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  • New
    August 21, 2018

    Regulating harmful video content and advertising online: Publishe [...]

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    Video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook video, enjoy a light-touch regulatory regime for harmful content and advertising. As video viewing of non-broadcaster content grows, the regulatory gap between TV broadcasters and video-sharing platforms widens, part of a broader uneven playing field for publishers and platforms. However, there is momentum against this: the “platforms vs publishers” divide looks set to weaken in EU law, and the platforms themselves are investing more in combatting harmful content within a self-regulatory regime, though their internal policies and outcomes are still opaque. Effective and fair regulation of video-sharing platforms would involve the balancing of national freedom of speech conventions and the public utility of user-generated video hosting with concerned stakeholder views: something approaching a co-regulatory system for online video-sharing platforms.  
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  • New
    August 20, 2018

    Sky UK 2017/18 full year results: Winning the game of content

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    Sky maintained strong revenue growth of 5% in 2017/18, with EBITDA and operating profit both bouncing back into strong positive territory after the UK Premier League rights hit of 2016/17. The UK grew revenue well and profits better; Italy performed well and should improve much further given the retreat of its principal competitor; Germany is more challenged, but extra content investment may aid sustained growth. Sky is proving adept at managing content costs and revenue in a changing environment, with investment, cost control and monetisation all being put to effective use as the content type demands it.  
  • New
    August 20, 2018

    Virgin Media Q2 2018 results: Measured approach in a tough market

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    Virgin Media had a mixed quarter, with subscriber ARPU growth maintained, partly driven by a triple play focus with pay TV and telephony adds much improved, but subscriber and broadband net adds unchanged. Cable revenue growth did slow from 3.6% to 3.1%, mainly due to the previous quarter’s net adds slowdown working through, and it is still growing the fastest of the big operators in a slow-growth market that still suffers from pricing pressure at the low end. Its network roll-out was slower than last year and only just above the weather-impacted previous quarter, which appears to be deliberate, and which may at least partly relate to an uncertain regulatory and commercial climate over ‘full fibre’ roll-out by others.  
  • New
    August 17, 2018

    Telstra FY18 earnings update: there’s a lot riding on 5G and Io [...]

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    On 16th August 2018, Telstra announced its FY18 earnings. While subscriber growth remained strong, it was not strong enough to offset ARPU declines. Telstra is betting its future on new initiatives (IoT) and network technologies (5G) to remain ahead in times of increasing competitive pressure in both fixed and mobile, however it faces competition from multiple other market participants.    
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  • New
    August 17, 2018

    Local TV: Five years after launch

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    ­­­­Although launched with an array of public service goals in mind, local TV’s flawed design has created a sector struggling to live up to its optimistic ambitions. Five years and £37 million of licence fee monies later, it is unclear what public service contributions are being made, or whether the scheme has provided value-for-money. A wholesale review of the sector is urgently needed. The vision of a “thriving and sustainable” sector has fallen flat. Most licences remain loss-making, with doubts as to their long-term viability. Those operating low-cost models seem best placed to survive.    
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  • New
    August 16, 2018

    Fairfax FY18 earnings update: digital remains the main driver

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    On 15th August 2018, Fairfax Media reported its last full year earnings as an independent news publisher. Digital assets remained the key driver of earnings while regional and community print continued its structural decline.        
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  • New
    August 15, 2018

    Consumer magazine publishing: Quality, not quantity

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    The decline in demand in print presents trading challenges, but the more immediate pressures are on the supply side, with a 15% rise in paper prices accentuating the burden of production and distribution costs.With digital advertising growing at stubbornly low rates, UK publishers need to return to their fundamental consumer-centred strengths by switching their strategic attention towards strong brands, curation, and community. The case for specialist, branded publishing media remains robust: products, services, and consumers are still best brought together in an authoritative, trusted media environment. Advertisers and agencies (and also media) have undervalued the effectiveness of those environments, and direct-to-consumer opportunities have been exaggerated by many brands.  
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  • August 14, 2018

    Down, but not out: Why there’s still life in terrestrial broadc [...]

