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  • July 3, 2017

    End-game for the merger of 21CF and Sky

    Secretary of State (SoS) Karen Bradley has made an initial decision to refer 21CF’s bid for Sky to the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) for a detailed consideration of media plurality concerns, to be finalised in the near future. The issue at hand is the potential increase in the influence of the members of the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) over the UK’s news agenda and political process. The SoS rejected the remedy for Sky News brokered by Ofcom. Ofcom’s non-negative decision on the fitness and propriety of 21CF to hold Sky’s broadcast licences cleared another hurdle in the event the merger is finally accepted.

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  • Artificial Intelligence – The next disruptive revolution
    Artificial Intelligence – The next disruptive revolution
    June 30, 2017

    Artificial Intelligence – The next disruptive revolution

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the biggest technological revolution since the digital age. Businesses and industries will experience a huge boost to productivity and efficiency, and save costs across their entire value chains. Economic, legal and ethical challenges need to be overcome for AI to become widespread.

  • June 29, 2017

    European mobile in Q1 2017: Stuck at zero

    European mobile service revenue growth remained stuck at zero in Q1, with a heightened impact from the mobile termination rate cuts in Germany and price promotional activity in southern Europe mitigating improving markets in the UK and France.‘More-for-more’ price rises continued both during the quarter and after, and appear to be more widespread than the 2016 increases. This should be driving revenue growth at a healthier rate than zero, and may well do as out-of-bundle revenue declines fade away in significance and regulated MTR and roaming cuts annualise out. The regulatory impact should improve next quarter, as the UK MTR impact drops, Germany at least gets no worse, and the roaming impact has a lull prior to the ‘free roaming’ mandate taking effect towards the end of the quarter. From Q3, however, the ‘free roaming’ effect will be in full force, and will negatively impact operators in northern European and smaller European countries in particular

  • June 29, 2017

    Ten Network– going once, going twice, gone…?

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the biggest technological revolution since the digital age. Businesses and industries will experience a huge boost to productivity and efficiency, and save costs across their entire value chains. Economic, legal and ethical challenges need to be overcome for AI to become widespread.

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  • June 29, 2017

    The map is now the territory

    We are in the midst of a rapid change in how maps are made and used, from a world of cartographers making records of physical features to sell to consumers and businesses, to one where information about the world is automatically tracked and measured, and built into every service we use. A whole host of industries traditionally unconcerned with geography are being and will be transformed by maps and location, from retail and advertising to finance and insurance. Every business needs to know what maps can offer them. A variety of maps suppliers are jostling for position in serving this growing need: local or international, free or commercial, seeing mapping as a core or side-business. Different suppliers suit different requirements.

  • June 27, 2017

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2017: Profit warning [...]

    UK residential communications market revenue growth dipped modestly to 2.7% in Q1, from 3.3% in the previous quarter. This was mainly driven by ARPU weakness arising due to the timings of Sky and Virgin Media’s price rises, but weakness also stemmed from the sustained decline in broadband volume growth and continued new customer price competition.Looking forward, the implementation of an overlapping price increase from BT, as well as Sky’s price increases coming into full effect, should boost market revenues by around 1ppt in Q2 2017, but this will drop away again by Q3. The churn fallout from the communication of these price increases should also dissipate in Q2, benefiting BT and Sky competitively, and making it challenging for TalkTalk to repeat the feat of recovering to positive retail broadband net adds

  • June 23, 2017

    UK mobile market Q1 2017: EE leads the way

    UK mobile service revenue growth continued to improve, with reported growth reaching 0.4%. The rate of improvement has, however, started to slow. Pricing remains solid and data traffic continues to grow healthily.Looking forward, there will be some rare regulatory relief from next quarter, as the regulated MTR cuts drop to de minimis levels, helping service revenue growth by about 0.5ppts, and there is a brief respite from the impact of regulated EU roaming cuts before the full effect of their abolition on 15 June. Q3 will not be so comfortable, with the EU roaming abolition taking full effect during the main holiday season.
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  • June 23, 2017

