Market revenue growth slowed to under 1% in Q4, driven by consumers economising in tough times through re-contracting and dropping add-ons.

Early 2023 is likely to be worse, with growth likely to turn negative again in Q1, again driven by ARPU with volumes more robust.

April price increases will give at least a temporary boost, but need to be managed very sensitively to avoid reputational damage and churn.

VMO2 and CityFibre are reportedly holding merger talks, which would bring together by far the two largest fibre builders competing with Openreach.

On a conventional altnet acquisition assessment, CityFibre is an attractive target given its scale, but a very expensive one at a full price given the degree of overlap.

The acquisition might still be attractive given the opportunity to take out a wholesale competitor but, for this same reason, regulatory clearance would be very tough.

ITV’s external revenues increased 8% in 2022, driven by a big boost from Studios (+19%, £2.01 billion) with COVID overhang now appearing to be a thing of the past. Total advertising revenue (TAR) was down just 1% on last year’s record highs

ITVX had a successful launch, leveraging big audiences for the World Cup to drive awareness and use of the service. We will have to wait and see what effect ITV’s aggressive new content windowing strategy will have on linear viewing

Guidance is that Q1 2023 TAR will be down 11%, with April down between 10% and 15%. TV advertising should recover later in the year, but we are forecasting that the total market will be marginally down

Sky has extended its Italian Champions League coverage to 2027, most of it to become exclusive, but at a higher price.

Amazon keeps its Wednesday first-pick
Having secured the UEFA rights, Sky has derisked the upcoming Serie A auction for seasons from 2024/25.        

The Italian deal highlights the rebalancing of media rights value from domestic leagues to European competitions.

The Windsor Framework aims to defuse tensions between the UK and the European Union (EU) over the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, by allowing a low-friction green lane for goods shipped from Great Britain that terminate in Northern Ireland, and a red lane for goods at risk of being placed on the EU Single Market. 

While goods landed in Northern Ireland that are not at risk of being placed on the EU Single Market benefit from trade facilitation, those produced in Northern Ireland that are at risk remain subject to EU laws, which must be aligned by the UK Parliament or the Assembly, as they change.

Whether the unionists agree to restoring power-sharing with the nationalists in the Assembly under the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement depends on their acceptance that Northern Ireland will remain in the EU Single Market, to preserve seamless trade across the land border with the Republic of Ireland/EU.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, new hardware was stuck in beta, but glasses-free 3D screens impressed.

The metaverse confronted its identity crisis in a deflated hype cycle: blockchain and NFTs withdrew to the shadows, leaving the focus on enterprise and industrial applications.

AI: while aware of the (numerous) issues, discussions occasionally skated over issues of effectiveness, data inputs, the role of humans, and conditions for adoption.

Q4 results were resilient on the top line and stellar at the EBITDA level with mobile compensating for pressures elsewhere, although the company has warned of a tough first quarter 2023 before recovery

Steps are being taken to improve the prospects of the fixed business but they will take time to bear fruit and there may be rocky times in the process, notably the spring price increases this year                                                  

2023 looks set to be a strong year financially, even if some KPIs remain challenging, with the structure of the nexfibre deal flattering the longer-term picture

Jon Steinberg has been announced as the new CEO of Future, one of the most hotly anticipated executive appointments in UK media, succeeding Zillah Byng-Thorne, who has turned a publishing basket case into a digital powerhouse

Future’s new CEO will double down on US expansion, and take on the thorny challenge of transitioning female lifestyle content through the ecommerce utility funnel so successfully applied to tech and gaming

Steinberg’s appointment looks more evolution than revolution, cementing the transformation carved out by his predecessor, though his entrepreneurial experience may yet bring further innovation and M&A

Consumer tech revenue growth ground to a halt by the end of 2022.

Changes in technology and user behaviour are creating risks for incumbents.

Shareholder pressure is driving efficiencies, but high costs are an inevitable response to growing challenges.

Providing home broadband connections via a mobile network (FWA) is gaining traction in certain markets where local conditions make it a viable alternative to fibre, such as New Zealand, Italy and the US.

FWA is a time-limited opportunity for most, with mobile traffic growth absorbing capacity for it and fixed traffic growth depleting the economic case. An ultimate shift to fibre is the best exit strategy.

In the UK, H3G's spare capacity could support up to 1 million FWA customers on a ten-year view—enough for a meaningful revenue fillip for H3G, but not enough to seriously disrupt the fixed market.