Shareholders have voted down director nominees proposed by Trian Partners and Blackwells Capital, providing a convincing, but hard fought, victory for Bob Iger and the current board

The proxy battle surfaced useful ideas and recommendations that Disney should implement: appointing a Chief Technology Officer to the C-Suite would help the company better respond to technology-first competitors and AI

After months of distraction, Disney leadership can now focus on important unresolved issues: completing the acquisition of Hulu, achieving profitability in direct-to-consumer services, and what to do with Linear Networks

As we noted previously—despite the explosion in volume and access to content—long-form viewing is narrowing around fewer programmes

At the same time, younger viewers are watching a greater proportion of video alone, resulting in a growing schism between what is watched by young and older viewers

The upshot is a two-pronged escalation of pressure on content providers—trying to create a hit when long-form viewing is both declining and concentrating, while, by age at least, adult audience demand becomes increasingly binary

Streaming profitability beckons, but owes much to the profitable services folded into companies’ DTC segments alongside the headline streamers.

There is a broader move towards bundling and price rises. The former bolsters subscriber additions and lifetime value but is ARPU-dilutive, while price rises will bump up both ARPU and churn.

2024 marks the first year with multiple players at scale in the ad space, as Prime Video entered the market. Other streamers with high CPMs and lower scale may be forced to re-examine their offerings.

As guided, ITV’s advertising performance was down 8% year-on-year (£1.8 billion), while Studios performed slightly better than expected (+4%, £2.2 billion): meaning that adjusted EBITA, while challenged (-32%, £489 million) could have been worse given the trials of H1

Unsurprisingly, ITV has announced an acceleration of its cost-cutting measures which intensifies an earlier hiring freeze: costs have risen 19% since before COVID, while revenues are only up 10%

ITVX continues its strong growth, and although we think that this needs to be contextualised, there are unintended but encouraging signs for the broadcaster

As viewing moves online, broadcasters’ on-demand players make up a growing proportion of viewing, becoming central to their future strategies.

However, even though SVOD viewing might have begun to plateau, BVOD growth cannot yet balance the decline of linear broadcast.

Of this shrinking pie, 2023 saw most of the major broadcast players increase their viewing shares.

Disney's bottom line results were flattered by a year-long cost cutting drive: the decline in linear entertainment revenue is accelerating and direct-to-consumer subscriber growth has temporarily stalled.

A new sports JV with Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox, along with other announcements are designed to grab attention in midst of turbulent shareholder rebellion.  Disney also—at last—unveiled a new games initiative with a $1.5 billion equity stake in Epic Games and a major immersive universe to attract younger audiences.

Disney's approach to the licensing of content to third parties is nuanced and so will be its effect on the perception of Disney+'s exclusivity.

Germany’s RTL+ streaming platform has been revamped into an 'all-in-one' bundle of content including premium sports, music and audiobooks.

RTL wants to leverage its FTA reach to build an online subscription base large enough to influence the future shape of German TV.

To sustain subscriber growth we argue that RTL will need to release defining content and explore partnerships beyond its current deals with telcos.

Netflix had its second-biggest quarter ever for net subscriber additions—up 13.1 million to 260 million, behind only Q1 2020—with the streamer's 'paid sharing' initiative the key factor. Meanwhile, Netflix's expansive deal with WWE moves it definitively into the live streaming market, although perhaps not yet sports

The universality of Netflix's non-English content is overstated but it did mitigate the reduced volume of new US content due to the strikes. With a continuing bleak US production outlook, this is not a card most competitors hold

Netflix's ad business is making gradual progress, with the streamer's suite of games now a target for further monetisation

The launch of a new free tier in Germany in December 2023 marks a new stage in DAZN’s strategy to transform into a broader sports destination platform.

The final weeks of 2023 also saw DAZN agree extensions to vital distribution deals with its most valuable partners: Sky, TIM and Movistar.

DAZN is focused on reaching breakeven on a monthly basis this year and its recently released 2022 accounts show large but narrowing losses, and a small first step taken towards this goal.

DAZN has morphed from a purely OTT to a hybrid sports service, becoming the number two football broadcaster in Europe.

A revamped distribution strategy focused on partnerships with pay-TV operators has extended reach and improved coverage, while ARPU has grown from firmer pricing and more sophisticated packaging.

DAZN is now a more financially sustainable company that should reach breakeven next year and move into profitability thereafter, with additional upside from betting and retailing third-party sports services.