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  • New
    December 2, 2019

    Champions League senses end of growth cycle

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    With pay-TV competition faltering, UEFA is aiming to stimulate demand for 2021-24 TV rights with early auctions, a possible relaunch of FTA broadcasts, and even, unrealistically, by considering an online service of its own. In the recently completed UK auction, facing no major threat from Sky, BT kept the rights at an almost flat price – probably missing a cost saving opportunity. In the upcoming auctions on the Continent, with former buyers such as SFR, Mediaset and Vodafone having cut back on premium sports, the major platforms’ bids will probably be unchallenged

  • November 27, 2019

    Australia Out-of-Home Market Outlook

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    The Australian Out-of-Home (OoH) market has been growing continuously for the past eight years at a CAGR of about 9%. Going forward, we expect the OoH market to grow at a 5.4% CAGR through to 2023. This growth will be primarily driven by growth of Digital Out-of-Home, which will be further driven by improving programmatic advertising and new and innovative audience targeting solutions. We forecast that Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) will grow at a 14.3% CAGR from 2018 to 2023, reaching A$869mn by 2023 and representing 76.5% of the overall OOH advertising expenditure, while Physical OOH will decline at a -9.2% CAGR from 2018 to 2023, reaching A$275mn by 2023 and representing only 23.5% of  overall OOH revenues.

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  • November 26, 2019

    Local UK media at a crossroads: from incremental to radical innov [...]

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    Local newspapers are often identified as the most disrupted of all media. The impact of declining news media has widespread implications: for the healthy functioning of democracy, community and social cohesion as well as for local business and trade. In this report we look briefly at the existential state of local news media, and spell out a radical new approach that would require a complete rethink of local journalism and its commercial and operating models. We reimagine local media as a start-up would, rather than as incumbents with expensive models to maintain.
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  • November 25, 2019

    Sky UK Q3 2019 results: balanced, but more to come?

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    While Sky’s overall revenues continue to rise, Q3’s growth was hampered by a significant fall in advertising revenue and to a lesser extent a slowdown in content sales. Underlying EBITDA growth was in the mid-teens. Next quarter, Sky will continue to benefit from lower Premier League rights costs versus last season, and profit appears on track to meet full year guidance. Q3 saw a rare decline in Sky’s total number of customers due to the conclusion of Game of Thrones. Sky clearly understands the value of unique content—recently extending its HBO deal. In our view, this was essential, since without a distribution deal for Disney+ (launching in the UK in March) Sky would lose Disney’s alluring content.

  • November 20, 2019

    Consumer magazine publishing in the UK

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    Long-known market trends have become even more accentuated: circulation decline is -13% (consumer spend decline is c. -3%); print advertising is down -12%, with online advertising spend up a mere 1% (see pages 3, 11)

  • FLASH – SVOD first battle won, but watch the data
    November 18, 2019

    Free video! Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock in a rush for [...]

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    New SVOD entrants are prioritising reach over revenue in the US with extensive ‘free’ offers, including Apple TV+ (to hardware buyers), Disney+ (to Verizon customers), HBO Max (to HBO subscribers) and Comcast’s Peacock (to basic cable homes). This is the latest development in an unfolding global story of partnerships, continuing on from multiple Netflix and Amazon distribution deals with platforms, bringing benefits to both parties. In Europe, Sky faces price pressure, but it has secured its HBO partnership and can now talk to Disney from a position of strength.
  • November 14, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Baidu

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    Baidu, often referred to as “China’s Google”, is embarking on a new journey to pursue growth outside its core search and advertising business. That’s vital as the online advertising business is maturing, yet Baidu continues to rely heavily on it (80% of 2017 revenues).
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  • Magazine stand
    Magazine stand
    November 12, 2019

    UK’s TI Media goes back to the Future

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    Specialist publisher Future has offered £140m for generalist TI Media’s 41 brands, which will give Future 220 global brands upon expected completion in Spring 2020. The acquisition, which includes wholesaler Marketforce, is contingent upon shareholder and CMA approval. Future is the darling of publisher stocks, pursuing an energetic growth and scale strategy, and diversifying revenues through digital and experience innovation. How Future’s culture of experimentation and optimisation will work with TI Media’s more general portfolio is an open question. Only time will tell if the overall portfolio balance will work.
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  • November 11, 2019

