In a likely scenario, the suspended football season could be concluded in empty stadiums in a June and July rush, nevertheless with severe financial consequences.

Pay-TV incumbents like Sky face limited risk—at worst they lose four months of subscription revenue for games already paid for. No-contract services such as DAZN must anticipate a more severe shock. 

To limit disruption, pain will have to be shared across the supply-chain with players’ pay first in line. But fast coordination in a continent-wide, multi-layered industry is challenging; in places, the issue may turn political.
 

To fight against the UK’s incipient pandemic, a full lockdown is in place for all but essential workers in healthcare, telecoms, food, utilities and banks 

Households have cut expenditure on all out-of-home categories from transport to entertainment and shopping (apart from food), and a tsunami of insolvencies beckons. Advertising is in disarray as consumers pull spending for the foreseeable future 

The Chancellor’s measures of mitigation aim to preserve businesses until the crisis ends. Wage aid will keep furloughed workers paid, although mass unemployment and recession appear inevitable  

Amazon aired its first set of Premier League matches in December, with proxy figures supporting reports that it attracted up to 2 million concurrent viewers.

Amazon Prime penetration soared in Q4, backing up Amazon’s claims that record numbers of new members signed up on the first two days of its football coverage—an encouraging sign at the time of year when ecommerce spend peaks.

As long as Amazon remains principally an online retailer, bidding for premium packages of Premier League rights cannot be justified. In fact, it could retrench from Premier League football altogether after wringing out the value over three seasons.

Although increases are moderate so far, it is inevitable that overall video viewing will rise given a reduction in competition for people’s time. So far, unsurprisingly, TV news consumption has ballooned while unmatched viewing—a proxy for SVOD usage—has increased.

However, disruption to production of TV content and cancellation of live events will leave holes to fill in the schedule.

Flexibility is built into some types of programming, however nothing can replace live sport, while disruption in the production of scripted programming—especially high-volume soaps—will have knock-on effects that continue for years.

H2 revenue growth across Studios, advertising and online, saw ITV come in ahead of guidance in 2019, with external revenues up 3% YoY. Advertising revenue was down 1.5% for the year after being down 5% at H1.

Viewing share of a shrinking pie remained flat, holding onto 2018's share—the highest since 2005. Information on the progress of BritBox was predictably scant while the addressable ad platform, Planet V, is taking shape.

Looking forward, Covid-19 will likely affect all sectors including television—the breadth and severity is, of course, unpredictable with some initial reticence being shown through ad spend by travel brands.

DCMS has launched a new consultation on whether to decriminalise TV licence fee evasion—revisiting a question to which an independent, Government-commissioned review delivered a definitive, thorough "no" verdict in 2015.

The Perry Review concluded there was "no compelling basis for change" because decriminalisation would be inefficient, impair BBC income by leading to higher evasion and collection costs, and probably have a more damaging impact on low-income households.

Support for decriminalisation seems less the result of a serious concern for low-income households than a desire to reduce BBC funding or move to a subscription-funded BBC. Other policies would better redistribute the burden of BBC funding while keeping it a truly public broadcaster.

At the Enders/Deloitte Media & Telecoms 2020 and Beyond conference, players from the sports world came together to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in engaging with fans. There was general consensus that free-to-air broadcasters, pay-TV operators and OTT services all have a role to play in serving sports audiences.

DTC services will enable sports organisations to engage with and learn about their fans, but whilst a complementary DTC service can boost incremental reach beyond broadcasters, rightsowners should remain cognisant of the collective power of bundling.

As viewing habits continue to evolve, fastest of all amongst younger generations, the industry needs to continue to adapt, particularly if it is to have a chance of combatting piracy.

Disney+ has struck a non-exclusive deal to be carried on Sky Q in the UK and Ireland. Available from launch on 24 March, at this stage there will be no bundling and as such there will likely be less co-promotion and prominence on the user interface than has been seen for Netflix.

Sky has relinquished exclusivity over Disney films, although new releases will continue, for now, to be available on Sky Cinema, as well as Disney+. The volume and the quality/desirability available to Sky will remain the same.

Just as Disney content is essential to Sky, Disney+ needs Sky to get scale quickly. Sky, which is shifting the emphasis away from its core football offering, needs Disney content, and certainly couldn't lose it. But given that Sky homes are among the most likely to subscribe to Disney+, and with Disney's enthusiasm to grow scale as quickly as possible, Disney needs Sky just as much.

A monolith within the broadcasting landscape and the greater UK creative economy, the BBC, instructed by its Charter, is a guaranteed leader of investment in local and quality content, tech, regionality, and diversity.

The sector’s balance results in skills, intellectual property and talent naturally flowing from the Corporation to private companies, incentivising ambition and success while allowing the wider environment to flourish. Those that would fill its void offer few of these guaranteed benefits.

The efficacy by which the BBC achieves its required objectives is and should be open to questioning and review, however it nevertheless stands as a major and essential contributor to the creative sector, one of Britain’s greatest achievements.

Despite two decades of online disruption, the UK remains reliant on traditional platforms and brands across the media sector—more so for older cohorts, but also for younger generations.

13% of adults still do not use the internet and, in reality, an online-only media ecosystem remains a distant prospect.

Traditional providers, particularly within TV, radio and news, look set to endure for the long term, aided by the trajectory of the UK’s ageing population.