Ofcom produced a tough and rigorous document on ITV licence fee renewals. Although the paper is dense and difficult to understand, we think it is bad news for ITV. The likely licence fee settlement is going to be higher than commentators might have expected six months ago. The prime reasons are Ofcom’s proposed move to assessing the ‘digital dividend’ on the basis of digital viewing, not households and, second, taxing the benefits of the lower costs of the merged ITV business. The first of these is the more important financially since only about 57% of ITV viewing in digital houses is of the digital ITV service.
We have long been sceptical of claims that music download stores like iTunes, combined with hardball legal tactics against pirates, would rapidly turn around the fortunes of the music industry. The wildly successful iPod has driven the growth of digital music downloads, and is expanding the population of music downloaders that pay for music - but not forced a change of heart by file sharers! Music download sales are expanding but not fast enough to balance the decline in physical formats. Globally, we project sales of music downloads of $3.5 billion by 2010, about 10% of the total music market.