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  • 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.
    Sector , .
  • 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.

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    October 13, 2017

    Venture Advisory September 2017 report: Markets and company updat [...]

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    Venture Advisory September 2017 report: Markets and company updates
    $900.00
  • 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.
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    September 13, 2017

    Venture Advisory August 2017 report: Markets and company updates

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    Venture Advisory August 2017 report: Markets and company updates
    $900.00
  • 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
  • September 5, 2017

    Network TEN – SOLD (probably)!

    A late twist in the Network TEN saga will see the Australian media asset most-likely owned by US media giant, CBS Corporation.
  • September 1, 2017

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q2 2017:Dead cat bounce [...]

    UK residential communications market revenue growth bounced up to 3.6% in Q2, a full 1.4ppt improvement on the previous quarter and reversing the downwards trend of the previous two quarters. However, this was entirely driven by price rises at BT and Sky, with the ongoing market volume growth decline continuing at pace. In competitive terms, TalkTalk was the only operator able to improve its broadband net adds on a year earlier, and Virgin Media was solid with only a modest decline, leaving BT and Sky shouldering the worst of the slowdown, albeit with neither company doing particularly poorly given the market context. New customer pricing remains tight, with Virgin Media in particular becoming more competitive. Looking forward, we expect volumes to continue to slow, and for the pricing boost enjoyed in Q2 to largely drop out next quarter, leading to a renewed revenue growth slowdown.
  • August 28, 2017

    Voicing concerns: virtual assistants and the media

    Voice, and the smart virtual assistants that power voice interfaces, will be a key transformative force over the next five years. Any business providing content or services via digital means is potentially affected, as these virtual assistants promise a single front end for all digital services, representing an extraordinary concentration of control over discovery, delivery and data. Media businesses will clearly be affected. But there is an opportunity for them right now to influence the assistant providers to their advantage, a window that will not stay open forever
  • August 21, 2017

    News, disinformation and Facebook

    Facebook content shares suggest that misinformation had broad reach during both US and UK political campaigns, but outright fake news was rare, particularly in the UK. Mis- and disinformation by both established and new publishers was distributed on Facebook, but monetisation took place predominantly off-site, and content was distributed by a wide range of search and social platforms. Facebook has acted to limit the reach of disinformation, but can’t and shouldn’t be expected to do so alone as digital news distribution touches on complex questions including information and democracy, media literacy and heterogeneous cultural and social norms
  • August 16, 2017

    Channel 4 relocation and dislocation

    Channel 4 revenues and content spend hit record levels in 2016, but the company faces a declining TV advertising market in 2017 due to a weaker economy and competition. The company’s ability to deliver its unique remit to audiences and producers is also under pressure from Government proposals to move staff outside London. Because Channel 4 can only commission, a move will not stimulate a creative cluster. Risks to the remit include the loss of talent and lower content spend due to higher opex
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  • August 16, 2017

    Virgin Media Q2 2017 results: Mixed quarter, but still the faste [...]

    Virgin Media’s subscriber figures in Q2 were a little mixed, with total homes and broadband figures weaker than a year earlier, but pay TV much stronger. ARPU growth fell though, largely due to price increase timing effects, leading to a modest dip in revenue growth. Project Lightning premises passed during the quarter rose to 127k, making at least some progress towards upping its run-rate after changing its roll-out management team and approach, the company declined to give indications of how this will evolve. The broader market context is still one of slowing broadband volume growth, and Virgin Media continues to take market share, being the fastest growing of the ‘big 4’ in both subscriber and RGU volumes
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    August 14, 2017

    Venture Advisory July 2017 report: Markets and company updates

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    Venture Advisory July 2017 report: Markets and company updates
    $900.00
  • August 9, 2017

    BT Q1 2017/18 results: Back to growth (for now at least)

    BT Group revenue returned to growth, at least temporarily, helped by overlapping price rises in consumer, one-off regulated price cuts on leased lines annualising out, and mobile handset sales improving. Regulatory news was unusually positive, with Openreach taking the initiative on FTTP, and BT winning an appeal against damaging leased line regulation, which may end up being significantly eased. BT continues to do well in consumer and struggle in business markets, with the ongoing deceleration in the consumer broadband market the main cloud on the horizon.
  • August 9, 2017

    Sky progress against headwinds: FY 2017 results

    Sky's full year results for fiscal 2017 are largely in line with company guidance on revenues, costs and synergies given on Investor Day last October, while the company expects further progress in fiscal 2018. Operating profits were badly hit by the massive increase of £629 million in annual payments to the Premier League, however, due to revenue and cost efficencies elsewhere, they fell by just £97 million, testifying to the overall strength of the Sky business. The results presentation revealed a clear sense of strategic direction, supported by much glossy and positive detail, yet revealed relatively little about the headwinds that Sky and other pay-TV operators now face, including the evident decline in Sky UK DTH subscriptions
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  • August 9, 2017

    Digital Advertising Trends Part 3: Native Advertising

    Native advertising is witnessing rapid growth within the digital advertising market, driven by changing consumer behaviour and increasing publisher demands. Will it be a possible antidote to a number of industry woes, or will native’s potential to deceive audiences outweigh any possible value it can provide?
  • August 4, 2017

    Facebook video: escaping the News Feed

    Facebook video consumption - and video ad revenue - is still concentrated on the mobile News Feed, limiting engagement growth and appeal to brand advertisers in the interim period before VR and AR go mainstream. Features like a dedicated video hub and ad breaks have seen limited deployment, likely as a result of lukewarm user reception, but Instagram Stories holds promise. To attract long-form viewing Facebook is cautiously investing in original TV content and sports rights, but is late to the game over audiences on connected TVs