom said “Streaming services want to own you for a period of time and have to prove to you they have something you want to watch in the seven to eight minutes most people are prepared to spend looking."

He added “The problem is, when people talk about library sizes, a lot of it is garbage. “I watched Lars Trier’s Nymphomaniac and suddenly got recommended softcore porn dug up from the bottom.”

“It’s very hard to make good TV shows, so you will get to the end of stuff that you’ve heard about, want to watch and is good sooner than you think.”

The COVID-19 crisis and suspension of sport has hit Sky hard, with Q2 revenue falling 12.9% year-on-year, and EBITDA (while flat for now) expected to fall 60% in H2 as the rights costs from a condensed schedule hit the bottom line

Underlying trends are hard to discern amidst massive disruption, but the UK remains strong, and increasingly less dependent on sport, with continental Europe a work in progress to repeat this model

Longer-term initiatives continue, with new branded channel launches in the UK, broadband launched in Italy, and scope for further moves in Germany provided by significant sports rights cost savings following recent auctions

BT’s June quarter results were predictably hit by COVID-19, with revenue and EBITDA dropping by 7%, but less predictably most of the hit was on mobile and business customer revenue, with consumer fixed resilient despite the suspension of sport.

BT’s full year guidance is cautious, with a 7% EBITDA decline at the mid-point, with much of this caution around further hits to its business revenue as government support is withdrawn.

BT’s full year guidance is cautious, with a 7% EBITDA decline at the mid-point, with much of this caution around further hits to its business revenue as government support is withdrawn.

Microsoft hopes to buy TikTok from Chinese owner ByteDance before President Trump’s Executive Order halts transactions with the company in mid-September. Twitter is now in the game, but is unlikely to prevail

Worth tens of billions, TikTok would be the biggest acquisition in Microsoft’s history. This hot new digital platform has hundreds of millions of users and an ad business that could overtake Snapchat’s. Extracting the technology from ByteDance may take years

Selling TikTok to shake off anti-Chinese scrutiny would signal ByteDance’s abrupt exit from the digital world stage with a fabulous return on its investment, while letting TikTok users continue to enjoy the service. However, losing TikTok sinks the global growth story that ByteDance was lining up for its anticipated IPO

Jamie said “Facebook have rarely outcompeted a new social media platform and it is very difficult to replicate the kind of communities you have on TikTok. Their solution in the past was to buy out opposition and they can’t this time. Microsoft may well get it at a fairly good price, and I’m bullish on TikTok continuing to grow if it can negotiate a sale.”

ITV’s ad revenues were down 43% in Q2 (and H1 down 21%), with the broadcaster noting that July was ‘only’ down 23% YoY, with August “markedly better” again

With most production stalled because of lockdown, Studios was down 23% in Q2 (17% in H1). Production is returning to scale (although hopes for quality scripted should be tentative) but there will be a payment and delivery lag that continues to hit future quarters for both sides of the business

Overhanging this improvement, however, are the structural viewing shifts that have been instigated by the pandemic—streaming services have experienced much greater uplifts and we foresee them grabbing a greater proportion of the viewing pie. Locally, modest BritBox is unlikely to help

Claire said “It is very typical for the BBC chair to be a senior political figure, Lord Patten was a classic example, so the new chair is obviously going to be a mainstream Tory."

She added “There’s no question Number 10 has been spending time since January looking to identify a senior female figure who will impose its will on the BBC. They’re almost looking for a female Tim Wetherspoon, a Brexit supporter who deal with the unaccountable bias that all good Tories believe the BBC has.They’re looking for a Brexit-supporting business or political figure who will see the BBC through the next year of Brexit.”

Along with the rest of the mobile market, O2’s results were harder-hit by COVID than expected, with service and total revenues down by 9% and 4% respectively.

O2 estimates an 8ppt drag on revenues from COVID—much higher than the 1.6ppt Vodafone figure—a question of definition and business mix. The overall COVID impact on the market looks to be tentatively easing from next quarter and O2 should fare relatively well in that bounce-back.

The decision to terminate the Carphone Warehouse relationship will cause some short-term technical drags on performance but creates an opportunity to improve profitability. Reopening of O2 stores post lockdown will help to compensate for forfeiting Carphone as a route to market.