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  • February 6, 2017

    Enterprise cloud on the horizon

    Enterprise cloud computing democratises access to IT capacity ranging from specialised software to platforms to infrastructure, transforming cost structures in sectors like media and retail. Cloud enables unprecedented scalability of bandwidth for digital media services like Pokémon Go and Netflix, while also hosting the back-end for advertisers and retailers. As the industry consolidates quickly, intense competition among Amazon, Microsoft and Google is delivering value to customers and boosting adoption.

  • February 3, 2017

    Sky on track: H1 2017 results

    Sky H1 2017 results are broadly in line with company guidance on revenues, costs and synergies given at the 2016 Investor Day. The core focus since the formation of European Sky in November 2014 has been investment for growth in all sectors of the business (i.e. retail products, content offers and customer service), an approach that is beginning to bear fruit. Sky Italy had a notably “excellent” start to the year. Most eye-catching in the results release was the planned launch in fiscal 2018 of an IP alternative to Sky’s DTH service. That speaks volumes about the know-how Sky has accumulated over the last ten years in meeting customer demands and building customer relationships.

  • January 27, 2017

    Netflix at 10: still growing, still spending

    Netflix celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its streaming service by posting its largest quarterly rate of subscriber growth, adding just over 7m new subscribers in Q4 2016, smashing its own forecast for the period of 5.2m.

    5.12m of the new subscribers were for its international services, attributed to acceptance of its growing suite of English language original programs. But growth is just as likely related to the bolstering of overseas offerings with acquired programming, after launching worldwide with relatively small libraries.

    While re-establishing confidence after a period of doubt when missing targets in Q2, challenges await; most notably concerns around net neutrality, diversifying content genres, and the open question as to how effectively original programming will be able to carry the service.

  • January 13, 2017

    Music subscription streaming 2017

    Streaming is now mainstream and we predict 113% growth in expenditure on subscriptions for 2015-18 in the top four markets (US, UK, Germany and France).

    Free vs paid-for streaming is the central question for the music ecosystem: free yields fractions of pennies, making subscription the only credible business model.

    Market leader Spotify is facing competition from tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google, with deep pockets, for whom content is a pawn in a larger game.

  • December 20, 2016

    Amazon ready for global Prime time

    Amazon Prime Video has recently launched in over 200 countries, including Australia and New Zealand. We discuss the impact of this launch to the subscription Video-on-Demand market within Australia, and consider the ongoing impact into the future, including the rise of Amazon retail services within Australia.
  • December 13, 2016

    Internet Trends – Consumer behaviours driving market trends

    As smartphone ownership nears saturation in almost all consumer groups, the base for the UK digital economy is widening: media consumption continues to move to connected devices and use of consumer services on mobile grows. Ecommerce is now responsible for 75% of retail growth, steady even during periods of decline for the overall market. Google and Facebook take up almost 90% of gross online advertising growth this year, and the ecommerce and mobile service markets show early signs of platform concentration.
  • December 12, 2016

    Advertising ups and downs in 2017

    Brexit has not noticeably depressed advertising spend in 2016, as consumer spend is buoyant, fueled by borrowing and lower savings. Yet, businesses are being cautious as uncertainty weighs on the future rules of trade with the EU. We forecast total advertising spend to rise by 0.6% at constant prices in 2017, almost entirely due to digital growth, which is expanding the total advertising market. Its share has soared from 1% in 2000 and looks likely to hit 50% in 2017. Up to now digital growth has always been at the expense of print and not television, but this could just be changing as mobile increasingly holds centre stage for the consumer.

  • December 9, 2016

    Auto classified marketplace: From lifestyle to driverless future

    This is the third and final report in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on used cars, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment outlook [2016-116] and Property classified marketplace [2016-119]. Auto Trader continues to dominate online auto listings, accounting for 85% of UK revenues in 2015 by our estimates as total UK online auto spend increased 13%.  We believe that growth will slow to -7% this year and low single digits in 2017/18 as Brexit bites and consumer confidence retreats, although used and new car sales have so far remained buoyant since the vote. In common with the other classified verticals we see a period of sustained innovation on the horizon which will challenge the existing market leaders; data provision rather than audience listings will likely become the main source of value to advertisers while further out the advent of autonomous vehicles promises to disrupt the established structure of the entire auto industry.
  • December 5, 2016

    Property classified marketplace

    This is the second of three reports in our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds), focused on property, and follows Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment classified outlook [2016-116]. Stamp duty reforms and the impact of the Brexit referendum triggered a -10% fall in UK residential property sales between April and October 2016 and the consensus among estate agents and commentators is that the property slowdown will continue into 2016/17 as buyer confidence recedes. As a result, we expect UK property classified advertising to slip into decline in 2016/17 driven by losses in print, while online advertising growth will slow to low single digitsIn the online market, while Rightmove continues to deliver outstanding financial results from its simple listings model, we believe that a new phase of innovation is imminent. Consumers are demanding enhanced services through data and personalisation, and there is clear potential for virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence to disrupt the market in the longer term.  
  • December 2, 2016