    How to sell games: borrowing ideas from Netflix and Apple

    A Netflix-like subscription model for console based video gaming is a big step closer with Microsoft launching a clear and easy Xbox subscription game solution, and it may even work. Sony’s strategy for premium online services across all its businesses remains muddled and complicated, but could be fixed quickly: dropping game streaming is the first step, providing a lower cost subscription service is the second. Google’s admission that more curation in its games app store will be needed finally indicates a better understanding of the games industry, in parallel with the company’s efforts to win over other creative industries

  • June 22, 2017

    US music publishing royalties for 2018-22

    The “fair return” to US music publishers and songwriters for rights used by interactive streaming services will be decided in 2017 by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). Rights owners want to switch to a fixed per-stream or per-user rate on all tiers, arguing music has an inherent value. Apple is asking for a much lower per-stream rate. Amazon, Google, Spotify and Pandora warn of disruption to free and ad-supported tiers if the revenue-share tariff is not rolled over, and the CRB could side with them

  • June 22, 2017

    Risks to NBN becoming more visible

    NBN’s FY16 results represent a dramatic turnaround however risks to ARPU and connections are on the horizon. Pressure on RSP margins will drive industry to focus on fixed wireless substitution and further market consolidation.

  • June 21, 2017

    The Finkel Review – A politically acceptable outcome for no [...]

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    The Finkel review has been released and appears to have come up with a ‘politically acceptable’ solution. However, even if all the recommendations are accepted, the future impact on the electricity market is far from certain. Human behaviour and the declining cost of renewables will have a more profound effect than the Finkel review suggests in its modelling.

  • June 21, 2017

    Vodafone Q4 2016/17 results: Solid results, better (short-term) o [...]

    Vodafone Europe’s service revenue growth reached positive territory in the March quarter, having recovered from a long term decline that it has suffered since 2009, thanks mainly to market stabilisation within the countries where it operates. The company’s service revenues are now growing in Germany, Italy and Spain, with the UK now the laggard, having suffered from recent billing migration issues. With Europe’s major mobile markets now stabilised, Vodafone’s continued high investment levels gives it an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage and outperform its competitors, rather than just keeping up with them.

  • Snowy Hydro 2.0: Good but not enough?
    Snowy Hydro 2.0: Good but not enough?
    June 21, 2017

    Snowy Hydro 2.0: Good but not enough?

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    Snowy Hydro 2.0 has been proposed by the Federal Government to alleviate the Australian Energy Crisis. Will it be the golden solution they hoped for, or should the government consider alternative investments to allow a more effective or timely solution?

  • Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2017
    Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2017
    June 21, 2017

    Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2017

    Mary Meeker discusses the key internet trends for 2017. The continued rise of digital advertising, as well as growth within eSports, and eCommerce all feature heavily  
  • June 13, 2017

    Sky is favourite in twin (and odd) Italian football auctions

    Domestic championship and Champions League rights for 2018-21 are auctioned almost simultaneously. The main uncertainties are the extent to which Sky will increase its exclusive coverage of Serie A, and whether it will try to win the Champions League auction to take advantage of rival Mediaset Premium’s announced retreat. We doubt that telecom or digital operators will be tempted by the €200m minimum price for the two internet-only packages with patchy regional coverage – a bad idea mandated by the regulator. However irrational behaviour at auctions should never be ruled out.

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  • June 10, 2017

    BT Q4 2016/17 results: Mobile strength, pressure elsewhere

    BT had a reasonable quarter in its consumer broadband business given market pressures, and a very strong one at EE with continued growth acceleration. It had a good quarter for fibre adoption as well, helping its wholesale divisions stabilise their revenue, but business/IT was weak as expected.Regulatory pressure remains intense despite the (welcome) Openreach agreement, with price cap regulation proposed or due on a range of products, and a regulatory approach which is far from investment-orientated. Pressures in the business/IT market are likely to continue, and pressures in the consumer broadband market are likely to intensify, justifying BT’s current cautious approach to guidance and dividends.

