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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.  
  • 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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