    UK’s BT: Bumps on the road to recovery

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    BT suffered a weak Q2 with revenue and (particularly) EBITDA declines accelerating, but this was mainly down to timing (particularly at Openreach, which will likely recover in Q3), with the company confident in maintaining full year expectations. BT’s fixed broadband business enjoyed some recovery as the pricing environment improves, but will suffer another price timing bump next quarter, and its mobile business is suffering from a tough market environment that is unlikely to improve in the short term. The company is busy re-branding, re-positioning and transforming, but the outlook for football rights costs and fibre roll-out regulation will dominate in the short term, and further bumps (such as the Virgin MVNO contract loss) may emerge.
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  • November 8, 2019

    Streaming wars and the future of Foxtel

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    Up until a few years ago, Foxtel has enjoyed an uninterrupted run as the monopoly premium Pay TV provider in Australia. But the arrival of international SVOD players and the rise of local challengers has made a dent in Foxtel’s business.We believe the challenges that Foxtel faces are structural in nature and Foxtel could find it tough to recover lost ground.
  • November 6, 2019

    Champions League rights auction: BT’s cost-cutting opportunity

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    Champions League UK TV rights, at £394m/season, appear to have reached a ceiling, with costs on a per match basis now comparable to the more-desirable Premier League. In the imminent auction, current rightsholder BT is the clear frontrunner. Potential competitors appear reluctant: Sky Sports has thrived since losing the rights in 2015, and no other players can reasonably compete at this spend. This presents BT with a golden opportunity to rein in costs, with a view to moving BT Sport towards breakeven at an important time for the wider business, considering the financial pressure it is facing

  • November 4, 2019

    Peak football revenues and post-boom scenarios

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    Broadcast licensing revenues for football are likely to be ex-growth in the top five markets in Europe, with some limited upside from sponsorship and out-of-Europe rights. The broadcast revenue boom stoked the rise of super clubs with global fan bases, feeding player transfer valuations, and a potential downturn of the latter could magnify the impact of the revenue decline. The leagues in Italy, France and Spain are more exposed to the risks of broadcast licensing revenue decline, while the Premier League’s model looks robust

  • October 30, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Alphabet

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    Alphabet is out to prove that it is more than just an advertising business. That’s important as the company remains heavily exposed to ads, which accounted for about 86% of 2017 revenues. Yet, Alphabet is facing new competition in ads from Amazon, plus ongoing regulatory scrutiny in Europe. Fortunately the company is generating incredible amounts of cash each quarter, and now has just under $102B in cash & stocks on hand. That has allowed the company to invest heavily in its network, with capex amounting to a telco-like 17.2% of revenues over the last four quarters. Alphabet also spends another ~15% of revenues on R&D. The goal of these investments is help the company enter (or create) new markets, with less ad-dependent business models. Alphabet’s vast network infra supports the company’s cloud computing and device portfolio, as well as AI-based projects in transportation (Waymo), logistics (Project Wing), and healthcare (Verily). As a result, Alphabet’s network, IT & software capex has soared, to $8.2B over the 4Q17-3Q18 period (from $4.1B the year prior).
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  • October 28, 2019

    UK SVOD subscriber trends: who is buying and how many subs

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    With a raft of new streaming services about to hit, there remains a question as to the appetite for multiple subscriptions. Pay-TV subscribers continue to be more likely to take SVOD services—especially when they are distributed on their set-top boxes—however the average number of services per household is well below one. Greater variety and quality of services will likely increase the average number of subscriptions but given the siloing nature of these services, Netflix’s incumbency, library and distribution are its strength; new entrants will battle for a supplementary role
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  • October 24, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Alibaba

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    Alibaba, once viewed as China’s answer to Amazon, has grown into a giant since its inception in 1999. Though still just about a fifth of Amazon’s size (by revenues), Alibaba has grown rapidly and outshines Amazon in some areas. Its scale in e-commerce is impressive: (i) Alibaba ships 12 million packages a day, 4x of Amazon; and, (ii) Alibaba’s “Singles Day” has become the world’s biggest shopping event. Alibaba has invested heavily in network infrastructure to support its businesses, not just e-commerce but also cloud computing, audio/video streaming, and devices. As a result, Alibaba’s network-related demand has soared in the recent times. It now accounts for over 5% of global webscale network/IT capex, from about 1% in 2012. Alibaba’s network spend share will continue to grow, but will be reshaped by the ongoing US-China trade war.
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  • October 22, 2019

    Programmatic OOH: Coming soon to a billboard near you?

