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Rigorous Fearless Independent

This report is free to access.

Female-led and equally-led employers numbered 550,000 in the UK in 2019, a 40% share of 1.4 million businesses. These are often sub-scale businesses requiring financial and digital skills to scale up.

Female-led businesses cluster in education, health, food and accommodation, the latter being highly exposed to the pandemic. The more protected and dynamic ICT sector has low female engagement, which higher levels of study of STEM subjects will remedy.

Consumers are embracing digital to live and work through the pandemic. Enterprises that are digital and digitally-enabled will survive and flourish, supported by initiatives from Google, Facebook and others.

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Tom said "the service is integrated with around 4.3m Sky Q boxes,  which comprises around half of all Sky TV subscribers...Integration of Netflix and later Disney+ in 2020 into Sky Q indicates that it is a keen platform to drive SVOD subscriptions"

He said "smaller services may “find it difficult to get traction, which is why Discovery+ is being given away for free [for a year] on Sky Q to people who’ve shown they are willing to pay a bit more for TV.”

“Everyone’s restructuring around streaming, whether it is the BBC, ITV, NBC Universal and even Disney. Not every streamer will survive.”

BuzzFeed, venture capital-funded and ad-supported, is a bellwether for the health of the digital media industry and a mild obsession for publishers and industry analysts. In buying HuffPost (which Peretti co-founded), the sum of their two parts won’t be much greater than the whole, but given the challenging ad market, their future is more optimistic together, said Alice 

“Shrinkage seems inevitable,” she said, “but at a far slower pace and with a more optimistic outlook than if BuzzFeed and HuffPost had remained separate entities.”

Douglas said "Mr Lynch’s plans were "perfectly good ideas", but would probably be less profitable than the margins Condé Nast’s magazines commanded in their 1990s heyday. “They’re not going to replace all that revenue by having clever ecommerce widgets or gift boxes" he said. 

"The big challenge for a number of publishers is that they are having to think about a world in which the amount of revenue that can be generated from being an important media brand . . . is probably just fundamentally worth less than it used to be" Douglas added.

There are some reasons to be cheerful about Vodafone right now—small nuggets of encouragement in its H1 results and the prospect of some market repair in the UK. Annual in-contract price rises of CPI + 3.9% across the UK mobile sector could provide very valuable support.

German fixed momentum is a low-light of its H1 results with growth of just 0.6% in spite of heightened broadband demand and in contrast to the 5% growth rate of the Liberty Global assets at time of acquisition.

The IPO of Vodafone’s towers business remains imperative to maintaining its leverage targets and dividend. We estimate that it will need to sell at least 30% of equity and realise a hefty multiple in challenging market conditions.

Tom said “ITV faces the same changing environment as all broadcasters - the younger audience moving online and streamers gaining ground. There’s an untapped non-white audience for commercial TV who aren’t on board with streamers, so it’s an easy way to stem the decline. Overall, ITV is hitting its diversity targets – but it’s expensive to see how the audience responds to diversity in drama. Moving an already popular presenter like Alison Hammond into daytime is an easier and cheaper way to diversify onscreen talent.”