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Rigorous Fearless Independent

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Climate change is a core theme of this year’s Media and Telecoms 2021 & Beyond Conference, linking to the UK's presidency of COP26 in 2021, the UN’s 26th climate change conference.

Since 2015, the Paris Agreement frames mankind’s collective effort to address climate change by reducing emissions of harmful greenhouse gases (GHG), to limit warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, aiming for 1.5°C. The UK is committed to achieve this target and seeks, alongside other nations, to reduce its GHG emissions to net zero by 2050.

The UK, like other participants, will deliver net zero through mandatory carbon footprint reduction activities, an important component of which are businesses. This report profiles the carbon footprints of companies in the TMT sector, which are light in the case of most media companies, and heavier for telcos, which build and run network infrastructure.

An easy win we advocate for the TMT sector is to adopt a hybrid model for work on the back of pandemic-related work-from-home (WFH) practices, reducing office estates and commuting, permanently cutting the footprint.

The pandemic shows working from home is economically feasible in the UK, thanks to telco networks, platforms and services, disproving employers’ largely negative pre-existing views. WFH will also add value to office workers, about half of which support a hybrid model for the future. It liberates precious time from the commute, makes the office integral to value creation, and prevents carbon from being wasted.

Tom said “In terms of advertising, there is a lot of pressure from the online space, so television has to be more flexible. There is an increasing emphasis on sponsorship of programmes, product placement and funding the programme itself. This is content part-funded by an advertiser but the rules will not allow it to look like an ad. They can’t have the screen covered in M&S logos.”

Spectrum auction assignment stages are normally fairly dull and routine, but due to the two-part nature of the 5G auctions, and the critical importance of proximity and contiguity, this is not the case with 5G.

The assignments won, combined with the Vodafone/O2 deal, ensures that all the operators enjoy at least 80MHz of (essential) proximity, but only O2 gets (nice-to-have) contiguity.

Further swaps could ensure contiguity for all, but this requires H3G to co-operate, which is in its absolute, but not relative, best interests.

Julian said the breakaway saga of the last week had thrown "even more uncertainty into the broadcasting landscape."

"The uncertainty generated by the suggestion of the ESL breakaway has caused broadcasters to be a little more concerned about the prospects of a healthy football ecosystem," he told Telegraph Sport. "So for the upcoming Premier League rights auction, in particular, I think the broadcasters are going to be slightly more cautious than they would have been otherwise had this not happened."

That caution, he says, is most likely to manifest in seeking reassurances, rather than in negotiating prices down. "It probably doesn't do too much to further devalue any values so long as they can be sure of what they are getting," 

Tom said  “More people came on board as there was nothing else to do. Churn – people dropping their subscription – is usually between 5-7 per cent but that went way down. People who were on the fence about Netflix came forward, so in effect the new subscribers they would normally expect this year came on board early. Having said that, it doesn’t mean there aren’t risks Netflix faces.”

He added “TV at the upper end is moving in the direction of cinema. There are so many shows people can’t watch them all. Netflix has 200 million subs which means time, say, three people they can push shows to 600 million. But the new Star Wars show… people will seek that out. Disney is launching Star Wars spin offs. Amazon has Lord of the Rings. Netflix needs IP.”

Subscriber growth is down but the benefits from COVID-19 have been banked and are enduring. The pandemic pulled forward new subscribers, delayed churn and higher engagement allowed price rises to be pushed through—ARPU in US/Canada, for example has now risen 74 cents in one quarter (to $14.25).

Is the Netflix narrative beginning to change from subscriber adds to engagement? As markets mature the obvious metric that could drive a corporate narrative is engagement, which is higher on Netflix than competitors and growing.

Netflix still lacks tentpole IP in a competitive space. However, the new deal with Sony conceivably gives Netflix access to IP such as Spider-ManKarate KidGhostbustersJumanji and Venom.