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Rigorous Fearless Independent

As the journalism industry collapses, writers are turning to newsletters to make money and launch whole publications.

“This whole trend is part of a larger shift away from our reliance on excessive amounts of display advertising, overwhelming the reader and making the whole experience unpleasant,” says Douglas McCabe, CEO of media research company Enders Analysis. 

Joseph Evans of Enders Analysis says: “The games industry is growing faster than any other media industry. A business [like Epic] that provides a lot of the plumbing and tools that games realtors use could be very sizeable.” 

Game engines are the scaffolding of the industry: the set of software tools and physics models used to create the expansive 3D worlds that hundreds of millions of people dive into on evenings and weekends. The jaw dropping demo in May was the coming out party for the latest version of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, one of the most widely used. But it is also key to a hostile dispute that involves two of the world’s biggest companies, one of the biggest video games and hundreds of millions of dollar

Pinduoduo is the latest behemoth produced by China’s tech machine, an online shopping site that specialises in extraordinary discounts on everything from tissues to Teslas. And its market value has more than doubled in recent months to $114bn (£87bn).  

Jamie MacEwan, an analyst at Enders, says: “Pinduoduo’s discount model has powered its impressive growth story. The company has achieved massive user growth in the last two years, which it has prioritised over profits.”  

The measure introduced one year ago, August 1, 2019, by members of the BGC turned out to be highly successful, as a study by Enders Analysis found out the number of betting ads seen by children aged between 4 and 17 years, fell by 97%.

According to the comprehensive analysis, the first 5 months after the measure became effective produced 1.7 billion fewer views of gambling ads, and there were 109 million fewer views over 4 comparative weekends.

One reason for the decline is the way social-media sites work. Facebook, the most popular, has been demoting news in users’ feeds. Publishers reacted to that by deprioritising Facebook as an outlet to promote their work, notes Alice Pickthall of Enders Analysis, a research firm. Moreover many websites have erected paywalls, reducing the supply of high-quality free content on social networks.

Market revenue fell 6% in Q1 2020, largely due to lack of sports revenue (which will bounce back), but backbook pricing woes also hit.

Broadband volume growth accelerated though, and may accelerate further as supply constraints ease.

The increase in working-from-home may also enhance demand for ultrafast, the best hope for a return to industry revenue growth.

The sector was hit harder than expected by COVID-19 with a 5ppt deterioration in service revenue trends and operators are now sounding a more cautious note.

H3G bucked the trend with improving service revenues thanks to lower exposure to COVID-related impacts and a shift towards indirect distribution—a change in strategy since the end of 2019.

The outlook is better for next quarter as some drags weaken due to the easing of lockdown.  The business market remains particularly vulnerable however as the furlough scheme ends and economic weakness takes hold.

Sanchit said it would be wrong for marketers to take it at face value that customer spend will be limited to essentials only for now.

“During the 2008/09 crash, we saw inexpensive ’eventised’ categories such as personal care, cinema and hospitality do incredibly well too,” he says, saying that while households dropped their overall expenditure levels, and were uncertain about the future, they still sought some ways to enjoy themselves.

“We will see similar behaviours again this time,” he says. Though, he concedes that the reality of social distancing means out-of-home spending will remain hampered for the time being"

Virgin Media had a surge in customer net adds in Q2, with its best numbers since 2017, taking advantage of Openreach’s (and Sky’s) pause in in-home installations to take market share, and also benefitting from resurgent market demand.

Revenue was suppressed by the lack of sport, but this was fully mitigated by a cost reduction from Sky and BT, with EBITDA growth actually improving thanks to this and some other (mostly temporary) cost reductions.

The marketing of Openreach’s full fibre products will build in the coming months, which will likely benefit Virgin Media for as long as their availability remains low, but will become a greater threat over time.