    Brexit impact on UK-EU trade in creative services

    Brexit poses direct risks to exports to the Continent of regulated services, such as audiovisual (AV) media services, if the UK ceases to qualify for the Single Market. Since 1994, the EU has formalised a ‘cultural exception’ in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and in all trade agreements aside from the European Economic Area (EEA). Many countries have emulated the policy since, making it challenging for the UK’s AV cluster to gain significant additional market access from future bilateral trade deals.

  • November 30, 2016

    UK digital ad forecast 2016-2018

    The UK digital ad market has been resilient in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, and set to reach £10 billion in annual value by early next year. Growth is likely to remain strong even in the face of a possible economic slowdown next year, thanks to continuing growth of ecommerce and online media consumption. We expect media budgets to come under pressure, and this could be to the advantage of digital, which often provides better attribution of short term return on investment; we could see a “flight to attributability”. Within digital, growth is concentrated on video, social in-feed and search advertising on mobile, while desktop display is in decline: 2016 will be the first full calendar year when digital desktop ad spend is down year-on-year in the UK. Of this growth, Google and Facebook account for close to 90%, thanks to their leading offerings in the fastest-growing categories.

  • November 28, 2016

    Vertical marketplaces overview and recruitment classified outlook

    Our annual review of vertical marketplaces (classifieds) is presented in three reports, with the first providing a summary of the key macro trends, technological developments and spending outlook for the total UK classified advertising market followed by a detailed analysis of recruitment marketing; we will look at the property and auto verticals separately in two upcoming publications. Overall, we believe that the UK classified market is poised for a period of sustained innovation as the print to digital transition matures and incumbents search for new revenue streams induced by slowing digital revenue growth and consumer and client demand coupled with increasingly applicable emerging technologies. Across the three verticals we identify voice, video, virtual and augmented reality, user-generated content; and, critically, Artificial Intelligence as potentially disruptive forces. In terms of macroeconomic drivers, we observe that the Brexit referendum has had a minimal impact thus far but believe that economic uncertainty around the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU will prove a significant dampener on revenue growth in the next two years. In recruitment, the jobs market remains in growth despite the initial shock from the referendum and the recruitment industry continues to grow its revenues, up 2% in 2016 by our estimates. However, recruitment advertising spend itself was down -1% in the first half of this year reflecting the saturation of the online market as the print to digital transition reaches its latter stages; online now accounts for 76% of recruitment spend. The pay per listings model of traditional job boards appears increasingly outdated and in the future we believe that recruitment advertising services’ main value will lie in collecting and organising job seeker data rather than charging for advertising space, a view corroborated by Microsoft’s $22.6bn acquisition of LinkedIn announced in June. Meanwhile, the online jobs aggregator Indeed continues to build its revenue share while print brands’ digital revenues fell in both 2015 and H1 2016.

  • November 18, 2016

    Snappy birthday: Snapchat’s IPO

    ­­­­Snap’s IPO is reportedly pressing ahead as expected, suggesting a remarkably early maturity for the company’s advertising business model. Snapchat creatively adapts the tried and true TV advertising formula, focusing on content, context and audience affinity – this goes against the grain of digital advertising and could unlock new brand budgets for online. After an IPO, Snap’s founders would have the freedom to expand their platform with new content, distribution channels and even devices.

  • November 18, 2016

    ITV in the wake of Brexit: Q3 2016 Trading Update

    ITV’s latest update points to a weak end to 2016 in advertising sales chiefly due to rising uncertainty post-Brexit, as the 1% year-on-year decline during the first nine months is expected to sink to 3% across the full year despite hitherto positive economic growth trends. ITV claims of outperforming the TV advertising market across the first nine months of 2016 are at odds with other sources, although the likely main cause of apparent underperformance – the large fall in ITV Main share of viewing in 2015 – will not apply in 2017, as ITV Main has regained some of the lost share in 2016. Weakening sterling exchange rates post-Brexit may have fueled rising inflation, lower consumer disposal income and falling TV NAR. But, it has also boosted ITV Studios revenues from international sales.
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  • November 17, 2016

    The studio model: stay tuned!

    US entertainment groups have not been disrupted by the rise of digital media. Long running franchises drive growth across diverse sectors, starting with pay-TV and SVOD. US television advertising is rising in line with GDP, while the online video ad market is flourishing, with much appearing alongside the majors’ scripted content. Studios’ cable channels are their most profitable assets, but M&As with distribution platforms, including Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, have usually failed to deliver synergies. The Donald Trump presidency could leverage hostile public opinion towards mergers to undermine the AT&T bid for Time Warner; but it could also stimulate M&As if it granted tech companies a tax break to repatriate profits. A more protectionist administration could also bring about a less benevolent attitude towards majors’ foreign operations.

