Rising online ad prices mean customer acquisition costs have spiked for D2C businesses, which already had a higher marketing spend base than offline equivalents.

At the same time, the data used to target and measure online advertising—the key channel to find and convert customers—is being eroded.

There will be consolidation in the crowded D2C landscape, providing scale benefits. Sellers will also have to refocus their marketing attention on increasing customer lifetime value.

The EU’s GDPR enforcers have ruled that IAB Europe’s framework for collecting user consent, a standard used by about 80% of sites on the continent, is in violation of the regulations

This is one of the clearest signs yet that regulation is starting to catch up with Apple and Google’s privacy push, as support for cookies and mobile ad IDs is due to end over the next few years

Publishers must prepare now by treating privacy as a core part of user experience and adopting a reader-first revenue model that also supports advertising in a trusted environment

Groupe Le Monde has been on the road to fiscal recovery since it was rescued from bankruptcy in 2010 by private investors for €110 million

Through the pandemic Le Monde has grown its paying audience to almost peak print levels (in 1979), and is targeting growth to 1 million subscribers by 2025

Multiple brands provide Groupe Le Monde with a strong foundation for diversification, a necessary ingredient for further growth, exemplified by a growing range of news media

 

The Times and the Sunday Times have posted a record operating profit of £44.7 million, the highest (in nominal terms) since 1990, doubling a strong 2020

All the Times’ online metrics are going in the right direction, partly reflecting a favourable news agenda, but also a renewed energy, imagination and working rhythm galvanised by a new team and structure                                            

Reader economies are gathering momentum, at least among the quality press, and there are also hopeful signals among local and magazine media. Signs of reader subscription fatigue are supply-side rather than demand-driven—publishers should double down on their mission and purpose

The UK government is on the cusp of introducing legislation that will force online platforms to monitor and mitigate the presence and spread of harmful and illegal content, in a regulatory first for big tech.

Affected companies should take note: they will need to prepare for a higher level of transparency and communication with regulators, and larger service providers will require expanded moderation, user verification and research capabilities.

Users should be protected as platforms balance complex competing duties. News publisher content has a carveout, but publishers may experience butterfly effects as the online environment is reshaped.

Fuelled by savings piles accumulated under work-from-home (WFH) and asset price inflation, the strong recovery of private consumption in H2 2021 from the depths of successive lockdowns drove spectacular growth in UK display advertising, up by 24% on 2020 to £16 billion, noting base effects from the dramatic plunge in 2020

With consumers largely WFH in 2021, TV soared 25%, online 28%. Spend on cinema and out-of-home (OOH) in 2021 remained well below 2019 values. In-home goods and services have been strong while those consumed OOH are weak. Government spend on public health messaging remained high in 2021

Private consumption, now also impacted by CPI inflation, will trend upwards in 2022 and power display advertising growth of over 9%, driven by online spend and the continued recovery of cinema, OOH and the press. The sunny uplands we forecast for 2022 could rapidly cloud depending on the course of Omicron as we face Year 3 of the pandemic

 

Seven years after the launch of its membership initiative, The Guardian has reached one million digital-only subscriptions

Not coincidentally, longer-term financial sustainability looks within reach, as The Guardian posted an adjusted operating profit of £3.1 million in 2021, with reader revenues making up more than half of total income

A fine-tuned governance structure and key management changes indicate better alignment between the core journalism activity and the enterprise, designed to ensure that its independence is sustainably delivered

DMGT prepares to end its tenure as a plc, as the Rothermere family finalise a takeprivate offer of £2.9 billion (c. 18.8x EBITDA) and make a swathe of new appointments as it seeks to reconfigure the business

The Daily Mail newspaper is the crown jewel in the company’s assets, as the wider portfolio has recentred around consumer media

The road ahead is still foggy, with a rickety bridge between its print and online brands—a strategic risk for DMGT, yet also a key opportunity in UK media

 

The UK print media sector is facing escalating input cost inflation. Newsprint prices are 50% higher year on year in Q4 2021, noting that prices in 2020 were exceptionally low on soft demand. Based on 2019 rates, prices could be 25% higher in H1 2022. The squeeze on margins for print could destabilise the economics of supply overall

Newsprint inflation is being caused by soaring costs of recycled feedstock, exacerbated by the monopoly of a single supplying mill in the UK after years of attrition. Imports remain substantial, but impaired by the EU-wide crisis in the supply of paper products, alongside bottlenecks at points of entry to the UK

Although less significant a factor than paper in the cost of printing the news, electricity cost inflation is another worry for printers, noting that these costs were again also exceptionally low in 2020. Wholesale electricity prices surged by 80% in 2021 (Ofgem), due to pressure on gas supplies from Russia, and the global energy crisis, which will persist into 2022

 

 

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