Across the EU4, pay-TV is proving resilient in the face of fast growing Netflix (with Amazon trailing), confirming the catalysts of cord-cutting in the US are not present on this side of the Atlantic. Domestic SVOD has little traction so far.

France's pay-TV market seems likely to see consolidation. Meanwhile, Germany's OTT sector is ebullient, with incumbents bringing an array of new or enhanced offers to market.

Italy has been left with a sole major pay-TV platform—Sky—following Mediaset's withdrawal, while Spain's providers, by and large, are enjoying continued growth in subscriptions driven by converged bundles and discounts.

The UK continues to lead the EU5 in take-up and consumption of video-on-demand services, with close cultural alignment and a historic williness to pay for TV content making it a receptive home for US SVODs

Netflix dominates in most markets, benefiting from high-profile US imports and big-budget local productions. Local SVODs are struggling, with those operated by FTA broadcasters facing considerable challenges

Collaboration between local broadcasters and pay-TV platforms is essential if they are to hold at bay the threat of Netflix and co., with an increasingly favourable regulatory environment opening the door for unprecedented collaboration

The Federal Communications Commission’s Privacy Order (FCC) was overturned by the Senate, clearing the way for ISPs to ramp up consumer data-driven advertising revenue.

While Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising in the US as in other markets, the US is alone in removing regulatory barriers to ISPs taking a piece of the pie.

US ISPs now have a self-regulatory regime for consumer rights on transparency, security and data breaches; but in the UK and EU, privacy advocates prefer enforceable rights.

Across Europe, markets are becoming more competitive. Incumbent pay-TV paltforms (e.g. Sky or Canal+) face increasing threats from both internet-based services (e.g. Netflix and Amazon), and telecoms operators

Telecoms providers are proving the most potent challengers as they enter the premium football rights market to create attractive triple and quad play bundles – examples include BT, SFR and Telefónica. The latter is now the main pay-TV operator in Spain whereas France’s Canal+ has entered into a strategic alliance with Orange

Across the top five markets (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy), Sky remains the leading operator with an estimated 21.5m video subscribers, twice as many as Netflix

 

The US scripted content boom is spilling over into Europe: Free-to-air TV drama ratings have proven resilient but as costs and audience expectations have risen budgets are under pressure, necessitating flexible co-financing arrangements with American broadcasters, and Netflix and Amazon. Pay channels have boosted output—with uneven results

Long-term IP control is a key factor behind independent production consolidation, led by broadcasters seeking a secure stream of content and diversification away from advertising

Notable developments include the new wave of Berlin-based, internationally-financed series, the rise of domestic French content and Sky Italia’s edgy originals, Telefónica’s giant leap into Spanish dramas, and the continuation of Britain as an export powerhouse

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

In this report we show our analysis of trends in UK broadband and telephony to March 2012, based on the published results of the major service providers.

Highlights for the March quarter include broadband subscriptions exceeding 21 million, a sudden uptick in broadband market net additions and local loop unbundling accounting for a record 40% of broadband subscriptions. The proportion of unbundled lines that are fully unbundled exceeded two thirds for the first time.

This quarter we also include a look at pricing, including prices for high speed broadband that show how BT Retail is using high speed broadband to reduce the price advantage of its competitors.

Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide is far from a done deal and is unlikely to be completed until September

The cost synergies are real but likely slim, with the main rationale being to cost effectively expand Vodafone’s fixed enterprise business in the UK, and to gain the expertise to do this elsewhere

The impact of an acquisition, while gradual, would reverberate for years to come. Wireline wholesalers, then corporate service retailers would be affected, notably BT. Later, the impact could spread to the small business segment. The prospect of Vodafone’s re-entry into the UK residential wireline market would remain distant but more likely

In this presentation we show our analysis of trends in UK broadband and telephony to December 2011, based on the published results of the major service providers.

Highlights for the December quarter include a return to the lower rate of broadband market growth seen prior to mid-2010, accelerating growth in the number of subscribers to high speed broadband and the continuing increase in market share of BT Retail and BSkyB at the expense of virtually all other players

This quarter’s edition includes a look at Openreach’s wholesale FTTP On Demand, planned for launch in 2013.

Following announcements by Virgin Media to double the speeds used by most cable customers, and by BSkyB to launch high speed broadband offer in April based on Openreach’s wholesale VDSL product, by 2016 we now expect about half of UK residential broadband subscribers to be on high speed broadband, i.e. xDSL or GPON at 30 Mbit/s plus, and DOCSIS at 20 Mbit/s plus

Cable & Wireless Worldwide’s new CEO Gavin Darby has outlined a turnaround strategy for a business which is not performing that badly in context, against the backdrop of Vodafone considering a bid to buy the company

Mr Darby’s strategy is yet to be finalised, but in outline contains lots of initiatives which are good in theory but hard to implement in practice, especially in a weak macroeconomic climate, in the face of intense competition

Integrating Vodafone UK’s mobile wireline backhaul and core networks with C&W WW’s UK network would yield slim synergies, as the most expensive part of Vodafone’s wireline network has little overlap with that of C&W WW

We think that Vodafone is more likely to be interested in using C&W WW to help sell integrated fixed-mobile products to corporate customers, and, to a lesser extent, SMEs. Whether the benefits will outweigh the significant integration headaches is something only Vodafone can decide