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Rigorous Fearless Independent

IFPI reports trade revenues from streaming rose 10% in 2023 to reach $19.3 billion, and we estimate Spotify contributed about $7 billion. Spotify also rewarded music publishers with about $2 billion in royalties. 

Spotify’s Loud & Clear data on royalties paid to the 225,000 professional and aspiring artists served to its 600 million users reveals a bulge in the middle part of the distribution in favour of Spanish language artists as the service expands in Latin America.

The top 1,000 earners are mainly artists at the top of the charts in the US and UK markets, which together contribute half of Spotify’s revenues and thus royalties. Top earner and top all-time streamed artist Taylor Swift earned over $100 million in 2023. 

Mobile service revenue growth was down 1.2ppts in Q4 as the impact of 2023’s price rises continued to wane.

Growth will wane further into Q1 and with spring price rises being 7-9ppts lower than last year’s, we don’t foresee a revenue boost in Q2.

With negative publicity and upticking churn from inflation-linked price increases, Ofcom’s review of the mechanism may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

This misses one important point. Fierce competition has hammered the market’s economics. UK mobile revenues have fallen by 20 per cent in real terms in less than a decade, says Karen Egan at Enders, while data traffic is 30 times higher. Europe as a whole tells a similar tale. In Italy, the average price of one gigabyte of data fell by 85 per cent between 2019 and 2021, according to data compiled by Statista.

“‘League of Legends’ has been out for years and years, and when you’re trying to move the IP into some other area, it’s very difficult to do. Riot has now come to the conclusion that that is probably not the right fit for that kind of expansion,” said Gareth Sutcliffe, the head analyst covering the games industry for the market research service Enders Analysis. “At a practical level, when we talk about how to try to expand that franchise, it’s very, very expensive — and I think it’s pretty clear that they have to do something to stem the losses that are occurring as a result of that, and bring it back to where they were before they decided to go into this extension.”

“If you look at “League of Legends,’ ‘League of Legends’ isn’t just a core game, right? It’s almost ultra-core, and it is far much more of a dedicated gamer audience than some of the other game IPs that are out there,” Sutcliffe said. “And I think that this is a reflection of where Riot has landed.”

News UK and DMG Media’s joint venture to combine their printing operations has been given the green light by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), concluding the supply of services to third parties would not be adversely affected                                                                                          

The CMA concluded that the printing operations of the two publishers were not particularly close competitors for third-party customers. Geography and spare capacity—as we have long argued—were far more influential factors                                                                                          

The CMA’s green light is a timely reminder of the importance of industry collaboration for the profitability of the news industry’s print era, with useful indicators for the evolving online market

The CMA's Phase 1 conclusions document is largely as expected, extending to Phase 2 which looks set to conclude towards the end of the year.

The impact on both the retail and wholesale markets will be investigated, and the CMA will want to bed down its view of the counter-factual and the likely merger efficiencies. The impact on network sharing is also an issue, but spectrum reallocation was not mentioned.

We continue to see a solid case to allay these concerns, with the resultant capacity uplift key to both the wholesale and retail markets.