Focus Report

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  • New
    November 13, 2018

    Misplaced UK media spend in a booming identity economy: a brand o [...]

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    Most UK consumer spending, and the vast majority of its growth, is in categories which reflect who we are and where we feel we belong: lifestyle signifiers, passions, and social activities. Communities are at the heart of this growing economy, but ad spend on media which visibly targets us as members of a group in a relevant context has on average lagged behind in these categories. Advertisers recognising the power of emotionally and culturally relevant context in media, sponsorships or events, are finding an opportunity for building brands for the identity economy.
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  • November 2, 2018

    UK PSB solidarity and collaboration

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    The Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) are in the process of sliding from TV dominance to middling contenders, in terms of content expenditure and significance to viewers. There are calls from many sides that the PSBs need to collaborate in order to thrive, in an era when global debt-funded SVOD services are making all the running. This note explores what can realistically be achieved by PSB collaboration; where partnerships work best; and the areas best avoided.  
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  • October 30, 2018

    Neobanks – The David against banking Goliaths?

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    The banking industry has traditionally displayed inertia to major disruption and innovation. With the rise of neobanks in Europe and the UK, and the arrival of Australia’s first neobanks; Volt, Xinja and 86 400, this may be set to change as the younger generation of customers increasingly adopt more digital and customer-centric banking services.
  • October 25, 2018

    Disney, Fox, Sky and Comcast: future relationships

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    With Comcast’s acquisition of Sky confirmed and Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox on the path to regulatory clearance, how will the relationships of the various parties evolve?. Disney is betting on a standalone SVOD service in the US. However, its content deal with Sky in Europe is lucrative, and the performance of DisneyLife in the UK suggests its US strategy may not fit elsewhere. Sky’s relationships with Disney and Fox are crucial to its business. A joint pursuit to maximise returns from IP and distribution in Europe would be economically efficient for both Comcast/Sky and Disney/Fox.
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  • October 16, 2018

    Future Trends In Telecom and Video: Comms Day Melbourne Congress

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    On 10th October 2018, Venture Insight’s Managing Director Nigel Pugh, presented Venture’s recent Australian Mobile Survey results at the Comms Day Congress in Melbourne. The presentation includes Venture’s survey results and views on (i) consumer 5G awareness, migration and the battle for the early adopter market segment, (ii) consumer usage of mobile video and streaming services, (iii) 5G use case for mobile and telco media bundling, (iv) 5G use case for fixed wireless and (v) messaging usage versus traditional applications.
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  • October 11, 2018

    UK Esports & broadcasters: No game for old players

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    Drawn by its rapid growth and enviably youthful audience profile, incumbent broadcasters are paying increased attention to esports and its followers. Viewership of esports on UK broadcasters’ linear channels is low, with consumption on their online platforms likely the same. The market’s fragmented nature and global audience, along with the dominance of Twitch—and to a lesser extent YouTube—makes this unlikely to change. Broadcasters’ low-cost approach has primarily benefited competition organisers and games publishers. For broadcasters to create real revenues, massive upfront investment would be needed, with the risk of failure high.
  • October 5, 2018

    Apple – Price is the object: the iPhone and its services

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    With a carefully priced, strong line-up of iPhones, Apple will consolidate its main revenue line and core user base in the near term. The latter feeds into a services business showing impressive growth, but which is also marked by missed opportunities and mounting negative consequences on the rest of the online ecosystem. For media businesses, Apple’s impact is larger than ever, inevitably leading to new kinds of friction around commercial terms, App store policies and browser features.
  • October 4, 2018

    From promises to practice: AI in marketing at DMEXCO 2018

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    At DMEXCO, the top online advertising conference in continental Europe, a call for responsibility took centre stage rhetorically, but was hardly reflected on the conference floor. In contrast, concrete, on-the market applications of AI in advertising were no longer a rarity, with businesses from ad tech to consultancies demonstrating case studies in campaign management, consumer segmentation and personalisation. The industry is betting that the ePrivacy Regulation will be canned as policymakers fear Chinese and American dominance in AI, but the Chinese giants still had a confused marketing pitch at DMEXCO.
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  • October 3, 2018

    What Sky means for Comcast

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    Comcast’s £30.6 billion acquisition of Sky brings to an end the long-running ownership battle since Disney agreed to tender Fox’s 39% stake to Comcast, also ending the Murdoch Family Trust’s interest in Sky. Comcast’s US domestic cable and global NBCU media businesses complement Sky’s European operation. Sky’s telecoms business is likely to expand, while the TV side should benefit from NBCU’s global distribution might, with greater revenues generated by its original content. Fox’s long-running battle with UK regulators over the public interest dimensions of the proposed Sky acquisition has also ended. Plurality of media is preserved by Comcast’s undertakings to support Sky News for 10 years.
  • September 26, 2018

    Telcos and the battle for HDMI 1 – bringing everything under on [...]

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    The rise of SVOD platforms has driven a significant change in TV viewing habits with viewers having an unprecedented choice of content. The result is a fragmented video market which has made it increasingly complex for users to manage the various sources of content that are available.  
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  • September 19, 2018

    TPG FY18 earnings update: Steady, as merger approaches

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    On 18th September 2018, TPG announced its full FY18 financial results as an independent entity. Consumer performance has declined slightly, but TPG has extracted value out of its fibre assets in the corporate segment. Overall, the outlook for TPG is positive as it looks to utilise Vodafone’s mobile capabilities and branding to complement its own broadband strengths.
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  • September 18, 2018

    nbn Corporate Plan 2019 – challenging times ahead

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    nbn recently released its Corporate Plan 2019. Key performance targets were not met largely due to a delay in the HFC rollout, and as a result future forecasts were downgraded, and revenues deferred. As the rollout passes the halfway mark, nbn must focus on sustaining infrastructure quality, adopting a successful wholesale pricing strategy and address customer complaints issues.
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  • September 4, 2018

    When an Amazon TV show wins a Golden Globe, Amazon sells more sho [...]

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    Over the past two decades, Amazon has grown to become the largest ecommerce player in the world. But to think of it as just an online retailer would be underestimating its presence across multiple other services and markets. Within this, Amazon Video is fast emerging as a key pillar of Amazon’s overall business as it uses video to increase Prime memberships and improve user stickiness on the Amazon platform.

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  • 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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  • Free
    August 31, 2018

    Consumers lose while the market wins: TPG and Vodafone merger

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    TPG and Vodafone announced the merging of the two companies to form a third major telco which will challenge leaders Telstra and Optus. This move is positive news for the market as the likelihood of a mobile price war is expected to be reduced, stabilising ARPUs and margins.  

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  • August 30, 2018

    IoT in Transport – rise of the connected transport market

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    The Internet of Things is set to transform the transport industry by driving real-time connectivity between vehicles and transport infrastructure. In Australia, the transport IoT market is forecast to generate about A$5bn in revenue in the next five years.

  • 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.  
  • 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.  
  • 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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  • 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.  
  • 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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