Zoopla and The Digital Property Group, DMGT’s property portfolio which includes Findaproperty, Primelocation and Globrix, announced a merger on 14 October 2011. Under the terms of the proposed merger, DMGT would receive a 55% interest in the merged entity

A merged Zoopla and DPG will compete more effectively with market leader Rightmove, in a property market scaled down by one-third in terms of the number of transactions

We think the merger will give advertisers a better choice and constrain Rightmove’s pricing power, which has seen hefty fee increases on members, most recently in 2010, in 2011 and most recently again in November 2011

National newspaper circulation continued its inexorable decline in September, with daily circulation down 7% year-on-year, although we estimate retail sales value decline was marginal

Sunday popular and mid-market newspaper circulation fell 4% month-on-month, as News of the World buyers continue to drop out of the market; we estimate around a third of ex-readers have not migrated to another title

Publishers are responding to circulation decline in a variety of ways, from churning out bulks to maintain scale, to increasing cover prices, axing international editions and developing their subscriber base

In the context of his Inquiry, Lord Leveson invited Claire Enders, as “one of the UK’s foremost media business analysts”, to kick off the seminar series on the 6 October with a synoptic presentation on “Competitive pressures on the press”. The Inquiry is interested in understanding the market economics of the mainstream media, including the impact of technology

This presentation brings together our existing work on the newspaper and consumer magazines industry, with an emphasis on the former, highlighting the challenges to the print media of the internet

A video transcript of Claire’s presentation and the debate on the session’s subject of “Competitive pressures on the press and the pressures on journalism”, may be accessed on the site of the Leveson inquiry, at www.levesoninquiry.org.uk

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

UK classified advertising in print and digital media fell -9% in 2010 to £2.76 billion, and we expect a further decline of -7% in 2011.

Our annual review and outlook concerns the classified advertising categories of recruitment, property, autos (used) and directories, across all media. We assess the continuing structural shift from print formats to less expensive digital media, in the context of prolonged recessionary pressures on local economies in the UK (bar London), which have reduced annual transaction volumes in 2010 by -28% in recruitment, -45% in property and just -16% in used cars, in relation to the peak in 2007.

A key development in recent quarters has been the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets as emerging platforms for classified advertising by the industries serving them. Consumers are enjoying the additional benefits of on-the-move data (e.g. in the forecourts of auto dealers) and instantaneous updates (e.g. for property rentals), which advertisers are keen to exploit, providing additional revenue opportunities for classified media. B2B classified platforms also monetise integrated brand and listings solutions, plus marketplace tools. New models are evolving that will have implications for other media and in some cases, industry supply chains.

Trinity Mirror, Northern & Shell and DMGT helped the market more or less offset the absence of the News of the World, though impressive volumes have come at a price

More generally, newspaper circulations have a temporary reprieve, as strong newsflow but also discounts and marketing techniques have been deployed to attract readers

What happens next at News International, and also competitor responses, could soon change market dynamics again

The uncovering of criminal behaviour at one newspaper (so far) has led to a much broader review of how the press is regulated, seeking to put a stop to dishonest and unethical behaviour, legal or illegal, and touching on ownership, ethics and on the freedom of the press in general

However, much of investigative journalism relies on activities that are certainly dishonest and arguably open to prosecution: any new code and enforcement will need to rely on judgement and selectivity, not prescription

Statutory, compulsory, enforceable regulation of the press will risk running into the sand in a world in which casual chat between friends is viewable by millions on social networks and celebrity gossip is sent to pixel in Los Angeles or São Paulo, not Wapping

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.

Growth in advertising for TV and the largest popular newspapers has not spread to local media, with regional press suffering declines in recruitment, auto and retail in 2010 despite colossal falls the previous year

Operating profit recovery in 2010 demonstrates firm management cost control, although the largest businesses have suffered 20% decline in annual profits since 2006

Publishers have engaged in various brand extensions, yet digital and other revenues remain stubbornly low, suggesting the scale of opportunity is destined to be a fraction of that from the sector’s recent past – and that consolidation is an industry inevitability

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