Apple’s latest software update continues its drive to limit the data that can be collected about iPhone users as they browse the internet. Prior changes have had an effect on ad prices for publishers, and on advertiser results

The new changes target cornerstones of profiling and targeting: IP and email addresses. The impact will be gradual, but could be profound if takeup is high

The lesson for publishers is that no technical implementation of targeted advertising is safe. Layering third-party data on top of anonymous audiences is not a future-proof business model

Enders Analysis has worked with the IPA to produce this wide-ranging study into the effects and key lessons from the pandemic for the marketing industry. Tracing what are likely to be permanent structural shifts in the economy, this report will quantify and explore the impact for the industry on mobility restrictions, the rise in ecommerce, the explosion of in-home media consumption, and shifts in media spend. 

Press reports that Sky is in advanced talks to co-invest in Virgin Media O2’s upgrade of its cable network to full fibre are something of a surprise, with a host of issues for both parties to carefully consider

The muted deal would be somewhat negative for BT (although limited by Sky’s c.15% market share in VMO2 areas and regulatory protections/upsides). It is, however, a stark reminder of the precarious economics of alternative networks such as CityFibre

Whether this makes VMO2 more likely to extend its network further is a more critical issue, certainly for BT

 

The pandemic accelerated the print revenue decline of consumer magazines in the UK, plunging 12% in 2020; less than half of 2020 industry revenues are due to print. Larger publishers and established titles (e.g. The Economist) will survive the UK’s journey through the pandemic whilst ecommerce, a growing revenue stream for publishers, booms under work-from-home

Publishers now distribute content across multiple channels and reader touchpoints, blurring the lines of what a magazine is today. A focus on the reader economy has finally emerged, enhancing other revenue streams for brands in the right verticals. Execution relies on investment in the tech stack

Future is the UK star, led by its ecommerce revenues from surfacing products and services to readers. This prime position has allowed it to build further scale and consolidate titles from TI Media and Dennis. Despite Future’s successes, there is no single industry playbook as heterogenous titles and portfolios forge their diversified, digital paths

Amazon has been criticised by commentators, governments and sellers for giving its own products an unfair advantage on its online storefront, which millions of sellers depend on for discovery

This line of attack misses the point of Amazon’s business, which is to operate marketplaces and extract profits from suppliers through fees and services. This model raises its own questions about competition and fair trading, but self-preferencing is not core

Amazon's strategy needs both buyers and sellers, but it needs to focus on the experience for customers as the foundation of its market power

Sky’s revenue was up 15% in Q2, back to pre-COVID levels despite some lingering pandemic effects such as most pubs and clubs remaining closed. EBITDA fell by a third, driven by higher costs from sports rights, since very few live sports events took place in Q2 2020.

The impact of “resetting” football rights is already evident in Germany and Italy, with 248k net customer losses across the group despite growth in the UK. However, Sky will make substantial savings, and we expect this will more than offset lost revenues.

Meanwhile, Sky continues to strike deals with other content providers, solidifying its position as the leading household entertainment gatekeeper. In time, apps for NBCU’s Peacock, ViacomCBS’ Paramount+, ITV Hub, and, in Germany, RTL TV Now and DAZN, will all be aggregated within Sky Q.

VMO2’s inaugural results reinforced the company’s focus on profitability with EBITDA growth of 6% and record margins. Flat revenues year-on-year benefited from the annualisation of the COVID-19 hit but incorporated little by way of rebound.

Much remains to be seen in terms of strategy but indications thus far are reassuring with B2B a clear focus for revenue growth, and the benefits of direct distribution feeding through to profitability.

The company’s decision to build an overlay full fibre network is a bold, but smart, move—allaying justified obsolescence fears about its network, enhancing strategic flexibility, and reducing its cost base.

BT’s revenue growth bounced back by 3ppts in Q1, and EBITDA growth surged into positive territory for the first time since 2018, enjoying significant bounceback as it lapped the start of the pandemic.

Some aspects of the bounce are temporary, but some business lines are yet to recover at all, and there are positive signs of an underlying return to sustainable growth across much of BT.

Openreach’s momentum continues to grow with much more to come, and VMO2’s switch to full fibre reduces a long-term upside but introduces no significant new downside in our view.

ITV’s H1 advertising revenues were up 29% YoY—and up 2% compared to 2019—to £866 million, with the Euros and an improving market ushering in the biggest June ever for the broadcaster. Studios revenues rose 26% (to £798 million), which was 5% better than 2019

ITV’s new deal with Sky provides clarity around the relationship between the two companies, with ITV soon able to dynamically serve ads on both downloaded content and linear channels (but apparently not via Sky Adsmart) on Sky Q. By the end of 2022, the full ITV Hub app will be available on Sky Q

BritBox—which was not part of the Sky deal—has shown muted growth in the UK (adding 55k in H1 to 555k subscribers), while over the same period, international subscriptions lifted 18% (to 2 million)