News Corp

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  • February 27, 2019

    The price is right for UK’s national newspapers

    The average cover price of national newspapers has risen by 58% since 2010, more than twice the CPI increase of 22%. Are publishers “shooting themselves in the foot” at a time when buyers and advertisers are defecting to online?. To settle this, we analysed all the cover price events by national titles between 2010 and 2018, which reveals the relative success of The Times when it has raised its price. For mid-market and popular titles, cover price hikes have on balance reduced circulation revenues and, by lowering reach, drained advertising revenue: a lose-lose scenario.
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  • June 4, 2018

    News brands and reader subscriptions: Towards a sustainable futur [...]

    Print remains the primary revenue driver for most newspapers, but after 20 years of online news publishing we ask the critical question: how will publishers sustain newsrooms at scale when print has disappeared, or has contracted to a weekend luxury experience? The question needs to be answered in the context of both: 1) Rapidly declining advertising revenues in print media; and 2) A tiny and shrinking market share of digital advertising revenues. We believe these circumstances strongly imply the race for audience scale is more investor fallacy than a sustainable business prize; and besides, over-reliance on the advertising market for quality content provision is unappealing, particularly to proudly independent news publishers. Reader revenue, long assumed to be an impossibility for general quality digital news services, is the only answer. Registrations, membership and subscription models are being explored, tested, adopted or exploited by almost every major quality news provider in the US and Europe. The transition to subscription is hugely attractive, but requires first and foremost a new editorial strategy, requiring a wholesale business transformation.
  • March 8, 2018

    Importance of News Content

    In an increasingly digital world, the free flow of information has lowered the value of paid news. News providers, which could earlier rely on advertising to subsidise journalism, continue to face aggressive competition from global tech giants and are being forced to find new revenue streams
  • October 17, 2017

    News and Facebook

    Even though Facebook is not a producer of news, 6.5 million UK internet users claim to mainly source their news from the platform. Posts and shares by friends in the user's network, in the context of Facebook's algorithm, determine the order of stories in the personalised News Feed, removing the control of the news agenda that publishers have for their websites. Premium publishers operating a paywall (The Times, The Financial Times) have a lower key approach to Facebook than publishers generating advertising revenue from referral traffic to their websites or from on-platform consumption of Instant Articles. The latter will seek to stimulate social media engagement, optimising stories through attention-grabbing headlines, and installing Facebook’s share and like buttons on their websites. Case studies of the news stories that were prominent on Facebook (measured by likes, comments and shares) in the periods leading up to the Brexit Referendum and General Election 2017 votes respectively demonstrate that newspaper brands (the Express for Brexit, and The Guardian for the General Election) achieved the highest reach on Facebook during these periods, despite being ranked below other news brands (BBC in particular) in terms of traffic to their websites
  • July 7, 2017

    News publishers accelerate membership drive

    In an immersive industry workshop in Turin celebrating La Stampa’s 150th anniversary, quality news publishers from around the world expressed a strong collective belief in membership, an editorial strategy supported by an emerging advertising opportunity. Editorial and service relevance was defined by widely varying publisher missions, categorised by a range of local and specialist use-cases, creating highly differentiated services for print, mobile and other delivery. A low-level hum in the discussions was a recognition that fundamental change in company culture – editorial and commercial as well as business operations – is a complex but urgent requirement for achieving a long-term sustainable news service.

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  • June 29, 2017

    Ten Network– going once, going twice, gone…?

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the biggest technological revolution since the digital age. Businesses and industries will experience a huge boost to productivity and efficiency, and save costs across their entire value chains. Economic, legal and ethical challenges need to be overcome for AI to become widespread.

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  • Australian media reforms are sensible …but they come far too late
    Australian media reforms are sensible …but they come far too late
    May 10, 2017

    Australian media reforms are sensible …but they come far too la [...]

    On Saturday 6th May 2017, the Australian Government announced a comprehensive package of media reforms – a feat that had defeated many of its predecessors. The reforms have clearly been designed to offer something for everyone and the response from the industry has been extremely positive, but is it is all too late?

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  • March 21, 2017

    21CF and the bid for Sky: state of play

    Secretary of State Karen Bradley has intervened on two UK public interest grounds in 21CF’s bid for 100% ownership of Sky: media plurality, as in 2010, and a commitment to broadcasting standards, new in 2017. Ofcom will assess any implications of 21CF’s full control of Sky on whether it is ‘fit and proper’ to hold a broadcast licence, reporting back on 16 May. Undertakings are a live issue in the 2016 bid, notably to protect the editorial independence of Sky News, noting the bid faces determined opposition from certain quarters.
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  • Digital AdEx Market Outlook – the hunter becomes the hunted
    Digital AdEx Market Outlook – the hunter becomes the hunted
    December 8, 2015

    Digital AdEx Market Outlook – the hunter becomes the hunted

    MVNOs have seen their market share grow in the last few years. However, we believe that we are now at ‘Peak MVNO’, thanks to rising costs, a declining price differential with MNOs and Vodafone’s return to growth. We forecast MVNO’s share to decline to 6.6% in 2020 from 8.3% currently, even as TPG outperforms by gaining share.

