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Rigorous Fearless Independent

The rumoured BBC licence fee settlement (with rises below inflation) may result in a real term annual shortfall of c. £481 million by 2027

The worst mooted scenarios of decriminalisation or absolute cuts to the licence fee have been avoided (for now)

A smaller BBC will have knock-on effects in the wider TV ecology, with fewer economic benefits flowing to the creative economy and a dilution of local content


Francois said the markets make a bitter observation: consumption on fixed and mobile networks is soaring, but the incomes of operators are hopelessly stagnating, due to the fierce competition that reigns. "It is the consumer who wins."

And nothing seems to help. “Investors were betting on several catalysts: consolidation, 5G, fiber monetization… list Carlos Winzer, senior vice president at Moody's. For the moment, none has produced the desired effects. And the Stock Exchange does not have the patience to wait. The generous dividends paid by some operators to limit the damage are not enough."

Francois said "Soccer is a very solid business in absolute terms, in Europe there is no real competitor for it, and the quality of the spectacle is possibly as good as ever."

He added "Ten years from now there will be millions of fans willing to spend money on football, and there will be video services willing to spend billions to broadcast the games, and advertisers willing to stick their names on their jerseys. I'm not sure you can say the same of many other sectors of the entertainment."


Free roaming in several countries around the world was an appealing differentiator for H3G when it launched Go Roam in 2013. Soaring usage and the imperative to establish a sustainable business model have conspired to bring an end to this.

The pricing is similar to BT/EE and Vodafone plans for the EU, but the timing and detail is different, and a package will continue to be available for the other worldwide countries on the 'Go Roam Around the World' plan.

The reintroduction of EU roaming fees is somewhat inevitable as current arrangements leave operators exposed to up to €75 of monthly wholesale charges, and even more as legacy EU wholesale deals expire.

Joseph said there is ample evidence of the financial benefits of charging commissions. In 2019, Google’s parent, Alphabet, drew an estimated 20 per cent of operating profits from Play, even though it was just 10 per cent of revenue. Apple bundles the App Store into “services”, a category that accounts for one-fifth of revenue, one-third of gross profit margin, and almost all margin growth.

Amazon has been criticised by commentators, governments and sellers for giving its own products an unfair advantage on its online storefront, which millions of sellers depend on for discovery

This line of attack misses the point of Amazon’s business, which is to operate marketplaces and extract profits from suppliers through fees and services. This model raises its own questions about competition and fair trading, but self-preferencing is not core

Amazon's strategy needs both buyers and sellers, but it needs to focus on the experience for customers as the foundation of its market power

Jamie said "YouTube still leads TikTok in overall time spent, including in the UK.YouTube's mass audience means it's getting more demographics that are comparatively light internet users... it's just reaching everyone who's online. The most-invested YouTube users probably "match or surpass" the engagement of TikTokers."

He added But "none of that's to say TikTok isn't a success." 

"TikTok was spending big to attract users, but they were not necessarily hanging around for long compared to other social media. Now we know that in the US and UK, TikTok has overhauled YouTube, and is reeling in Facebook... that's a huge seal of approval."

The two-part nature of the UK 5G auctions has thrown up various issues, with non-contiguous spectrum blocks proving the most challenging to resolve.

The Annual Licence Fees (ALFs) attached to H3G’s spectrum are the crucial stumbling block in spectrum trading negotiations, creating a level of uncertainty which is not conducive to striking a sensible deal.

Ofcom has a crucial role to play in securing an efficient outcome and time is very much of the essence.

Alice said “It is a minority making a reasonable amount of money – ones that can command large audiences – and then there’s a very long tail."

She added "It definitely takes a while to build up scale and an audience. I think it probably works better for established writers from media outlets who have already built up a following with the security of having a large organisation as well as the salary before they transition across. It would be much harder to build up organically – it's not impossible, but definitely challenging."

"The journalists that have done well through Substack are really columnists, political journalists and opinion writers. Maybe there's a bit of a risk there that for a news organisation they lose talent – somebody who potentially will be able to leverage higher fees as a result. But media organisations have always competed with one another to retain big names and grow associated audiences. I think it's just another competitor."