21st Century Fox and Sky plan to notify their proposed merger to the European Commission, perhaps by March, and obtain clearance on competition grounds, as rapidly as in 2010.

The merger could also face, along the lines of 2010, a separate regulatory process in the UK on media plurality grounds, by a decision of Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

If the UK process happens, Ofcom will provide its advice on the merger’s impact on news and current affairs, whose consumption has shifted massively online since 2010.

European mobile service revenue growth recovered to nearly reach positive growth in Q3, improving a whole percentage point over the previous quarter to -0.2%

The main driver of the improvement was continued ‘more for more’ price increases combined with a lack of price wars at the lower end, although the current detente does not feel very stable. Furthermore, the pressure on growth from the general trend towards SIM-only and the consequent lower contract revenue looks unlikely to alter

Revenue growth of around zero as almost achieved this quarter is sufficient for the operators to grow the bottom line, but not to transform their network coverage in the style envisaged by 5G enthusiasts – more substantial growth is needed to cover the costs of such a step-change

UK mobile service revenue growth improved in Q3 to -0.8% from -1.7% in the previous quarter, a welcome turnaround after three quarters of declining growth. Pricing remains firm, data volume growth remains robust, and some of the one-off factors affecting the previous quarter have dropped out

Sky Mobile soft-launched at the end of 2016, and it is taking an aggressive approach with a very deep MVNO technical model with substantial fixed costs, a high advertising budget and ambitious internal subscriber targets. To date the fixed MVNOs have not had a substantial impact on the MNOs, targeting a customer base that is non-core, but with SIM-only on the rise this may change

Looking at recently released network performance statistics, the impact of spectrum disparities is clear, with EE both able to offer faster speeds nationwide due to its large blocks of 4G spectrum, and offer much faster speeds in London. EE also has a lead in geographic coverage, and is planning to push its coverage much further, creating a challenge for the other operators to keep up

UK residential communications market revenue growth accelerated to 5.8% in Q3, from 5.0% in the previous quarter, helped by an overlapping price rise at BT, and supported by firm pricing and accelerating high speed adoption elsewhere

In contrast, volume growth in the core three products continues to slow, with little sign that this will ever re-accelerate. In the longer term we cannot see ARPU growth acceleration continuing to fully compensate, and market revenue growth might also have peaked

With Virgin Media’s continuing network extension and improving pay TV service putting pressure on the other operators, Sky and TalkTalk are protecting themselves by aggressively marketing high speed broadband. Correspondingly, this quarter marks the first time that Openreach’s high speed net adds were mostly derived outside of BT’s retail divisions

Vodafone Europe has improved its mobile service revenue growth to near zero (-0.2%), and narrowed its revenue growth gap to competitors to a mere slither (0.2ppts), allowing it to return to significant EBITDA growth (3.1%)

The primary driver for this was however ‘more-for-more’ price increases, which have been followed by competitors only in part, and it is still losing contract subscriber share across its major markets (with significant local variation)

Its overall network performance statistics are flat, and customer NPS statistics are improving in some markets and worsening in others. Future outperformance is possible, but by no means guaranteed, and we believe that stabilising market share should be more of a priority than price rises

BT had a strong quarter for revenue growth, improving to over 1%. This was helped by some temporary factors, but underlying trends look nonetheless strong across the board

Network development looks strong, with G.fast pilot pricing announced and development on track, selective FTTP builds gaining momentum, and mobile coverage and speed capabilities accelerating

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the regulatory outlook is as murky as ever, with Openreach’s future structure still not resolved, spectrum auction rules still to-be-decided, and rulings on copper and fibre pricing from April 2017 heavily delayed

Declining broadcast viewing to the TV set among younger demographics, fragmentation of video viewing across screens, the lack of robust measurement of viewing across screens and the development of online video advertising technology are altering the European TV landscape

Programmatic TV is at an early stage, but has shown its potential with increased audience targeting options and campaign automation: the roll-out of programmatic models and ad technology for European TV advertising have already prompted advertisers to see TV in new ways, beyond its core strengths in mass brand advertising

Automated ad technology can support the existing linear broadcast ad infrastructure; in addition we project a combined potential for annual increased TV ad revenue of €220-300m by 2018 in the seven markets of the study, driven by new advertiser spend on addressable TV advertising and programmatic broadcaster OTT

2017 has started well as group revenues grew by 5% on a like-for-like constant currency basis and operating costs were 2% lower year-on-year

The outlook for continuing strong revenue growth in the coming quarters is very positive in light of the numerous and ongoing product and service synergies in all three Sky markets

Cord-cutting is now a major concern in the US; however, there is no evidence for it with respect to Sky operations in Germany & Austria and Italy, while the evidence from the UK & Ireland is so far inconclusive. We expect some to occur, but not on the scale seen in the US

A lacklustre UK launch of Viceland—the new, multinational linear television channel from youth-skewing, gonzo-esque Vice Media—followed six months after a similarly underwhelming entrance into the US

It is surely early days, but despite strong content, the initial results were predictable, considering the challenges. The response by Vice, that viewing figures are essentially immaterial to its plans, was expected but deviated from earlier, bullish sentiments

Beyond linear viewing, as an intended mass “content generator” to power the greater Vice online network, Viceland may answer a fundamental question: Is Vice and its distinctive content really what the kids want?

European mobile service revenue growth worsened slightly in Q2, dropping to -1.2% after three consecutive quarters at -0.8%. Southern Europe significantly outperformed the North, reversing the regional trend of recent years

EU roaming rate cuts and the increase in SIM-only subscriptions were the two main negative, albeit temporary, factors with the former particularly impacting northern European operators with heavy roaming exposure and the latter more varied in its impact across the EU5

Mobile service revenue growth was thus quite robust given these factors, helped by price firming in a number of markets. Looking forward, while the negative factors are likely to continue in the short-term they will drop out in two years in the case of roaming cuts, and SIM-only, whose impact is mostly profit-neutral to operators, will also reach an equilibrium in due course, and the market's overall resilience is encouraging