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  • June 14, 2019

    UK Channel 4’s balancing act: 2018 annual report

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    Mindful of the uncertain future effects of ongoing events, most notably the stagnating TV ad market and the costs of establishing an HQ in Leeds, Channel 4 returned a £5 million pre-tax surplus in 2018, which after investment in Box left its cash reserves at £180 million. Increased digital revenue more than made up for the anticipated drop in spot advertising and sponsorship (with group viewing share and SOCI down) while cautiousness necessitated lower content spend (down 5% from the peak in 2016); a concern given rising content costs. Nevertheless, Channel 4 is doing a good job delivering its remit in a tough environment, continuing to broadcast programming no-one else would and leveraging long-standing relationships to nurture television and film of a quality and ingenuity that belies the modest size of the organisation
  • September 3, 2018

    UK Commercial TV impact trends: better than viewing trends, worse [...]

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    There has been no shortage of attention paid to declining TV viewing over recent years, but much of it focuses on overall viewing time rather than advertising delivery. This is to overlook the engine driving most of the UK’s television industry. Commercial impact delivery has held up well relative to overall viewing, and is strong for certain key demographics. Nonetheless there are generational and behavioural changes afoot which are exerting downward pressures on impacts, especially for younger audiences. An archipelago of Love Islands is needed (Stranger Things have happened).

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  • November 17, 2016

    The studio model: stay tuned!

    US entertainment groups have not been disrupted by the rise of digital media. Long running franchises drive growth across diverse sectors, starting with pay-TV and SVOD. US television advertising is rising in line with GDP, while the online video ad market is flourishing, with much appearing alongside the majors’ scripted content. Studios’ cable channels are their most profitable assets, but M&As with distribution platforms, including Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, have usually failed to deliver synergies. The Donald Trump presidency could leverage hostile public opinion towards mergers to undermine the AT&T bid for Time Warner; but it could also stimulate M&As if it granted tech companies a tax break to repatriate profits. A more protectionist administration could also bring about a less benevolent attitude towards majors’ foreign operations.

  • July 22, 2016

    Mid-form video: Beyond the long and the short of it

    Video content is crudely defined. If something is not very short (<10 minutes) then it tends to be considered long-form. But there is a middle ground - one which displays a distinctive combination of characteristics in terms of production, broadcasting and viewing. Mid-form video (between 10 and 20 minutes) has the ability to carry the narrative arcs normally associated with long-form programming, whilst also retaining the snackable and shareable attributes of short-form. The footprint of mid-form is, so far, small. However, it is growing, as its unique qualities, such as excellent ad completion, become more readily recognised.

  • May 7, 2015

    US and UK TV ad markets – apples and pears

    The US is seeing steep decline in measured TV viewing by younger age-groups and rapid increase in digital media adspend, prompting fears about the future of TV ad revenues across the major broadcasters and cable networks. The UK has seen similar trends, prompting suggestions that it will see similar effects. However, comparison of US and UK TV ad revenue trends since 2000 shows big differences in the underlying growth rates after taking economic factors into account. These undermine the inference that the decline in viewing and rise in digital adspend will have similar effects on either side of the Atlantic. Examination of the US and UK TV ad markets further points to big differences across a raft of major variables relating to supply and airtime trading practice, such as can be expected to yield very different outcomes with respect to TV ad revenue growth.