Along with the rest of the mobile market, O2’s results were harder-hit by COVID than expected, with service and total revenues down by 9% and 4% respectively.
O2 estimates an 8ppt drag on revenues from COVID—much higher than the 1.6ppt Vodafone figure—a question of definition and business mix. The overall COVID impact on the market looks to be tentatively easing from next quarter and O2 should fare relatively well in that bounce-back.
The decision to terminate the Carphone Warehouse relationship will cause some short-term technical drags on performance but creates an opportunity to improve profitability. Reopening of O2 stores post lockdown will help to compensate for forfeiting Carphone as a route to market.
Sport is back, but its recent hiatus amid the COVID-19 crisis hit Sky hard, with Q2 revenue plunging 12.9% year-on-year. EBITDA remains flat for now, with sports rights cost absorption postponed but not cancelled
Sky updated its EBITDA guidance to -60% across H2, reflecting increased costs from a condensed sports schedule and a return to planned investments, as well as continued weakness in advertising and pub revenues
Meanwhile, Sky marches on with new branded channel launches in the UK. On the Continent, the successful renewal of German Bundesliga rights provides some certainty, of which there is none in Italy for either the Serie A or the Champions League
Facebook grew revenues by 11% in Q2. This rate is higher than investors expected, but still driven to record lows by the pandemic slowdown. It forecasts 10% growth in Q3.
The company is under very public pressure over its moderation of hateful content, with upwards of 1,000 advertisers joining a month-long boycott, while other online platforms institute tougher policies on hate.
Facebook’s world-beating ad product and 9 million-strong bench of active advertisers means an organised boycott can’t hope to dent its growth. A coalition of advertisers, users, staff and regulators could make it take notice.