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Rigorous Fearless Independent

Warner Bros. Discovery is grappling with declining legacy cable revenues and its $48 billion debt burden. DTC losses have attenuated but de-leveraging will be trickier post-2023 as many of the easier cost-savings have been achieved.

The US launch of its DTC offering, Max, attempts to dovetail IP from across Warner Bros., alongside Discovery's food, lifestyle and documentary programming, and soon, CNN. Adding sports may prove more challenging.

In Europe, WBD’s rational strategy would be to maintain a mixed distribution strategy, agreeing exclusive deals for its DTC platform with incumbent aggregators such as Sky.

"We are in an experience economy where people crave going out and participating in social events," Alice Enders, a music industry analyst at Enders Analysis and a former senior economist at the World Trade Organization told CNN. "It's no surprise that people are flocking to this Eras Tour experience in what is increasingly an otherwise digital environment we live in."

The US and UK have highly dissimilar approaches to regulating political advertising during elections, with far less spent in the UK (46p per registered voter compared to $51 in the US per year), although spending on online political advertising is rising fast in both.

The UK caps electoral spending and bans political advertising on broadcast channels, newspapers are partisan and regulation of online is very light touch.

With the UK’s next general election on the horizon, it’s vital to level the playing field between the broadcast and online channels, to prevent false and misleading statements by parties, candidates or their supporters from swaying voter intentions, to the detriment of the quality of democracy in the UK.

Ligue 1 wants to break with its recent history of failed tenders, declining revenues and soured relations with incumbent Canal+.

This year’s would-be bidders have no history of inflating rights costs. Thanks to its distribution deals with DAZN (likely to step in) and beIN, Canal+ may feel secure, while Amazon could let its coverage shrink to a selection of key matches.

The LFP is taking steps to offer a more enticing competition, in partnership with CVC: with fewer teams, a stronger brand and new investors.

Radio listening is strong, but with a dramatic decline among the under-24s. Smart speakers will accelerate the trend and while the draft Media Bill’s intervention is helpful, it is not the cure.

The commercial sector is thriving through the launch of digital-only stations and major players taking advantage of deregulation. The issue of attracting a new generation is pressing.                                       

The once-dominant BBC has a loyal older following. Hampered by regulation, it is difficult to see how younger audiences will develop an affinity with its audio offering.

A cooler consumer market sees Sky now facing the same pressures as its SVOD competitors, with a loss of pay-TV subscribers in the UK.

However, Sky is performing better in telecoms in both the UK and Italy. These markets are less susceptible to recession with Sky also benefitting from its position as more of a challenger than an incumbent.

Uncertainty continues to loom over both the sale of its German platform and the upcoming allocation of Serie A rights in Italy.