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.

Meta's China risk is overstated: the spend from Chinese advertisers is diverse and resilient to everything short of a full-blown trade war. 

Apple (and Tesla) are in the more precarious position of selling directly in-market, and face sharpening domestic competition.

Amazon's exit from selling in China still leaves it exposed: its marketplace strategy is built on Chinese sellers, whose potential routes to market are proliferating with local platforms going global.  

Vodafone’s Q3 results were slightly disappointing following the green shoots of Q2, with growth in Germany slipping back again, albeit some of it already flagged.

It is difficult to imagine the full year results event being a positive catalyst with the likelihood of a dividend cut, a recognition of the hard-currency reality of the financials, and a still challenging outlook for FY 2024/25.

Deal-making is a positive counter with a highly accretive deal still in the offing in Italy, and the prospect of execution in Spain and the UK. Various inorganic deals with 1&1, Microsoft and Accenture will also be helpful, although none of them as valuable as an improvement in the core operations.

BT’s Q3 was robust in financial terms, delivering revenue growth of 3% and EBITDA growth of 1%, both in-line/ahead of analyst expectations.

Strong broadband ARPU and accelerating FTTP performance at Openreach were the highlights, a weakening BT Business and continued Openreach broadband losses were the main concerns.

This year’s guidance should be easily met, next year’s will be trickier given lower price rises due in April, but the long-term plan of a massive cashflow turnaround when the FTTP build ends is still well on-track.

UK law permits PPL to collect royalties on the public performance of recordings, but performers on US recordings are not eligible for distribution, except for digital transmissions, under the principle of material reciprocity. The Government may reverse this principle, with US labels (and their UK subsidiaries) likely to lose out.

The EU Member States are also grappling with the issue. Rethinking reciprocity is more disruptive there than it would be in the UK, because of how the 'artist's share' of royalties has been treated.

Progress has stalled in the US on legislation to provide for sound recording radio broadcast rights, which would be of huge benefit to performers and labels, but is ferociously opposed by broadcasters.

Sony PlayStation’s next CEO will have hard decisions to make: compete against a resurgent multiplatform Microsoft, or retreat and defend an increasingly rickety PlayStation console model.

New gaming hardware will have an outsize influence in the year ahead, giving gamers unprecedented choice, starting with XR headsets and continuing to a likely new Nintendo Switch.

YouTube’s foray into browser-based games will be the service to watch in 2024. If successful, streaming services, including Netflix, will be on track to become heavyweight game platforms.

Public service broadcasters are in a position to plan for the long term with commercial licences renewed for ten years, an updated prominence regime via the Media Bill and a government broadly supportive of the BBC.

With the Premier League and EFL rights secure to the end of the decade, Sky can plan for the future from a position of strength.

Relationships between Sky and the PSBs have improved markedly recently, and as all can now plan for the long-term, this should provide further opportunities to cement relationships for the benefit of the broadcasting ecosystem and viewers.

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.

The CMA has announced the launch of its Phase 1 review of the proposed Vodafone/Three merger, with the timeline suggesting a Phase 1 conclusion in late March and a Phase 2 decision around September/October.

The main focus is likely to be whether the merger would lead to a substantial lessening in competition (SLC), with the companies' varied market positioning helpful in this regard.

The merger's prospective 'countervailing factors' are substantial, with an estimated 25-50% increase in sector capacity further strengthening the imperative for the operators to get customers signed up.