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  • New
    TV platform forecasts to 2026: DTT and pay-lite set to grow
    TV platform forecasts to 2026: DTT and pay-lite set to grow
    December 12, 2017

    Children’s changing video habits:And implications for the conte [...]

    Children’s media use and attitudes have dramatically changed over the last few years, stemming from the rapid take-up of smartphones and tablets. Traditional TV continues to decline at the expense of newer video services such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon, with 43% of children aged 8-15 preferring YouTube videos over TV programmes.These online services offer content producers wider opportunities, but questions remain around the lack of regulation online, and the recent scandal around children’s safety on YouTube has heightened these concerns.
  • December 5, 2017

    Channel 5: three years on from Viacom’s acquisition

    Viacom’s 2014 acquisition of Channel 5 from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell occurred while the maelstrom encircling linear television viewing—sparked by the allure of SVODs and other digital distractions—was well underway. Nevertheless, with increased content spend, development of new titles and clarity as to its targeted audience, the broadcaster has increased its channel (and group) share amongst 16-34s and ABC1s, and has directed further benefits back to its owner's existing entertainment suite. Outside of the post-lunch and 8-10pm slots, however, work needs to be done: Channel 5’s BVOD proposition and social media offering leaves much to be desired, while the reliance on two major titles, Big Brother and Neighbours will be unsustainable in a post-linear world.
  • December 1, 2017

    UK TV set viewing trends

    BARB data indicates that the amount of average daily TV set viewing to linear TV channels is continuing to fall: the pie is shrinking. Just under 20% of TV set usage so far in 2017 is to non-linear activity, and viewing to SVOD services and YouTube is likely to account for most of this growth in 'unmatched' viewing. The pie is shrinking faster amongst younger audiences: just under one third of TV set usage is 'unmatched' now for 16-34s. However 35+ unmatched use is growing at a faster rate than 16-34 unmatched use in 2017. Within this smaller pie, the PSB channels continue to hold share of viewing against pay channels. Within the PSBs, ITV and the ITV digital channel family have gained most share so far this year, although BBC1 is having a strong autumn in spite of the loss of Great British Bake Off to C4.
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  • November 24, 2017

    TalkTalk Group Q2 2017/18 results: Growth at a cost

    TalkTalk continued to maintain positive broadband net adds in Q2 despite increased churn, and its on-net revenue growth turned positive as well, helped by the turnaround in subscriber growth trends and an overlapping price increase implemented during the quarter. The return to growth is taking its toll in marketing costs however, and the company is now guiding to a full year ‘headline’ EBITDA at the lower end of its previous given range, and this is after redefining ‘headline’ to exclude losses from its winding-down mobile business. Even this looks challenging given the cost trends in the first half of the year. The company’s new strategy of subscriber growth and focusing on the basics is probably the right one, but it is proving tough to implement in a slowing and increasingly competitive market
  • November 20, 2017

    Virgin Media Q3 2017 results: Building acceleration

    Virgin Media’s subscriber figures were flat on the prior year quarter, a robust performance in a slowing and increasingly competitive market, with ARPU growth still weak but at least not worsening. Project Lightning had another successful quarter, accelerating strongly and passing an additional 147k premises, which bodes well for subscriber acceleration into 2018. A recently implemented price increase should boost ARPU growth next quarter, on the basis that it successfully limits the retention discounting that characterised last year’s price increase, but such a boost will be limited by wider market pricing pressures
  • November 17, 2017

    Altice in crisis as formulaic model flounders in France

    The telecoms group has suffered a dramatic stock market correction following its Q3 results, as investors woke up to the continuous decline of its main unit, France’s SFR – leading its CEO to resign. Closure of a tax loophole will further erode SFR’s revenues by up to 4% in 2018. Despite being France’s largest fibre network, SFR’s broadband market share dropped 4ppts over three years. Notwithstanding grandstands on ‘convergence’ and expensive rights acquisitions, it is losing pay-TV subscribers – it looks unlikely to challenge Vivendi’s Canal+ in next year’s Ligue 1 auction. The mobile performance is notably better with the subscriber count stabilised and ARPU rising. Besides sustaining network deployments, to turn around SFR Altice needs to abandon short term fixes, invest in its workforce and customer service, and differentiate through valuable innovation – in other words the opposite of the model followed so far
  • November 15, 2017

    Classifieds Marketing Outlook: All Segments

    The Online Classifieds market recorded robust growth of 18.3% between 2014 and 2016, with Real Estate Classifieds witnessing a surge of 20.5%. This was followed by Employment Classifieds and Auto Classifieds with 17.4% and 13.6%, respectively. Growth in the overall Classifieds segment is expected to slow to 5.6% between CY17 and CY21. The CAGR for all three major segments is estimated to slow to 5–6%. We expect more entrants to try and disrupt the market with unique business models. Whether they succeed will depend on the strength of the incumbents and the type of Online Classifieds segment. In addition to doubling down on their mobile strategy, players in the Online Classifieds segment are also transforming themselves to leverage synergy and become more valuable to their customers. We expect to witness more acquisitions and product expansions as incumbents try to leverage their dominance to enter new areas in the value chain.
  • November 13, 2017

