Nearly a year after rolling out Google TV in the US, Google has confirmed plans to launch its ‘smart TV’ operating platform in Europe and the UK by early 2012

To date, Google TV in the US has been a disappointment, with little broadcaster support and, until recently, expensive devices, resulting in low adoption

The content issue is likely to dog Google TV, both here and in other European markets; access to key broadcaster TV and video programming will be a major challenge

Advancing its free-to-air TV project, France’s Canal+ is to buy Bolloré TV’s national channels for €465 million to gain (scarce) licences for FTA terrestrial broadcast

Canal+ plans to leverage its library of original programming to attract upscale audiences, neglected by commercial rivals

However, the Vivendi investment case of a 9% return on capital is built on incompatible assumptions about profit margins and market share – to grow the latter in a mature market, a channel needs to sacrifice the former

Whilst UK GDP growth crawls along at a snail’s pace in 2011, (real) private consumption, its principal component, has been in sequential decline since Q4 2010, dragging consumer facing industries down

UK media are not equally affected. The internet continues to grow through search as well as display, but we expect TV NAR to be flat in 2011

Press advertising is worst affected by the downturn due to its exposure to retail advertising on top of the structural shift of classifieds to the internet

ITV reported strong year-on-year growth in profits in H1 2011, enabling a substantial reduction of net debt and putting the company in a stronger position to invest in growth as it pursues its five year transformation plan

Important to longer term success, ITV Family share of viewing has held up, and ITV looks well placed to expand its market share of TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) over the next two years, albeit in an uncertain and challenging economic environment

Early signs of creative revival at ITV Studios are most encouraging, while online poses the toughest challenges, yet remains important because of the fundamental interactive synergies between online and broadcast television

This report provides our annual assessment and forecasts for recorded music sales and music publishing revenues, which engage all four of the ‘majors’ – Universal Music Group (UMG), EMI, Sony and Warner Music Group (WMG). In the context of the ongoing physical-to-digital transition of music consumption, retailing and buying, documented in the report, we estimate a 10% decline in recorded music sales to $18.4 billion in 2010, the sixth consecutive year of decline. We also project further overall declines in our forecast period to 2015. The recorded music sales decline has fed into music publisher revenues via mechanicals, and will continue to do so. In addition, the recession of 2008-09 continues to feed through to music publisher revenues via the lagged distribution of royalties. Thus, for 2010, we estimate that the global total fell by 3.1% in 2010 to $5.6 billion, and project an overall return to modest growth in 2012. Together, our analysis of recorded music and music publishing provides an industry-level context to evaluate the likely development of the majors themselves, bearing in mind that shifts in market share and currency movements will continue to differentiate their relative performances.

We have revised our central case forecasts of total year-on-year NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) growth in 2011 from 5% to 1%, as the advertising outlook has progressively worsened since mid April

2011 is marked by a further round of consolidation in airtime sales and a number of noteworthy channel and programming changes

Channel 4 Sales, and above all its flagship Channel 4, appears the most challenged of the leading market players, while we expect the ITV group to continue to outperform the NAR market in the rest of 2011 and 2012

2010 marked the recovery of lost ground since 2006 as ITV outperformed the TV advertising market, which saw year-on-year growth of 14-15%, and delivered £40 million in cost savings as well as benefitting from a further £20 million reduction in Channel 3 licence payments

The short term outlook for continued advertising revenue growth in 2011 looks promising in spite of the risks of renewed downturn due to uncertainties about the economy and retail spend

ITV’s five year transformation plan is now more clearly sign posted. The company seems to be taking the right steps, though it will take another year or two before the results start to show

Canal+ France has issued a prospectus in view of the April flotation of Lagardère’s 20% stake, which could still reach an agreement to sell with majority owner Vivendi

The prospectus provides a unique insight on the performance of Canal+, which has increased ARPU and profitability in the past three years, despite erosion of its subscriber base due to competitive pressures and the recession

Management’s revenue and profit targets for 2013 appear within reach, and we also see potential upsides

Q1 2011 TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) has delivered strong year-on-year growth of about 8%, yet the monthly variations are large, with a predictably sharp decrease in March based on past year comparatives countered by a large Christmas-style upswing in the Easter and Royal Wedding month of April

After several years of decoupling total display and TV advertising trends from those in the broader economy due to negative structural causes, the underlying positive correlations are expected to reappear as the structural factors subdue

The general economic outlook suggests stable growth in TV NAR during 2011 of about 5%, remaining flat to marginally positive in real terms beyond 2011 as long as conditions of weak economic growth last, but with significant risks of a sudden sharp downturn in the short to medium term