High inflation ahead of wage increases and higher interest rates are combining to provoke a mild recession in real consumption expenditure in 2023. Consumers are  sustaining spend to a degree by depleting their financial firepower, promising a mild recovery in 2024.

UK display advertising will again lag consumption growth in 2023. Online display is growing much slower after a giddy two years. Incumbents are challenged, particularly for higher-funnel spend, but the long-term fundamentals remain: economy and society are moving online.

While TV revenue will decline in 2023, its effectiveness for advertisers ensures it is well placed to benefit from any recovery. Digital revenues will see growth this year.

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Cross-party support for an 11th hour amendment to the Online Safety Bill’s Commons report stage has forced the Government to agree that a new criminal liability for tech executives will be added in the Bill’s passage through the Lords.

The proposed amendment cites faulty precedents, including in financial services, and a new, not yet established Irish online safety regime that is lengthy in procedural steps before criminal sanction.

The introduction of criminal liability will not strengthen the safety objectives of the bill. It is at odds with the approach of the wider regulation, and is practically unworkable.

The amended Online Safety Bill contains sensibly scaled back provisions for “legal but harmful” content for adults, retaining the objectives of removing harms to children and giving users more choice. However, this comes at the expense of enhanced transparency from platforms.

News publishers have won further protections: their content will have a temporary ‘must-carry’ requirement pending review when flagged under the Bill’s content rules. Ofcom must keep track of how regulation affects the distribution of news.

The Bill could be further strengthened: private communications should be protected. Regulators will need to keep up with children’s changing habits, as they are spending more time on live, interactive social gaming.

In a transformative upgrade of its content subscription offering, Google is buying the rights to live Sunday NFL games for $2 billion per year for 2023-2031.

YouTube can leverage its massive reach to challenge existing video aggregators, including pay-TV platforms and Amazon, as a gatekeeper to consumers.

Google will likely deploy a similar strategy in Europe, eventually competing with Sky, Canal+ and other incumbents—a hopeful development for football leagues.

The post-pandemic recovery has lifted vacancies to a high of 1.27 million, at critical levels in hospitality and health—sectors impacted by the exodus of EU workers. We expect recruitment advertising for private sector roles to have risen 13% in 2022 to £746 million (noting base effects from lockdown in H1 2021), and will decline c.4% in 2023.

LinkedIn dominates recruitment advertising directed at professionals, leveraging its free global networking service. Indeed anchors the other end of the skills spectrum, which is low value and high volume, aggregating openings to create a scale proposition for jobseekers, using technology to target and match them with employers.

Specialists are surviving Indeed’s technology-driven business model by relying on human expertise and ancillary HR services to differentiate. Agencies continue to specialise in supplying workers to large employers for temporary positions. News publishers have retained a small but dwindling slice of recruitment advertising.

Sports orgs are looking for ways to engage their total, global fanbase, leading them to explore virtual interactive sports experiences.

Sport is well-placed to overcome many of the obstacles in the way of the metaverse. In particular, many of the asset development and experience design issues are much closer to being solved than in other verticals.

There are different routes to a true sports metaverse, with the most promising being expanding existing sports simulation games. Crypto, NFTs, and social gaming platforms are largely distractions.

The UK’s cost-of-living crisis will compress real household disposable income by 4.3% in fiscal 2022/23, despite the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) in place for this winter, with the pain compounded by rising interest rates until mid 2023, provoking a mild peak-to-trough decline in GDP of 2-3%

With CPI inflation forecast at 7% in 2023, and real private consumption forecast to decline by 1.9% (OBR) at the very least, advertising could still rise by 2-3% in 2023, a decline in real terms, with H1 particularly affected relative to H2, when declining CPI will allow monetary policy to relax

Not all households are equally affected by economic headwinds, and those that are more resilient will be the most attractive targets for businesses in 2023: those in  the top half of the income distribution, particularly older, empty-nested homeowners without mortgages

By firing Bob Chapek, the board responded decisively to a stream of negative press coverage and unexpected weak results.

Iger's priority should be unwinding Chapek’s revenue and distribution structure that separated creatives from investment control.

What will be the next transformational deal for Iger-led Disney? Strategic gaps include a youth audience pivoted towards social media and games

Online advertising growth at big tech firms has flatlined, with real-term declines at Meta and YouTube. The weakness is concentrated in higher funnel ads.

Advertising is a leading indicator. A hardware slowdown is coming, services growth is stuttering, and businesses will want to save on cloud services.

Investors are hostile to attempts to spend through a downturn, but competition from TikTok and developments in AI demand targeted investment, while Meta is pot-committed to the metaverse. Tech giants are looking for savings elsewhere.