  • October 14, 2015

    BBC plans hit local press

    Non-subscribers can download this report in full - alongside all our other coverage of the BBC during the Charter Review process - from the 'BBC Charter Review' page of our site. BBC proposals for local media set out on 7 September offer solutions to an alleged market failure, without much evidence, contained in February’s Future of News report. There is no dispute that local commercial print and online media operations have suffered heavy revenue losses since their peak a decade ago – the industry is, however, still profitable, innovation and online growth are helping to stabilise the top-line, and new enterprises are emerging. Local media publishers prefer a turbo-charged BBC policy of linking to their sites to the proposal for a local media digital hub fed by publishers and 100 BBC journalists.

  • July 1, 2015

    A new Fox bid for Sky: when, not if

    News Corp’s original bid for full ownership of BSkyB was withdrawn because of the phone hacking scandal. It was never blocked by regulators. Had it not been for the scandal, the bid would almost certainly have been approved. With the phone hacking scandal fallout largely over and the election of a friendly government, the climate is now much more favourable to a renewed bid. With undertakings, we believe it would be approved by regulators. The increasingly global scale of TV and film distribution means the commercial case for the bid is, if anything, stronger now than in 2010. The questions are simply whether the right price can be agreed, and how high up it is on James Murdoch’s list of priorities.

  • February 16, 2015

    New phase for news brands

    News has entered a new phase, defined by the disruptive forces of mobile, social media and video, effecting rapid changes in consumption and the underlying economics for news businesses: the level of change and innovation is rewiring the structure and financial models for news more quickly than many news providers are able to respond. While charging for news looks to be a successful route for some brands, we note that the scale of charging for the industry is substantially smaller than in print. Apart from this, three models are gathering traction: selling audience engagement; selling news services; and selling news to businesses. Each of these options involves very different strategies and opposing objectives which can only be pursued at the same time by those with the deepest pockets. Everyone else has to choose.

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  • January 20, 2014

    What should the BBC be for?

    The Charter Review of the BBC officially opened with the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry into the Future of the BBC asking the question “What should the BBC be for and what should be the purpose of public service broadcasting?”. The only obvious answer is that the BBC and public service broadcasting should be for the people of Britain, and the BBC rates highly on different measures of public and audience engagement. The BBC plays an irreplaceable role in the supply of PSB programming that UK audiences appreciate, most importantly news, where the BBC accounts for 70% of TV news time and for 22% of online news time in 2013.

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  • December 19, 2013

    National newspapers: digital signs of life

    The UK national press remains a ‘big beast' in UK media, selling 7.2 million copies every day, supplemented by 1.6 million free newspapers; however, the decades long decline in print circulation and advertising has accelerated once again with the take off of smartphones and tablets. Print still accounts for the vast majority of the nationals' income, though revenue continues to fall due to declining copy sales and the structural shift of classified ads to the internet; there is also growing evidence that display advertising is declining by more than volume losses in some categories. Digital is gathering momentum due to acceleration in digital advertising and a shift to pay models. In the UK, where print subscription levels are low, and home delivery lower still, publishers face the obvious challenges of digital transition and migration from a newsstand economy to a consumer relationship mindset.

  • December 19, 2013

    2013 round up and topics for next year

    2013 has seen yet another year of strong growth in consumer adoption of mobile devices and screens adding to the challenges facing traditional media. Press and radio have long been affected, but television is now starting to feel the heat. BT and Sky's contest for premium pay-TV sports rights has intensified. August saw the launch of BT Sport, while BT's acquisition of the European football rights in November was a clear statement of intent, spending half of Channel 4's total programming budget on approx. 200 hours of content. The UK has seen buoyant advertising growth of around 4% in 2013, with similar growth expected in 2014, in the context of the strongest economic recovery in Europe.

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    October 20, 2013

    Leveson and the Royal Charter: playing for time

    On 30 October, two days after criminal trials for alleged phone hacking begin, the Privy Council will finally seal a Royal Charter to set up regulation of the press. The end of this drawn-out process might be thought near. Several major publishers are planning to boycott the system by setting up their own regulator, which will not meet the Charter's standards. In recent days, Conservative ministers have said the press is ‘free' to take that route. The Recognition Panel set up by Parliament's Royal Charter may not report on the system's success or (more likely) failure until the autumn after the 2015 election. Whether to have a showdown with publishers who reject the Royal Charter is a decision being put off by everyone.