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    Australian viewers are shifting irresistibly towards on-demand formats and IP-based video viewing. But is there still life in the terrestrial platform? And what does this mean for broadcasters and other industry participants? You could be forgiven for thinking that broadcast television is an anachronism, a relic of a time when audiences watched what was programmed, when it was programmed (more or less), and knew no better. Likewise, when every other headline lauds the benefits of online content delivery (though perhaps not so much at the moment given Optus’ recent World Cup travails – more on that later), it is surely a forgone conclusion that terrestrial broadcast is in terminal decline, following Blockbuster and Borders to the exits. However, our analysis suggests that while IP delivery is ascendant, there is still likely to be a significant and long-term role for terrestrial broadcast in Australia. In this report, we explore the factors driving the shift towards IP-based content delivery and argue why this shift does not spell the death of terrestrial broadcast, at least over the coming decade.Given this assessment, broadcasters and other industry participants need to carefully balance the expected ascendancy of IP with the potential longevity of the DTT platform as they place bets on the future of video entertainment.  
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  • August 9, 2018

    IoT Connectivity Technologies

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    The Internet of Things is becoming a pervasive part of our technology ecosystem. At its heart, communication and connectivity technologies enable IoT devices to interact and share information. There are a number of connectivity options available for IoT networks, each with specific characteristics which makes them suitable for specific applications and use cases.        
  • August 7, 2018

    BT Q1 2018/19 results: On target in the short term, making progre [...]

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    BT’s Q1 results were fairly robust given a number of one-offs hitting in the quarter, with revenue growth of -2% in line with full year guidance, EBITDA growth of 1% ahead of plan, and a number of metrics looking promising. Openreach’s newly announced volume discount plans offer advantages in growing high and higher speed volumes, infrastructure competitiveness and regulatory pricing pressure, while giving up little in external revenue, a win-win-win for BT at least. Full-fibre regulation appears to be slowly moving towards more clarity, but is still far too unclear to justify an accelerated investment, with critical issues being ducked (for now) by government and Ofcom alike.  
  • Free
    August 5, 2018

    Venture Advisory Monthly Wrap – July 2018

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    Venture Advisory provides a review of leading Australasian telco, media and technology companies on a monthly basis. This review considers amongst other things share price performers ( best and worst performers during the month), company news flow and ASX release updates and respective valuation trading multiples. The report is designed for busy executives and investment professionals that want to get a flash update and stay on top of key news flow.  If you wish to find out more or have an deeper enquiry please feel free to contact Nigel Pugh or Sarah Houghton.
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  • August 2, 2018

    Revenues down, guidance in the balance: Vodafone Q1 2018/19 resul [...]

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    EBITDA growth guidance of 1-5% is in question with group revenues flat to down. Counting AMAP growth in local currencies helps, as will cost control and roaming relief. Sustaining growth in Germany will be key; convergence-led ARPU declines could prove to be something Vodafone can’t afford. Vodafone’s UK business performed strongly in terms of mobile subscribers and fixed business financials, although revenue growth is still lacklustre. Profitability is expected to increase markedly, boosted 10ppts by roaming tariff relief. Although we view Iliad’s business model in Italy as unsustainable, it will nonetheless continue to put significant pressure on Vodafone Italy’s ARPU, which is almost three times that of Iliad’s package.  
  • August 1, 2018

    Hulu: Why Disney wants 21st Century Fox

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    Disney’s potential acquisition of certain 21st Century Fox assets is assuredly a play for further scale at a time when the company’s traditional domain, the family home, is increasingly welcoming services such as Netflix. The deal will consolidate Disney’s dominant film business. But also, the robustness of traditional television, especially 21CF’s cable interests, along with IP assets, will allow Disney to better control the inevitable viewer transition from linear to online and on-demand. Becoming the one media company with both a strong broadcast and online offering—the control of Hulu, a new Disney streaming service, ESPN+ and other add-on services—could grant Disney the ability to navigate the storm of change and dictate its own future.
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  • July 31, 2018

    Nine – Fairfax Merger Flash

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    The proposed A$4.2bn merger of Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media will produce one of the largest players in the Australian media landscape. This deal is on the  table thanks to the  change in media ownership laws that removed the ‘two out of three’ media ownership rule which prevented one business from owning a TV network, radio station and newspaper in the same market.        
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  • July 30, 2018

    Quality media, Ozone protection

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    The Telegraph, The Guardian and News UK (The Times and The Sun) will jointly invest in The Ozone Project to develop a state-of-the-art platform to sell their digital inventory. Ozone will add value to news digital inventory and seek to win back advertiser expenditure on Facebook and Google’s various properties, (indirectly) reigniting interest in placement next to quality news media content. Each JV participant operates a distinct business model, which risks friction, but this digital reboot is crucial. By 2020, Ozone could add circa £30 million per annum – not a trivial contribution to a national newspaper newsroom.  
  • July 27, 2018