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    Programmatic advertising in OOH is still a new concept in Australia and the groundwork in terms of digitisation and audience measurement is still being laid. While, many OOH players have introduced their version of programmatic advertising, the risk of having a fragmented market with multiple proprietary systems means that programmatic OOH may fail to take off. Outdoor, or out-of-home, advertising is distinct from other forms of advertising. It is highly visible, often very large, and placed in heavily trafficked areas in order to attract as many viewers as possible. Moreover, unlike television, radio, print, internet, and mail advertising, outdoor advertising cannot be turned off, put away or easily avoided. Traditionally OOH was mostly a real estate or location play but with digitisation, it’s now becoming increasingly focused on audience targeting and improving engagement. Industry players are looking to bring additional functionality, formatting and effectiveness to advertisers beyond just digitising existing sites, along with investing in improving measurement technology to help build further advertiser confidence in out-of-home. In particular, programmatic advertising which has transformed the online advertising space could play an important role in the growth of the OOH market going forward. In this report, we explore what programmatic advertising is and the impact it could have on the OOH market. We also look at the key challenges that OOH players face and the risk of Google, a global leader in programmatic advertising, making an entry into the OOH market.
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  • October 17, 2019

    Global & Australian gaming market trends – mobile, cloud a [...]

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    Mobile gaming is now the dominant driver in the global gaming market accounting for more revenue than console and PC combined and the majority of all growth. This shift has been enabled by improvements to internet infrastructure, from stronger mobile networks to faster wireline bandwidth to better cloud-based delivery models; however, there hasn’t been a significant amount of direct monetisation by telcos, as they have only dipped their toes, at best, into this new source of demand.
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  • October 16, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Amazon

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    Amazon has evolved leaps and bounds since its creation. From an online bookstore more than two decades ago, it has become a global internet giant that relies heavily on scale and network infrastructure for its diverse businesses. At present, the company’s businesses beyond e-commerce include physical stores, cloud computing, audio/video streaming, advertising, and devices – all of which have millions of customers/users serviced by a strong network infrastructure. The sheer growth across its businesses in the recent years has primed Amazon as one of the leading operators in the network space. Naturally, to cope up with its ever increasing network-related demand, the company is not just spending massively to shore up its infrastructure through vendor partnerships but could be mulling to build some on its own, especially on the hardware side. Below are a few key highlights from the report: As a percentage of revenues, Amazon spends more on R&D than capex, which is typical of WNOs. The gap between the two spending, however, is somewhat shrinking which goes to show Amazon’s greater efforts in building datacenters and warehouses in the recent years. Amazon also emerged as the top R&D spender among WNOs over the past two years, due to Prime Video. Amazon currently manufactures some of the network components such as routers, chips, network interface cards, and network gears to meet the growing needs of its cloud business (AWS). The internet giant, known for disruption, could foray into the enterprise networking market and sell its own custom-made hardware by 2020, taking the incumbent network vendors head-on. However, Amazon is also creating a host of new opportunities for network vendors, as it looks to disrupt different industries such as automotive (driverless cars) and healthcare (online pharmacy and heart-rate detection device), both requiring a strong network infrastructure to enable data transfers and communication between sensors and components.
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  • October 14, 2019

    Women’s sport: inching towards the UK media mainstream

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    Media coverage of women’s sport escalated this summer thanks to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which ignited national interest. The Lionesses attracted an exceptional peak TV audience of 11.8 million for England’s semi-final match against the USA. Still, coverage of women's sport remains minimal outside of major events: only 4% of printed sports articles reference female athletes. Quality press are leading the way—the launch of Telegraph Women’s Sport being the prime example—but the popular press are yet to follow. Freely-accessible coverage will generate greater interest and audiences for women’s sport, but continuous investment from all media will be needed to fulfil its potential.
  • October 10, 2019

