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Rigorous Fearless Independent

Google has lost its appeal of the European Commission’s antitrust ruling of 2017 that it had abused its position in general search to favour Google Shopping, its Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) channel for merchants, in relation to price comparison aggregators. 

Since the case was lodged in 2010, price comparison has receded as the key to consumers’ online purchases, also motivated by influencers, reviews, and browsing. Merchants use YouTube and Instagram to build brands, Facebook to launch products, and Google Shopping as the key alternative to Amazon for direct response.

The EU’s antitrust regime has once more solved yesterday’s problem, but this will shift for Big Tech to an ex-ante regime when the landmark Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act come on-stream.


Tom said “They’re earning quite serious money from Instagram from this deal,” he said. While these payouts would be small compared to Channel 4’s main revenue streams of digital video subscription and advertising revenue, the partnership can pay dividends when it comes to driving brand recognition. It works as a marketing exercise for Channel 4 as more young people see them and they go on the streaming service."

Vodafone’s leverage issue continues to drive its strategy and operational focus, as evidenced in its H1 results with solid EBITDA but lacklustre revenues.

Its leverage crisis is severely exacerbated by the prospect of a fibre build in Germany as well as a sizeable headwind to its cable business momentum there. Further sell-downs at Vantage will help and we view the prospects of consolidation as slightly improved, with Spain the most promising option.

Growth in the UK appears to be on hold and the outlook is mixed with VMO2’s notice for early termination for its MVNO, ongoing B2B weakness expected but significant inflation-linked price rises on the cards.

Francois said "My worry is that at some point demand collapses. The risk of a sudden dramatic drop is huge if you weaken the main product (the national leagues)"

He added "If you change to this new model with a World Cup every two year and games have to be moved from the weekend to midweek and you have a shorter overall season and some players might not be available at some point, you weaken your core product."

Overall radio listening remains robust and continues to make up the majority of audio time, however a worrying decline in both reach and hours amongst younger people makes further innovation necessary

Shifting audio distribution trends driven by digital and IP listening, as well as the increasing influence of smart speakers and connected devices, represent significant challenges for the radio industry going forward

Strong collaboration and regulatory support will be needed to reconnect with elusive younger listeners, prevent US tech companies from becoming de-facto gatekeepers, and preserve the public value at the core of the UK radio industry

Alice said “If DMGT attempted to buy the Telegraph it would definitely trigger competition and media plurality investigations, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean it would be blocked. With the long-term structural decline of the newspaper market, whether a deal should be blocked is not as clearcut as it used to be.”

She added “I can’t see them looking to buy the Telegraph in the short term. But strategically, in the medium term, given the market, I could see it happening.”

Claire said “There’s a lot of overlap. The impetus to put together MailOnline with the main titles is driven by costs. It has to be done.”

She added “These types of assets have been systemically condemned by the City, which is never going to get this story again. It’s better off being privately managed. He’s doing what’s necessary now, which is to put these titles on a sensible footing as cash flow machines for his family.”