    Australian Insurance lagging behind in the Insurtech space

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    Large Australian general insurance businesses have been slower than their global counterparts to invest in the digital and insurtech market. This report explores the investments that they have made and considers their contrasting approaches to those investments.    
  • July 26, 2018

    The drive for convergence: a value-destructive strategy

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    Many European telecoms operators are pursuing a fixed/mobile convergence strategy on the pretext that the addition of mobile reduces churn. We see no evidence of churn reduction from this strategy. Discounts required to encourage take-up of fixed/mobile services are often value-destructive, even before competitor reaction: a 10% bundle discount necessitates a 2ppt improvement in churn to wash its face economically. M&A premia on the basis of convergence synergies raise the hurdle even higher. Most UK operators offer very limited discounts on fixed/mobile bundles for now, sensibly focusing on enhanced services. Vodafone is the most aggressive, albeit less so than it is elsewhere. All UK players should hope that it stays this way.
  • July 25, 2018

    Unlimited mobile data – not quite all you can eat…

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    Mobile data usage in Australia is expected to increase 6x between 2017 to 2021, driven by advances in mobile technologies, increasing time spent on larger screen smartphones and rising video streaming on mobile. Unlimited mobile data plans have finally made their way to Australian shores, as Telcos look to counter the impact of rising competitive intensity.  
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  • July 24, 2018

    AV ad measurement: meretricious metrics

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    Rigour and consistency in AV ad metrics is proving elusive. A 10-second ad on YouTube, ITV1, All4, MailOnline, Sky AdSmart or Facebook is measured in as many different ways, often indifferently. It is tricky, costly or impossible for agencies/advertisers to comprehend the overall picture. By 2020 JIC-based BVOD ad impressions should be available from BARB all being well, giving BVOD a clear advantage over other premium online video measurement. Google/YouTube seems to be ‘getting’ JIC co-operation now and has begun to galvanise video ad measurement, but forceful advertiser intervention is needed to extend and improve standards. Otherwise, advertisers are simply funding a JIC-free jamboree, and they (with content media) will lose the most.
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  • July 20, 2018

    Focus back on ARPU: TalkTalk Group Q1 2018/19 results

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    TalkTalk had another strong quarter for broadband net adds, adding 80k versus its full year target of 150k+. All of this was due to strong wholesale, with retail net adds slightly negative, although in the market and seasonal context even this retail performance is quite respectable. On-net revenue growth improved strongly to around 4%, with its ARPU decline moderating to 2%, and ARPU should be helped further by price increases for existing and new customers alike in July. TalkTalk therefore looks well placed to hit full year targets, albeit with considerable help from its wholesale customers and some aggressive price increases. The focus back onto ARPU and away from (expensively) chasing retail subscriber growth is nonetheless to be applauded.  
  • July 18, 2018

    Video viewing forecasts to 2027: No channels and everything to wa [...]

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    Video consumption will continue to shift to on-demand driven by high quality content and a better user experience. Is live TV dead? Is Netflix the future of TV? We address these questions and more in this report on the future of video consumption in Australia  
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  • Free
    July 13, 2018

    5G Update July 2018 – auctions caps, potential vendor bans and [...]

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    Regulatory announcements regarding 5G will affect competition dynamics as the first 5G services are closer to launch. Internationally, there is excitement but also caution as the potential high price of providing 5G services will mean expected benefits such as unlimited mobile plans prove to be difficult to justify economically.
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  • TV platform forecasts to 2026: DTT and pay-lite set to grow
    TV platform forecasts to 2026: DTT and pay-lite set to grow
    July 13, 2018

    UK TV platform forecasts to 2022: stability rules

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    Despite significant changes in people’s video viewing habits over the last few years, the TV platform landscape has appeared to reach an equilibrium. We expect pay-TV to retain its utility status for most existing customers. At the margins, movement from Sky and Virgin Media to free-to-air or pay-lite services will be mitigated by population growth. The excitable growth phases for Netflix and Amazon are likely to be over, but they have carved out prominent positions in the market. Meanwhile, the uncomplicated allure of free TV remains strong for half the UK.
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  • July 12, 2018

    Virtual Reality in 2018: Ready Player None?

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    Yet another annual hype cycle in 2018 can’t hide a tepid consumer appetite for all VR platforms and heavy weather for the industry as a whole. The launch of Oculus GO, a standalone device at an attractive price, is a milestone for VR; nevertheless, even Facebook remains worried about reach and the state of the industry. Mobile AR is still a strategic focus for Google and Apple, producing diverse applications instead of just games, but new headsets from Microsoft and Magic Leap which promise advanced MR experiences have no launch dates.