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Rigorous Fearless Independent

Alice said “It’s not about Rupert being back in charge, it’s about Lachlan taking over and pursuing the same traditional classic conservative agenda.”

She said that it would be hard for Fox News to find a way to let go of Trump without risking some of the hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising that flows to the network.

“Fox is the jewel in the crown. The influence that the Murdochs want to exercise is through Fox News. What’s super interesting is they want to maintain their currency as the go-to news channel for conservative voters – and they have to do that in a way that balances the Trumpistas against everyone.”

Jamie said the site has a long way to go before corporate users will look twice at it.

“Mastodon has all the disadvantages of decentralisation. It's unintuitive, it's got patchy moderation to put it kindly, and your home server could be switched off at any point,” he says. “It's a nightmare for the average user.”

He added “So long as Twitter is functioning, Mastodon will be there as a niche fallback option. Twitter would have to implode for that to change.”

Vodafone’s downgraded guidance is due to its woes in Germany rather than the economy. There is some limited reassurance that this will turnaround soon.

It remains challenging for Vodafone to achieve its revised FY guidance with a 7ppt improvement in underlying EBITDA growth required to get there.

Leverage and cash-calls are much improved, and the dividend looks assured, but the Vantage and German deals mean escalating pressures on EBITDA.

“This is a move to centralize things around him in the U.S.,” explains Claire Enders of Enders Analysis, one of the best-informed trackers of the Murdoch empire. “He wants to be back in the thick of things, it’s much more attractive to him than any option elsewhere. He is entitled to exercise leading shareholder status, keeping a grip on his media assets.” 

Karen said “Germany is definitely the big focus. If Germany sneezes, the Vodafone Group gets a cold, and Germany is definitely under the weather right now."

She predicted that the German decline is only going to get worse as we head into the second half of the year, cementing the fact that the once “ growth engine of the company continues to go into decline."

Online advertising growth at big tech firms has flatlined, with real-term declines at Meta and YouTube. The weakness is concentrated in higher funnel ads.

Advertising is a leading indicator. A hardware slowdown is coming, services growth is stuttering, and businesses will want to save on cloud services.

Investors are hostile to attempts to spend through a downturn, but competition from TikTok and developments in AI demand targeted investment, while Meta is pot-committed to the metaverse. Tech giants are looking for savings elsewhere.

James said "It is perhaps understandable telecoms firms offering social tariffs are not willing to spend any of their marketing budget to promote them – as they do not make them any money. But we expect some serious price increases early next year in the wider phone and broadband market with many telecoms companies using a price increase formula linked to the December rate of inflation. This means demand for social tariffs could rise."