Tom Harrington of Enders Analysis, a research firm, likens the approach to Amazon’s strategy in retail. The company began by selling its own products, before opening its marketplace to other traders. These days two-thirds of sales on Amazon.com are made by third parties, with Amazon taking a commission—a much higher-margin business than selling its own wares. Its aim is to be the same kind of “landlord” in video, believes Mr Harrington.
Karen Egan, analyst at research group Enders Analysis, said companies opting for identical price rises was “not an example of tacit collusion but rather the copying of a good idea” because none “wants to stand out as having higher increases, yet it is incredibly difficult to make slightly lower increases a point of differentiation”.
Still, the impact of the inflation plus 3.9 per cent model on operators’ performance is likely to remain marginal in the long term.
Enders Analysis forecasts that UK mobile operators’ revenue growth will slow from 7.5 per cent in the three months to June 2023 to 6 per cent over the full year and 3 per cent in 2024, with some customers set to re-sign at lower prices once contracts expire.
The 2019-22 Premier League rights contracts with Sky, BT and Amazon — worth around £5bn — were rolled over to 2025 during the pandemic, meaning this will be the first competitive domestic auction since 2018.
However, analysts have warned there is a risk of a drop in values thanks to the pressure on broadcasters. The total value of European football media rights has already stagnated, according to analysts at Enders.
“If post-Covid inflation was factored in, we estimate that the value would be down 17 per cent on 2018-19 by 2023-24 in real terms,” they said, pointing to the competitiveness of the broadcasting market “where all indications point downwards consistent with the tepid consumer market”.
There’s also the timing: The tour has become the perfect outing for concert-goers itching for a post-pandemic live music immersive experience. “We are in an experience economy where people crave going out and participating in social events,” says Alice Enders, a music industry analyst at Enders Analysis and a former senior economist at the World Trade Organization. “It's no surprise that people are flocking to this Eras Tour experience in what is increasingly an otherwise digital environment we live in.”
Fans are even clamoring to get their hands on physical copies of Swift’s music. “Streaming has taken over the purchase of the physical album product, but Taylor Swift is among the artists that still makes money from vinyl and CDs because they’ve become collector's items for her fans,” says Enders.
After years of conquering consumers at bargain prices, streamers have changed their strategy. "After gaining market share and establishing consumption habits, especially at the level of an entire family, it is possible to begin to exercise the elasticity of demand", decrypts Alice Enders, director of research at Enders Analysis .
"The average number of services per household will drop, it is inevitable, especially since this is not the end of price increases in mature markets", warns Alice Enders. To guard against “churn” (the loss of a customer), certain platforms such as Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video encourage their subscribers to commit for a year, instead of a month, with cheaper offers.
Equities analyst Gareth Sutcliffe at Enders Analysis said the restructuring won’t significantly affect Microsoft’s bottom line — for now.
“Microsoft will have diminished margins as they’ve effectively appointed Ubisoft as a reseller. But this is a really small and emerging market at present — Microsoft is still going to be a dominant force in cloud gaming. They’re just relinquishing some pricing control,” Sutcliffe said.
This sluggishness is due to ongoing fears of a recession contributing to a downturn in the advertising economy, whose effects were compounded by inflation and rising interest rates that chilled debt financing, according to Joseph Teasdale, head of technology at media firm Enders Analysis.
“The leagues have exploited the intense competition between media companies, who are seeking to differentiate their streaming services by extending sport rights deals to cover both their linear and streaming assets,” Adam Dalrymple, research analyst at Enders Analysis, tells The Current. “European football is much cheaper than the NFL or NBA in the U.S., but still popular enough to drive viewing on these platforms.”
It comes a month after an Enders Analysis report said that the number of articles on women’s sport, and the print page space devoted to them and prominence given to them online, has “skyrocketed” in the past two years.
The report said “Every aspect of coverage is improving, unlike in men’s sport, which has reached saturation.”
It added: “The evident consumer interest in women’s sport will not cannibalise the interest or space devoted to men’s—different publications operate independently, and if anything, the potential to grab readership is an opportunity, not a hindrance.”
Meanwhile, the era of easy tech funding, fuelled by low interest rates, which allowed WeWork's spread has ended, says Claire Holubowskyj, senior research analyst at Enders Analysis, who said the firm now stands as "the poster child of overhyped start-up".
"It was able to grow because of that culture of really backing tech companies," she says. "That's changed now - the broader economy has shifted."