Sony PlayStation’s next CEO will have hard decisions to make: compete against a resurgent multiplatform Microsoft, or retreat and defend an increasingly rickety PlayStation console model.

New gaming hardware will have an outsize influence in the year ahead, giving gamers unprecedented choice, starting with XR headsets and continuing to a likely new Nintendo Switch.

YouTube’s foray into browser-based games will be the service to watch in 2024. If successful, streaming services, including Netflix, will be on track to become heavyweight game platforms.

News UK and the Mail propose to set up a joint venture, pooling most of the infrastructure and capacity of their printing operations

The proposed JV is subject to competition scrutiny, with two print sites—Thurrock and Dinnington (both DMG Media)—identified for potential closure                          

Opportunities for digital collaboration should be higher up publisher agendas more generally, as the opportunities and threats of the next digital phase evolve

 

Women's football coverage increased in quality during the FIFA Women's World Cup, with greater presence in sports sections and main news sections, despite a mild decline in the overall quantity of women's sport coverage

Press advertising opportunities are beginning to be capitalised on by sponsors and brands, particularly in print, with online lagging. This will need to be addressed to harness ongoing online growth

Editorial continues to play a significant role in the promotion of women's sport. Coverage levels are inevitably skewed upward by success, but also by slower turnover online, doing women's sport a disservice and hampering growth

In a reform of the competition regime for digital markets, by 2025 the UK will have conduct regimes for platforms including Google, Meta and Apple, overseen by the Digital Markets Unit.

Nested within could be a ‘fair bargaining’ regime for platforms and news groups, following Australia and Canada, whose lessons could be valuable to preserve platforms’ incentives to serve news. In Canada, platforms are refusing to pay to serve news links to their users, and plan to exit this form of content.

Financial transfers to UK news groups by platforms is among the new UK regime’s aims, but is unlikely to make up for the declining revenue trend of local news provision whose sustainability is most at risk.

National paid-for newspaper circulation has dipped below three million, raising thorny questions for publishers—and for distributors and retailers

News publishers can sustain print revenues to a degree by cover price increases, and also support profitability through greater efficiency in printing operations

Sustainability challenges for Smiths News and Menzies Distribution could give rise to innovative solutions, such as direct-to-retailer distribution by printer-publishers

Unprecedented growth in women’s sport is generating opportunities for publishers and advertisers. This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup provides a chance to capitalise on the elevated coverage and interest

Women’s sport coverage must forge its own identity in the long term. News publishers play an enormous role by nourishing interest and discourse, creating brand opportunities and raising the profile of women’s sport

Articles currently must clear a higher bar for inclusion, though this will shift in the near term as coverage continues growing: variations in the type, style, and quantity of coverage highlight the progress made so far and identify areas of ongoing improvement

As younger viewers continue to migrate from linear TV to online video-sharing platforms, engaging with the audiences on these platforms is no longer simply an opportunity, but a necessity.

However, this ecosystem offers broadcasters limited monetisation opportunities, reduced audience data and worse attribution than the more lucrative broadcast TV model.

In this fragmented media landscape, broadcasters must maximise their digital reach and exploit incremental revenue opportunities, although linear channels and owned-and-operated platforms will continue to provide the bulk of revenues.

This report is free to access.

Climate change is again a core theme of this year’s Media and Telecoms 2023 & Beyond Conference, as it has been since 2021 when the UK hosted COP26.

Published in March 2023, the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report points to alarming warming trends due to rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Echoing the messaging of COP26 and COP27, the IPCC implores signatories: “Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.” With many governments stymied by short-term political exigencies, it is businesses and people that must harbour the ambition for net zero that our planet requires. 

This year’s report highlights the climate change initiatives of TMT companies to decarbonise operations, and their society-leading role towards the environment. Media businesses are mobilising their touchpoints with their audiences—from news, to magazines, to audio-visual productions such as films, TV programmes, games and advertising—to inform and win over hearts and minds in favour of climate action. Case studies of the Guardian, WPP, Ad Net Zero, Bertelsmann, Vivendi, Sky, BT Group, and Virgin Media O2 provide best practice learnings.

Recent developments in AI have ignited a frenzy in the tech world and wider society. Though some predictions are closer to sci-fi, this new phase is a real advance.

We view AI as a ‘supercharger’, boosting productivity of workers. The impact is already being felt across media sectors, including advertising and publishing.

Firms thinking about using AI should assess which tasks can be augmented and what data is required. Be prepared for unpredictable outputs and a changing legal and tech landscape.

Recorded music streaming revenues rose 11% in 2022 and we estimate Spotify’s contribution at 1/3—Spotify added 25 million Premium Subscribers in 2022, growing its recording and publishing payouts to the music industry to $8-9 billion.

Spotify’s Loud & Clear resource shows that the long tail of artists generating royalties between $1,000 and $10,000, of which many are self-distributing, rose 16% to 175,500—75% of all those generating over $1,000.

Spotify’s open platform for uploads grew the long tail to over 100 million tracks in 2022. Major labels are seeking to change the pro rata royalty payout model on Premium to address the siphoning of royalties by fake music, clips and bots—a looming threat to creators is AI-generated music.