News UK and DMG Media’s joint venture to combine their printing operations has been given the green light by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), concluding the supply of services to third parties would not be adversely affected                                                                                          

The CMA concluded that the printing operations of the two publishers were not particularly close competitors for third-party customers. Geography and spare capacity—as we have long argued—were far more influential factors                                                                                          

The CMA’s green light is a timely reminder of the importance of industry collaboration for the profitability of the news industry’s print era, with useful indicators for the evolving online market

The Government will enact a new ban on foreign states acquiring UK print news media, forcing Redbird IMI to end its pursuit of Telegraph Media Group (TMG).

The new law adds a further criterion to the regulatory scrutiny of media mergers on competition and public interest grounds, but there remain questions about its scope.

The new law will collide with the completion of Phase 1 of the regulatory process on public interest grounds by the Secretary of State (SoS), unless RedBird IMI surrenders.

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.

A new UK corporate structure for RedBird IMI to own the Telegraph and Spectator has sparked a second regulatory intervention on public interest grounds, which has set back the deadline for Phase 1 advice from Ofcom and the CMA to 11 March.

Even without the frenzy of opposition to the merger of RedBird IMI and TMG, a like-for-like comparison with the corporate structure of the Evening Standard highlights several concerns that could arise in Ofcom’s PIT.

The Secretary of State Lucy Frazer will certainly prefer to refer the merger to the CMA for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation in view of the scale of public interest concerns, despite undertakings offered by RedBird IMI.

Magazines are in the final phase of industrial-scale print volumes, with the era of artisan print magazines already highly visible and blooming, celebrating the reader’s tangible experience of the design and rich content, drawn by the brand’s authority.

Publishers’ online revenue models have diversified by attracting third-party sources—advertisers, campaign partners and affiliates—alongside a relatively tepid commitment to audience-led revenue models, with exceptions.

Publishers seeking a sustainable digital future by circa 2030 will need to focus more on audiences than on advertisers, leveraging core brands across multiple channels to build community, with print playing a narrower, lucrative and much-loved role

Dramas from the public service broadcasters based on books consistently bring in bigger audiences than those that are not, a trend driven by certain genres, especially detective mysteries and thrillers.

A greater volume of newer book IP is being developed into programming, but this preference is not necessarily reflected in audience figures.                                 

Younger demographics are less enamoured with dramas based on books than older viewers. There are however notable exceptions, while attracting younger audiences may have more to do with the age, genre, and fame of the IP.

The quest for sustainability in the UK national news industry is gaining ground, thanks to digital growth offsetting relentless print decline. The challenge of the print-to-digital transition has not faded, however, amidst the oncoming cliff-edge for print.

Nationals choosing the path of the walled garden on digital have out-performed those in pursuit of the ad-supported mass-market audience, whose ad yield per user is being compressed by more efficient scale platforms and the end of tracking technology.

Despite the challenges facing the news industry, the beacon of light shone by professional journalism has never been more important to humanity, to combat disinformation and misinformation on the internet, which Gen AI tools will only exacerbate.

Book pricing has stagnated over the past two decades, leading to severe real-term declines in price per book. Nominal prices are now on the rise, but they are still swamped by inflation, and there is no prospect of them catching up to where they were.

The cost to produce books has been hit by many of the same inflationary conditions affecting companies (and people) across the board, leading to tough conditions at publishers, particularly small ones.

Fortunately, books offer many ways for publishers to price discriminate, charging more to price-insensitive, motivated readers.

The UK’s ‘zombie’ economy—largely flat since March 2022—is due to the cost-of-living crisis weighing on households, with this exacerbated in 2023 by the rising cost of credit. Real private expenditure growth will be weakly positive in 2024 before strengthening in 2025 as headwinds recede

Our 2023 forecast of a nominal rise but real decline in display advertising was realised, with TV’s revenues falling while digital display rose. Advertiser spend online is justified by the channel’s size and growth, worth an estimated £406 billion in 2023

For 2024, much lower inflation and mildly positive real private expenditure growth points to 3-4% display advertising growth, with a stronger recovery anticipated in 2025

A regulatory intervention on public interest grounds now stands in the way of RedBird IMI owning the Telegraph and Spectator after the Barclay family settled the loan with Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), thus ending the auction of the titles.

RedBird IMI CEO Jeff Zucker anticipated concerns on public interest grounds in the UK and sketched out possible undertakings to mitigate them.

Ofcom has experience with advising on the public interest in newspaper mergers, but not with tussling with opponents on the foreign ownership of news titles.