  • November 16, 2016

    Marketing and measurement in the digital era

    Digital consumption has generated a lot of data in marketing and media and a huge variety of new opportunities for marketers—but insights and intelligence are not growing as much as data points, as a culture of short termism prevails. We recommend the linking of audience measurement and consumer behaviour data, but the industry lacks both standards and trust, while the still-immature digital marketing supply chain poses problems for data integrity. The new data economy has also precipitated a new war for talent, with marketing, media and publishing competing with technology, finance and other industries to attract the best quant and science brains to transition the creative sectors.

  • November 2, 2016

    Programmatic TV’s European Evolution

    Declining broadcast viewing to the TV set among younger demographics, fragmentation of video viewing across screens, the lack of robust measurement of viewing across screens and the development of online video advertising technology are altering the European TV landscape. Programmatic TV is at an early stage, but has shown its potential with increased audience targeting options and campaign automation: the roll-out of programmatic models and ad technology for European TV advertising have already prompted advertisers to see TV in new ways, beyond its core strengths in mass brand advertising. Automated ad technology can support the existing linear broadcast ad infrastructure; in addition we project a combined potential for annual increased TV ad revenue of €220-300m by 2018 in the seven markets of the study, driven by new advertiser spend on addressable TV advertising and programmatic broadcaster OTT.

  • October 19, 2016

    Revenues what count for Sky: Q1 2017

    2017 has started well as group revenues grew by 5% on a like-for-like constant currency basis and operating costs were 2% lower year-on-year. The outlook for continuing strong revenue growth in the coming quarters is very positive in light of the numerous and ongoing product and service synergies in all three Sky markets. Cord-cutting is now a major concern in the US; however, there is no evidence for it with respect to Sky operations in Germany & Austria and Italy, while the evidence from the UK & Ireland is so far inconclusive. We expect some to occur, but not on the scale seen in the US.

  • October 13, 2016

    Brexit and UK internet privacy

    Personal data is the fuel of the digital age and the UK is a top producer due to deep internet and ecommerce usage. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a key plank of the Digital Single Market (DSM), will directly apply in May 2018, before the date of Brexit in 2019. Upon Brexit, GDPR adoption would ensure easy certification by the Commission for data transfers outside the EU, giving companies another reason to stay in the UK.

  • October 12, 2016

    Google devices: leading the charge to consumer AI

    Google’s recent hardware launch event was a confident assertion of an AI-led future where Google’s services are present for everyone, everywhere With Google’s Assistant central to them, devices like the Pixel phone and Google Home smart speaker put pressure on Samsung, Apple and Amazon. If Google’s AI push is successful, it will evolve and strengthen the company’s role as a gatekeeper to content and services, fundamentally reshaping search marketing.

  • October 4, 2016

    Trade policy path to Brexit for the UK

    Brexit will take place in March 2019 and the rush is now on to complete the UK’s exit through Article 50 negotiations and set the framework for post-Brexit trade with the EU. Trade-related investment by companies is at high risk from uncertainty; a free-trade area (FTA) for manufactured products should be a priority for 2019. Barriers to trade in services in the EU are more nebulous than tariffs and far more political in Member States, justifying a Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CEP).

  • Driving to Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)
    Driving to Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)
    September 30, 2016

    Driving to Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)

    Amazon’s smart Echo speakers are coming to Europe, powered by a voice-controlled intelligent assistant, Alexa. Echo is thought to have found surprise success in the US. Alexa is best thought of as the most complete Voice User Interface (VUI) on the market. We expect VUIs to supplant graphical user interfaces for a variety of use-cases, in the home, on the move and in the car. Competition in this area is increasing.

  • September 28, 2016

    Clash of the retail titans: Amazon vs Walmart

    The battle in the US between Amazon, ecommerce giant, and Walmart, the retail titan, reflects the changing face of US retail as online drives growth. Amazon, the everything store, innovates on marketplace, warehouse and logistics, and customer tools like Prime, while Walmart fortifies in-store and builds on its strengths. Walmart cannot overtake Amazon online, but it can defend its position as the largest US retailer as Amazon drives an ecommerce future for retailing.

  • September 27, 2016

    European mobile in Q2 2016: Down but resilient

    European mobile service revenue growth worsened slightly in Q2, dropping to -1.2% after three consecutive quarters at -0.8%. Southern Europe significantly outperformed the North, reversing the regional trend of recent years. Mobile service revenue growth was thus quite robust given these factors, helped by price firming in a number of markets, particularly Spain