“I think Comcast overpaid for Sky and fantasized on very thin pan-European synergies and growth potential [but] selling a continental unit would not bring much cash in but it would send a signal to the stock market that they are serious about restructuring,” Enders Analysis analyst Francois Godard tells The Hollywood Reporter. Pointing to Sky Italia’s largely successful rollout of broadband services in Italy, Godard called the division “a solid asset. [So] why sell it at a discounted price?….I have seen no indication that Sky Italy would be up for sale. They are investing in telecoms, a long-term growth strategy consistent with the Comcast approach in the US and with Sky in the U.K.”

Sky’s Germany unit, which does not have a strong telecom or broadband component, looks more vulnerable.

Like Parker, Joseph Teasdale, head of tech at Enders Analysis, is mostly sanguine about the prospects of GPT-4. “I’m optimistic that new AI tools will help make the process of workshopping ideas, drafting and editing smoother and more productive, letting creatives focus on what they do best: creating,” he says. But, there could still be detracting elements to the technology, adds Teasdale.

“If I have a worry, it’s for the marketing industries, where I don’t think the ability to produce unlimited copy will make us clearer communicators,” he says. “I can see a world where we’re all getting AI to produce longform prose out of bullet points, only for audiences to use that same AI to condense it back down to bullet points to make it readable. Hopefully the absurdity of that situation will force us to answer the question: do we need all this generic text?”

“Those guidelines were manifestly never reflected in the contract, nor probably those of the other many freelancers on BBC Sport,” says Alice Enders, director of research at Enders Analysis. Had the BBC fired him, she notes, the network would have been liable to pay out Lineker’s contract in full. 

“What seems clear is that the BBC does not want [Lineker] to criticize sitting members of the government,” Enders says. “And the past five years have shown how nasty and vicious some of those politicians can be and how much they would like the BBC’s license fee to disappear in a puff of smoke so they can fully occupy the airwaves with their own opinionated shows.”

Enders notes that the media focus on Lineker and the BBC — which made headlines news from day one of the crisis — had “swamped the small boats policy that Gary had sought to highlight with his original tweet” (something several commentators have suggested was the government’s intention in the first place).

Some say that the matter is likely to pass soon. “It has been blown out of proportion,” says Claire Enders, founder and owner of Enders Analysis a media consulting firm, who notes the BBC has faced criticism about its presenters airing divisive views for years. Ms. Enders expects Mr. Lineker to be back presenting Match of the Day shortly. 

“If they don’t do the right things this could be existential for them,” says Jamie MacEwan, senior media analyst at Enders Analysis. “TikTok is a service you can ban without too much disruption in the real economy. It’s not like banning WhatsApp or an app with a lot of functionality. In the US, the biggest misgivings [over banning TikTok] are seen as losing the young vote and freedom of speech.”

He notes that while TikTok was successful in facing down a previous attempt to close it down led by Donald Trump, its current crisis “feels a bit more bi-partisan in the US” and is far more serious.

He added “What TikTok has to do is prove once and for all that it can stand on its own two feet and that is difficult because it is owned by ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing,” says MacEwan. “We know managers from Beijing fly back and forth and meet with TikTok managers because TikTok is ByteDance’s global business and ByteDance wants to be a global tech giant.”

There is a growing sense in the industry that big names are starting to probe deeper into whether their streaming model can be sustainable – that they’re finally “starting to look under the hood”, as Tom Harrington, head of television at Enders Analysis, puts it. “Should you be spending this much? How efficient is it? [These are] questions that suddenly start getting asked when you’re not adding five million subscribers every quarter,” he says.

He added “The general rule of thumb is that when there are times of economic stress, people go out less, go to the cinema less, go to restaurants less, which means they’re at home more,” says Harrington. “If you’re watching more TV, you’re getting more value from your [streaming] subscription.”