Market revenue growth of 2% in Q3 was slightly lower than the previous quarter, but remained firmly positive at least.

The dual impacts of slowing broadband volume growth and consumer price sensitivity will likely hit volumes and ARPU even harder over the tough winter to come.

Inflation-linked price increases will give some operators a boost next year, but their very high levels (c.15%) will be hard to manage during a cost-of-living squeeze.

Revenues were stable year-on-year in Q3, with UK growth offsetting Continental decline. All three markets posted positive customer net adds across the quarter.

Underlying profitability is improving, and although World Cup-related changes to the football schedule depressed net income in Q3, they will lift it in Q4.

A possible sale of Sky Deutschland would make sense if it helps the buyer reach superior scale within Germany.

Revenue decline accelerated in Q2 as the cost-of-living crisis appears to be impacting UK sales, but profits remained strong thanks to last summer’s Continental sports rights reset.

In Italy, DAZN will return on Sky’s platform just in time for the new Serie A football season, filling a key gap in its aggregation strategy.

Looking forward, thanks to its enhanced profitability, Sky has the flexibility to respond to the economic downturn using pricing and content.

Market revenue growth continued to accelerate in Q2 to reach 3%, but broadband growth worryingly dipped as the lockdown boost waned.

Differing pricing dynamics (among other factors) led to very different outcomes for the main players, with BT’s growth surging to 7% while VMO2’s revenue stayed in decline.

Underlying trends of weakening broadband growth, keener pricing and customer bargain seeking point to slower growth ahead … until the next price increase.

  • Under a revised deal, DAZN, the Serie A broadcaster, is now allowed to expand its distribution to the Sky platform in return for a reduced fee from TIM, the incumbent telco
  • The new-look Italian market is consistent with DAZN’s approach elsewhere in Europe, seeking blanket distribution and avoiding head on challenges with incumbents
  • For the Italian sports rights market, the agreements clear the air, but Serie A needs deep reform
  • ITV’s H1 external revenues were up 8% YoY (to £1,679 million) with Studios up 16% (to £927 million) and Media & Entertainment up 4% (to £1,065 million)—ITV suggests that FY 2022 will beat 2019 for revenues. H2 will face some tough 2021 comparators but Q4 will reap the rewards of a winter FIFA World Cup
  • ITVX is to launch in Q4, with the narrative being that it will target commercially desirable lighter ITV viewers, while causing little cannibalisation of the more monetisable linear platform—enticing these viewers seems difficult, especially given that the ITVX interface will be unashamedly average
  • ITV remains “mindful” of macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty, but Carolyn McCall stated that the company has not seen anything that indicates an impact on advertising

With the cost-of-living crisis expected to worsen over the coming months, the telecoms operators must walk a fine line—support customers but protect their financial performance in the face of a likely recession and rising costs.

We are likely to see weakness on the B2B side and consumers will look for ways to reduce out-of-bundle spend, seek retention discounts and spin down to lower speed tiers and data bundles, but we expect that dropping services completely will hold limited appeal.

Proactive retention activity and promotional pricing is likely to pay off more than slashing headline prices, and will help to avoid a damaging price war—a far bigger risk to their revenues than spin-down.

Global SVOD operators are expanding their sports content offerings. Amazon just bought UK Champions League rights, Apple signed US baseball and global football (soccer) deals, Paramount and partners won the Indian Premier League cricket auction, while Netflix unsuccessfully bid on the US Formula One licence.

In the US, streamers feed an already very competitive market, while in Europe they could potentially relaunch inflation for rights after a period of stagnation. Next moves by Warner Bros. Discovery (BT Sport and Eurosport) and Disney will be critical. Sky and Canal+ could be facing upward cost pressures.

If rights fragmentation were to increase, deeper aggregation and bundling may be necessary to avoid shrinking the consumer pool while the pressure to consolidate may intensify. Intriguingly, global rights deals may become more likely.

The market looked superficially healthy in Q1, with revenue and broadband volume growth both maintained at 2%.

However, net adds trends suggest that consumers are becoming more bargain seeking, and prices have become more competitive into Q2.

The April price increases will support growth in the short term, but this boost may not last long if the cost-of-living crisis persists.

On 12 May 2022, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2022 & Beyond conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Financial Times, Meta, and Deloitte Legal

With up to 500 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sectors, including leading executives, policy leaders, and industry experts, the conference focused on regulation, infrastructure, and how new technologies will impact the future of the sector

These are edited transcripts of Sessions 4-6 covering: European media, sustainability in the TMT sector, and advertising mega-trends. Videos of the presentations are also available on the conference website