Behind comes Salto, with more than 800,000 subscribers. The TF1, M6 and France Télévisions platform is aiming for the one million mark by the end of the year. “It's a positive figure, given the fact that Salto is not distributed by the main telecom operators and Canal (only on Bouygues Telecom and Amazon Channels, editor's note). But it's not big enough to have a sufficient scale and make original productions that would make the difference”, observes François Godard, at Enders Analysis.

Douglas said “There’s no doubt that the model is getting harder. I think the next year is going to be very difficult, as it will be for print advertising of all kinds. Undoubtedly some of these brands will retreat from print.”

He added “There’s a reason why these businesses continue to print: they see it as a unique proposition for advertisers and readers. Once you become an online-only business your proposition [isn’t] the same.”

McCabe, in a warning to other newspapers, said that the demise of the freesheets, although unlikely, would have an impact on the health of the broader print industry. “If there is a worst-case scenario that freesheets disappeared, it would be unhelpful for paid-for newspapers”, he said. “The news industry is an advertising category; softness in the free sheets makes the industry as a whole less appealing.”

Ultimately, it could be a matter of viewing the football club as an intellectual property asset more akin to Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Star Wars, said François Godard, who covers media for research group Enders Analysis.

“If you start looking at football clubs how you look at fashion brands and Hollywood franchises, then you’re on to something. From that point of view, there’s potential. You’d think Man United could be much bigger eventually.”

“We note that major advertisers’ interest in using the World Cup to promote their brands seems muted compared to previous tournaments,” Enders Analysis analysts Tom Harrington and Gill Hind wrote in a recent report. Asked about the topic by The Hollywood Reporter, Harrington said the “cost of negative association” for brands being linked with Qatar may be why many advertisers appear to be sitting this one out. 

Tom added that because ads are most expensive in Europe in the lead-up to Christmas, “aligning your product with this World Cup might not just be a risk to your brand, but one that costs a lot [as well].”

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.”

“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.”