In an audacious move to minimise the risk of mobile social disruption, Facebook is to acquire leading messaging app Whatsapp for up to $19 billion, or $42 per user, or 11% of Facebook’s current market cap
Messaging platforms are becoming the new social media, particularly for younger demographics, and while Facebook/WhatsApp will be huge in mobile, other services could still side-step into Facebook’s territory
The price for WhatsApp may be justifiable to counter the threat, but Facebook has only bought one of many, and paying a full price may encourage the others; expensively buying every competitor does not feel like a long-term strategy
High inflation ahead of wage increases and higher interest rates are combining to provoke a mild recession in real consumption expenditure in 2023. Consumers are sustaining spend to a degree by depleting their financial firepower, promising a mild recovery in 2024.
UK display advertising will again lag consumption growth in 2023. Online display is growing much slower after a giddy two years. Incumbents are challenged, particularly for higher-funnel spend, but the long-term fundamentals remain: economy and society are moving online.
While TV revenue will decline in 2023, its effectiveness for advertisers ensures it is well placed to benefit from any recovery. Digital revenues will see growth this year.
Cross-party support for an 11th hour amendment to the Online Safety Bill’s Commons report stage has forced the Government to agree that a new criminal liability for tech executives will be added in the Bill’s passage through the Lords.
The proposed amendment cites faulty precedents, including in financial services, and a new, not yet established Irish online safety regime that is lengthy in procedural steps before criminal sanction.
The introduction of criminal liability will not strengthen the safety objectives of the bill. It is at odds with the approach of the wider regulation, and is practically unworkable.
As Reed Hastings stepped aside as co-CEO, Netflix beat its (last ever) subscriber add forecast—7.7 million v. 4.5 million—leading to a revenue boost, alongside a gradually-widening profit margin. Forecasts for 2023 are positive, with the company seemingly past much of the tumultuousness of 2022.
With no metrics volunteered by management, we can assume that take-up of Netflix's nascent ad-supported plan has been predictably modest. To scale, the company must overcome several structural inhibitors.
With Netflix foreseeing future strain on subscriber additions, in time revenue growth will have to increasingly be inspired by paid-sharing initiatives and advertising—this will be detrimental to local content spend in minor markets.