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  • June 30, 2013

    News Corp does the splits: New News Corporation and 21st Century [...]

    On 28 June, News Corporation split into two companies: 21st Century Fox will consist of the TV and entertainment assets: Cable Network Programming, Fox Filmed Entertainment, Television, Sky Italia, its 55% stake in Sky Deutschland and its 39% stake in BSkyB. New News Corp will consist of the publishing assets (Dow Jones, The Sun and Times/Sunday Times, the New York Post, News America Marketing Group, the Australian newspapers and Harper Collins), as well as Fox Sports Australia, the digital education business Amplify, a 61.6% stake in digital property business REA Group Limited and a 50% stake in Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel. The split partly reflects industry trends. Over the last five years, a number of media conglomerates, including McGraw-Hill and Time Warner, have separated low growth, low multiple publishing assets from higher growth parts of the businesses in order to optimise valuations and management focus. This report provides a breakdown of the divisions within the two new companies and analyses their growth prospects.


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    April 15, 2013

    Cover prices: the old new model

    News International's decision to raise the price of the Sun on Sunday is partly a result of it being seriously under-priced since launch and partly a signal of a broader strategic focus at News International and press generally. With digital revenues not scaling as publishers had hoped and with print advertising continuing its structural decline, newspaper and magazine publishers are finding success with the oldest trick in the book: increasing cover prices to drive up income. Publishers are realising that circulation decline is accelerating anyway and price increases appear to constitute only a marginal additional loss. It no longer makes sense to undervalue the product.

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    December 20, 2012

    The Leveson Report: entering the mire

    On 29 November, the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press finally issued its report. Its verdicts on the conduct of the press, politicians and police were less severe than expected. The three main political parties have accepted most of the report's recommendations, but have disagreed over the use of statute. As expected, the Conservatives are against, while Labour and the Lib Dems are in favour. Subsequent cross-party talks and negotiations between editors have so far failed to produce agreement, with the process only becoming more opaque as time goes on. The shape of the future regulatory system remains uncertain.

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  • September 19, 2012

    News Corp’s challenging new Dutch model

    News Corporation's Fox is to acquire a controlling stake in the Eredivisie Live pay-TV channel, which holds long-term rights to the top football league in The Netherlands. The guarantees that Fox will give to the league imply that revenues will more than double over the twelve years from 2013-14. Although we see growth potential in the historically underdeveloped Dutch pay-TV market, this looks challenging. Eredivisie Live operates in a wholesale market, making it very difficult to replicate the Sky platform model. The rationale for the deal appears instead to lie in an effort by Fox to opportunistically strengthen its global portfolio of sports channels.

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  • June 28, 2012

    Two News Corps for the price of one

    News Corp will split publishing out of its business by creating a company to include newspapers in the US, UK and Australia as well as book publisher HarperCollins News Corp revenue growth has for some time been driven by explosive growth in cable network programming revenues, with slower revenue growth in film, TV, satellite TV and publishing The structural decline of print-based businesses is the main reason cited for the split. However, the Dow Jones and WSJ, both serving a B2B market, will be at the heart of the new publishing company's value

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  • June 10, 2012

    Survival signs from the New York Times

    The New York Times has generated $243 million from its digital services in the four quarters since the launch of its new subscription strategy, representing about 15% of New York Times Media Group revenues, according to our estimates. This scale is the clearest signal yet that digital-only newsrooms could be able to generate enough revenue to fund expensive breadth and depth in journalism – though there will be many fewer profitable scale players than in the print news era. Meanwhile, bundling digital and print subscriptions has helped the New York Times develop an integrated and valued approach to consumer service provision, and in so doing has mitigated print circulation decline, at least for now.

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  • May 3, 2012

    Still headroom for growth – Sky Q3 2012 results

    The weak spot of 15,000 net TV additions in a positive quarter for operating profit growth reflects the continuing downward pressures of a struggling economy, with little indication of headwinds to do with connected TV Very strong growth in home communications in a weak quarter for TV net additions underline Sky's competitive strengths in a market now close to maturity, as well as bringing revenue growth and churn reduction benefits Overshadowing Sky's Q3 results, Ofcom's investigation into the “fit and proper” status of News Corp's shareholding in BSkyB is unlikely to affect the company in 2012.
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    March 9, 2012

    Print media outlook: make the most of 2012

    We forecast print media advertising will be down by about 4% in 2012, with national newspaper display roughly flat, performances we envisage will be seen as a temporary reprieve once the substantially tougher 2013 that we expect to follow is underway. Print media is not out of the structural woods, and even relatively small revenue contraction will amplify pain as the opportunities for further streamlining fixed-cost physical distribution operations are realistically diminishing. Digital is a greater challenge for paper than for screen media, as consumer and advertiser demand continues to weaken, yet publishers struggle to generate the killer service solution to stimulate scale revenue online.
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