    BT Q2 2017/18 results: Unresolved issues

    BT Group revenue growth dipped to -1.5% from an instance of rare modest positive growth in the previous quarter, albeit mostly due to a predicted price timing effect in Consumer and revenue growth predictably going from bad to worse in Global Services. The bright spots were continued strong 4% revenue growth at EE, with an acceleration in mobile-related revenue also helping other divisions, and strong growth of 5% in external revenues at Openreach driven by accelerating fibre adoption by competitor customers. A number of very important regulatory/policy/legal issues remain unresolved, including 5G spectrum auction rules, leased line pricing, FTTC pricing and FTTP roll-out rules, but without a number of these going BT’s way the outlook remains tough for at least the next 18 months
  • November 13, 2017

    PSB: Working with the frenemy

    Public service broadcasting (PSB) and the entire unique broadcasting ecosystem face huge challenges from global tech giants with deep pockets, data insights and scant regard for PSB prominence. All three pillars of the PSB model are threatened: content supply, distribution and advertising. The further threat of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) spectrum being reduced or turned off in c.2030 is real and PSBs must have a migration path in place. PSBs can counter some challenges through increased investment in content relevant to the UK consumer. But, recognising the aligned interests with pay-TV platforms of Sky and Virgin Media, collaboration between the parties is integral to the long-term future of PSB
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  • November 8, 2017

    Premier League: winner’s curse

    The Premier league (PL) will be hoping for another huge increase in rights payments in the upcoming auction for the three seasons starting 2019/20. Aggressive competition between BT Sport and Sky has led to hyperinflation of most premium sports rights. Sport now accounts for two thirds of multichannel content spend, but only 8% of its viewing. BT’s current financial position makes it difficult to justify expansion or further hyperinflation of its PL rights portfolio, but it cannot withdraw completely
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  • November 2, 2017

    Automotive Marketing Outlook: 2017

    The Australian car market is growing at a nominal rate and is expected to be unaffected by the winding up of local car production. Car sales have reached records levels, though the growth going forward will not be as fast as it was previously. Although new car sales are on the rise, they continue to be outpaced by used car sales. The CommSec car affordability index has hit the highest level since 1976, and vehicle sales are expected to reach 1.2m by 2023. Auto advertising is a major contributor to advertising expenditure. Auto advertising contributes 18% to total display advertising and 16% to the classifieds market. Vehicle advertising expenditure totalled A$689mn in 2016 and is expected to grow 21.3% to A$835mn in 2017. Carsales continues to be the dominant player in the online marketplace for cars. The company has over half of all car listings, and was the key beneficiary of the print to online shift. Although dealerships are expected to survive the closure of domestic production, they are facing a new threat in the form of digital disruption. New players are selling new and used cars online at relatively lower prices. Dealers would be required to incorporate digital into their value proposition in order to sustain their business.
  • October 30, 2017

    Google’s golden age of search

    Google has beaten Facebook in mobile revenue growth, and competes successfully in retail search with Amazon. Intelligent user interfaces based on machine learning have become a core competitive strength, with social and messaging the main remaining weak points. Rising political pressure due to Google’s growing scale and influence is now a bigger concern than commercial risk, as the threat of regulatory intervention limits strategic options in partnerships, M&A and integration.
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  • October 26, 2017

    Supply of news in the UK

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    Since Communications Act 2003, the number of national news outlets supplied on broadcast and in print has been stable. Adoption of multi-channel TV, supported by Freeview, has augmented the number of homes accessing on a free-to-air basis five "all news" channels (BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, CNN, Russia Today), with many more all news channels served on pay-TV platforms. Original news production has been transformed by digital tools and Twitter occupies the centre of the journalism ecosystem. Jobs devoted to news production are in recovery, although mask a decline in newspapers to the benefit of online mainly. Expansion of fixed-line broadband and, more recently, consumer adoption of mobile broadband and connected devices, have made the internet a platform for the supply of and consumption of all news services. Broadcasters serve eponymous text-based websites, all newspapers serve websites, and native news outlets have entered the market due to low barriers to entry. Prominent native brands in the political genre include Buzzfeed, HuffPost and Politico
  • October 23, 2017

    21CF/Sky transaction heads to the CMA

    21CF’s bid for 100% ownership of Sky has been referred for a Phase 2 investigation to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will decide by 6 March 2018. Third parties Avaaz and Ed Miliband MP complain of the influence of the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) and family members over the UK’s news agenda and political process. A remedy could insulate Sky News from this influence. The offer of a Sky News Editorial Board at Phase 1 was refused. Third parties will ensure the debate in Phase 2 is very lively.
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  • Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    October 20, 2017