  • June 9, 2017

    UK General Election online: news and advertising

    In contrast to print coverage, most shared news and opinion content on social media was decidedly pro-Labour this election season, with fake news relatively non-existent compared to the US election in November. Facebook’s role in news distribution has steadily grown and now rivals Google’s, but only a half of the UK’s electorate are active users – for the platform to become decisive in political news would require much stronger turnout among young voters. Facebook was the chief digital ad platform for both main parties, with Conservatives targeting Labour seats, Labour defending them and both adopting a negative tone.

  • June 8, 2017

    Nintendo Switching to a new console era

    The successful launch of the Nintendo Switch creates a new console model, and demonstrates the staying power and long term value of great franchises. Microsoft reveals the specification for Scorpio, but it won’t be enough to catch up to Sony. New franchises, and probably new leadership, will be the key to stopping Xbox sliding into irrelevance outside North America. Sony’s PlayStation 4 now exceeds 60m units worldwide, allowing Sony more freedom to publish a wide range of challenging creative console games, while VR games continue to gain momentum.

  • June 7, 2017

    Australian Advertising Expenditure Market Outlook

    The Australian Advertising Expenditure market outlook report discusses the actual (2009 – 2016) and forecast (2017 – 2021) advertising revenue alongside the key drivers within the Digital, Broadcast Television, Print, Radio and Outdoor markets.

  • June 6, 2017

    BBC Studios: make or break

    The launch of BBC Studios - the relocation of most of the broadcaster's in-house production capability into a commercial subsidiary - gives it the ability to compete for work elsewhere at the expense of a guaranteed quota at the BBC. The upside is large, with the opportunity to retain an increased amount of intellectual property, a requirement of growing importance. However, so is the risk, with sustainability dependent upon a major cultural shift; from comfortably retained provider to competitive production engine. Outside of a weak track record when competing for work, other entwined issues must be overcome for success in the medium term; demonstration of transparency in the commissioning process and watertight transfer pricing practices, and the dispelling of state aid concerns.

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  • June 1, 2017

    Australian Out-of-Home Market Outlook 2017: Widespread growth dri [...]

    The Australian Out-of-Home (OoH) market has been growing continuously for the past seven years, with CY16 posting a notable 15.8% year on year increase.Total revenue for 2016 was at an all-time high of $789.5 million, up from $682.1 million in 2015

  • June 1, 2017

    ITV et al. facing the NAR squeeze

    ITV’s latest trading Q1 trading update has sent a clear warning signal to the commercial TV industry as it gave guidance of 8-9% year-on-year decline in TV NAR (Net Advertising Revenue) in H1 2017. A substantial portion of the projected decline may be attributed to economic issues and relatively tough Q1 comparatives as per ITV guidance; however, there are clear signs of growing intrusion by online video advertising on traditional broadcast TV NAR. A review of trends points to major biases that swing the market towards the online space. It is time for all to reconsider both the impact of CRR (Contract Rights Renewal) in restraining TV NAR and the factors – by no means all sound – pushing up online video spend

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  • May 25, 2017

    Amazon Channels: bite-sized pay-TV for the whole family

    After a US debut, Amazon’s marketplace of SVOD services arrives in the UK and Germany, but without the major draws of HBO and Showtime. Unbundling SVOD for premium content strengthens Amazon’s position in the fast-developing connected TV landscape, where Prime Video is taking on Netflix, NOW TV and YouTube. For niche content providers, Amazon Channels provides a new, low-friction route to go direct-to-consumer with a mix of live and on-demand premium content alongside existing distribution strategies.

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  • May 25, 2017

    Disruption in Payments: Time to throw out your wallet?

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    As the usage of cash declines, we are trending towards a cashless society supported by new payment technologies.Within the next decade, cashless methods will be preferred, and have mostly positive implications for both businesses and consumers.However, cash will still be with us and being used for well over the next 20 years.