    UK BVOD advertising: on-demand in demand

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    Broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) advertising is in demand with an £89m rise in 2018 spend to £391m, and is predicted to double within the next six years. The rise of on-demand viewing has created a scaled advertising proposition with a strong 16-34 profile – a relief for both broadcasters and advertisers, given the long-term decline in linear TV impacts for younger audiences. Big challenges remain: linear TV ad loads look excessive in on-demand, BVOD CPTs can be off-puttingly high, and measurement is still unresolved. BVOD is a welcome bright spot which faces online video competition head-on, but it won’t be able to turn broadcasters’ fortunes around alone
  • September 25, 2019

    eSports and 5G – can telcos cash in…

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    The value of the eSports market is growing rapidly with both viewers and the prize money at stake beginning to rival that of traditional sports. With 5G’s ultra-fast data speeds and minimal latencies, there is an opportunity for telcos to carve a piece of this growing market. eSports could therefore emerge as an important use case as telcos look at extracting a revenue premium from their 5G networks. eSports or electronic sports commonly refers to multi-player video games played competitively. Fans can watch professional gamers compete or play themselves. Professional level gamers compete in tournaments, which are hosted at arenas or stadiums in front of a live audience. Games are often broadcast live and many more global eSports fans watch these tournaments remotely by streaming them online. Some of the most notable tournaments include League of Legends, The International, Evolution Championship Series and the Intel Extreme Masters. Most major competitions are generally held in South Korea, Europe, USA and China however eSports tournaments are starting to gain traction across the globe. In the past few years, eSports has seen significant changes from being played in small groups, to occupying world-class stadiums which accommodate tens of thousands of fans, with many more viewers online. The value of the eSports market is growing rapidly with both viewers and the prize money at stake rivalling that of traditional sports. As the first digitally-native sport, eSports is primarily streamed online and is most popular with younger male audiences. With similar properties to traditional sport, the opportunity to engage with these hard-to-reach millennials is appealing to advertisers, traditional broadcasters and traditional sports teams alike. But while eSports viewership is growing, Australian broadcasters have had limited success which has left the door open for Australian telcos to enter this space. Furthermore, the rise of 5G could alter the eSports landscape with higher data speeds, lower latencies and next gen AR and VR gaming platforms. Venture Insights conducted a mobile consumer survey focused on consumers and their eSports viewing and playing habits. In this report, we look at the results from our survey, why and how 5G could play a role in the rise of eSports, the role that telcos could play and global trends on 5G and eSports.
  • September 17, 2019

    Cut-price iPhones: Apple’s innovative approach

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    Apple’s iPhone launch event was relatively light on iPhone, which shared the stage with games, TV, Watch, iPad and retail announcements. This reflects Apple’s developing priorities: as iPhone sales soften, it needs to find new ways to extract value from the wealthy user base it has spent a decade nurturing. Apple has embraced this new strategy, offering a range of cheaper points of entry into its ecosystem, making the lost profits back on accessories or content subscriptions
  • Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    September 16, 2019

    Spotify’s podcast play

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    Spotify is investing heavily in podcasting through acquisitions, original content and product innovation. It is under pressure to reduce dependence on record labels, whose power makes generating large profit margins difficult. Podcasts promise a non-music content genre where Spotify can capture more value. Secondary benefits abound: Spotify can take an active and lucrative role in modernising online audio advertising, it can solve the podcast discovery problem, and engagement across more forms of audio will improve retention
  • September 12, 2019

    Stakeholder management – where to from here?

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    The Business Roundtable (United States), has recently revised its ‘Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation’ and walks away from the age old ‘shareholder primacy’ mantra. This new Statement re-positions the purpose of the corporation to include a focus on all stakeholders, rather than placing shareholders above all others. We believe this represents a significant symbolic turning point and will commence the process towards a new dissertation for the ‘Modern Corporation,’ apt for living in the post-industrial age. Our report revisits this age-old debate and provides insights for technology companies living in the 21st century.