    US ISPs hail the end of online privacy rules

    The Federal Communications Commission’s Privacy Order (FCC) was overturned by the Senate, clearing the way for ISPs to ramp up consumer data-driven advertising revenue. While Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising in the US as in other markets, the US is alone in removing regulatory barriers to ISPs taking a piece of the pie. US ISPs now have a self-regulatory regime for consumer rights on transparency, security and data breaches; but in the UK and EU, privacy advocates prefer enforceable rights
  • October 17, 2017

    Sky Q1 2017/18 results: Solid quarter, but challenges remain

    Sky made a strong start to fiscal 2018, with improved customer net adds across each of its markets versus the previous quarter, as well as group revenue growth at 5%. Operating profits switched back to growth, after the negative Premier League effect annualised out, with it now settled at the full cost of £1.4 billion per year. EBITDA growth hit 11%, or 15% excluding the effect of UK mobile and the Spanish OTT launch. Against the backdrop of continued uncertainty around the UK advertising market, attention has turned to the upcoming Premier League auction, though we think it unlikely that digital players will cause disruption
  • 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
  • October 16, 2017

    Consumer Magazine Publishing Part Two: The Power of Brands and In [...]

    In a challenging digital marketplace, publishers face a crisis of purpose. To navigate the turbulent seas, publishers must invest more in their brands and the industry as a whole must innovate. Consumer engagement, previously held by magazines, has sailed to social media where young influencers across Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat challenge established norms of content discovery and curation. Magazines are more heterogeneous than is commonly assumed, and strength lies in a distinctive brand. To right the course, we recommend the industry carry out bespoke reviews that outline brand-specific audiences, use-cases and revenue solutions, and exploit systematic audience data to optimise all brand manifestations - with enhanced marketing income a secondary benefit.

  • October 10, 2017

    Australian’s long-awaited media reforms pass

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    In September the Australian Government voted in favour of the comprehensive package of media reforms. Following three months of horse trading between the major and independent parties the reforms passed with only minor and uncontroversial changes to those originally proposed by the Liberal Party.
  • October 6, 2017

    Consumer Magazine Publishing Part One: The Power of Brands and In [...]

    Evidence is mounting that the consumer magazine market is reaching an existential threshold. In this two-part overview of the UK consumer magazine marketplace we are advocating three industry-wide actions. Our conclusion is that brands investing in a unique consumer proposition will be able to outperform the broad industry decline, which, in turn, will accelerate for those brands that under-invest
  • September 29, 2017

    Augmented reality: Apple’s next 10-year bet

    Through innovations in processing, connectivity and cameras, Apple’s new device lineup dispels fears that the importance of integrated, profitable mobile hardware is in terminal decline. With the broadest range of iPhone price points ever, Apple is confidently balancing between profits and growing the valuable installed base. Apple’s long way to an AR future is now well paved, but a weakness in mapping could prove to be an Achilles heel
  • September 25, 2017

    Netflix’s edge over broadcasters

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    The development and utilisation of streaming technologies has allowed major SVODs, such as Netflix and Amazon, to attain a growing proportion of video viewing. However, tech is just one of the advantages held by these services: plateauing content expenditure, the inability to retain IP and inconsistent regulatory regimes hamper the efforts of the UK’s public service broadcasters. The localised nature of audience tastes, as well as the diversity of PSB offerings remain a bulwark to aid in the retention of relevance but content spend cannot lag
  • September 15, 2017

    Global recorded music forecasts 2017-21

    For the second consecutive year, the global recorded music industry body IFPI reported rising trade revenues, growing 5.9% to reach $15.6 billion in 2016. Our forecasts supplement IFPI’s trade revenue data with richer national-level consumer expenditure data from local bodies in core markets, and project CAGR of 2.3% to 2021, tapering off as streaming approaches maturity. This fairly modest topline growth for global recorded music streaming trade revenues is the product of our judgement that the marketplace remains awash with free music. Streaming trade revenue growth could be higher still if the industry finds a solution to piracy through technological or regulatory means, obviating the need for the ad-funded compromise.
  • Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    September 8, 2017

    Internet Trends H1 2017: Fruits of the mobile revolution

    With smartphones in the pockets of 3/4 of the UK population, and accounting for over half of all online minutes, the mobile revolution is in its final stages, allowing us to survey its impact. As the number of social media users continues growing, untapped older demographics and Instagram help the Facebook suite of apps grow in the UK, but Snapchat is the social media app of choice for UK teens. News publishers face issues with brand attribution as social media platforms overtake search as the main news aggregators online, while small UK video publishers have become unlikely winners in a global market for soft news, infotainment and gags that dominate social video