ITV’s H1 advertising revenues were up 29% YoY—and up 2% compared to 2019—to £866 million, with the Euros and an improving market ushering in the biggest June ever for the broadcaster. Studios revenues rose 26% (to £798 million), which was 5% better than 2019
ITV’s new deal with Sky provides clarity around the relationship between the two companies, with ITV soon able to dynamically serve ads on both downloaded content and linear channels (i.e. via Sky Adsmart) on Sky Q. By the end of 2022, the full ITV Hub app will be available on Sky Q
BritBox—which was not part of the Sky deal—has shown muted growth in the UK (adding 55k in H1 to 555k subscribers), while over the same period, international subscriptions lifted 18% (to 2 million)
Vodafone’s growth this quarter was a touch disappointing; the annualistion of the COVID hit was a clear boost but no evidence of any tailwinds. The 1.1% growth in the European markets should be the real focus for investors.
We see some evidence of positive initiatives from Vodafone such as its new EVO tariffs in the UK but it still has much to prove on operating momentum, especially in Germany.
There are signs that Vodafone is slow-pedalling in some markets and with demanding EBITDA targets and with leverage still finely balanced, we expect this focus on profitability to continue. The UK may be a special case.
Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite, sued Apple over alleged antitrust violations around App Store rules and Apple’s 30% tax on in-app transactions. A decision could come soon, though it will be contested on appeal.
The implications of the case could be far-reaching, as Apple and other tech companies like Google design their platforms to extract high-margin revenue from the transactions they facilitate, including news subscriptions: a five-year basic in-app subscription to The Times costs £885, of which Apple takes £158.
It comes in the context of a flurry of debate and decisions around tech antitrust and consumer protection: new laws may ultimately be needed, but regulators in the US and UK are proving they can be creative with their existing tools.