This second report on UK consumer magazines considers the strategic positioning of leading publishers in terms of their print portfolio and the digital opportunities. We believe further consolidation print assets is inevitable during the next few years. Additionally, publishers are launching fewer, or at least generally smaller products, and a widespread shift to a subscription model remains a distant prospect for most publishers. Digital products, on the web, mobile and tablets, offer new business models and new revenue opportunities, and some early tablet products in particular have delivered highly promising successes. However, they also require major structural changes and offer no guarantee of equivalent and equal revenue in the future.
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
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.
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