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  • February 7, 2019

    TPGs merger strategy must focus on potential merger undertakings [...]

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    The ACCC has extended its decision time for the proposed TPG-VHA merger and has raised preliminary concerns that it will lead to a substantial lessening of competition. TPG has announced that it has ceased the rollout of its mobile network. Our report looks at the likelihood of whether the TPG/VHA merger will be approved given the potential no-merger test options which the ACCC could consider. 
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  • February 6, 2019

    UK Retail news update for January 2019

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    The volume of retail sales (excluding fuel) rose 2.6% for the year 2018, thanks to improved consumer sentiment on the back of the Royal Wedding, FIFA World Cup and warmer weather. With no special events in 2019, the environment for retailing will be bleaker, with or without no-deal Brexit. December retail sales volumes rose 1.7% year-on-year, less than half the pace of November, as consumers shifted spend to Black Friday/Cyber Monday. We predict the trend will amplify in 2019, as consumers increasingly target their spending on discounted products, with direct implications for the timing and nature of advertising. The value of retail sales (excluding fuel) was up 4% in 2018 as a whole, masking the tale of woe on the high street. Offline sales fell 1%, while online sales boomed, growing 14% in value, a structural trend for 2019.
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  • February 6, 2019

    New Zealand Mobile Market Outlook

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    The New Zealand mobile market had been traditionally characterised as an oligopoly that is dominated by the prepaid segment with high prices, lack of product differentiation and low usage. However, this market is about to see a rise in competitive intensity driven by 2degrees’ move to gain share in the lucrative postpaid and business mobile segments. We believe Vodafone NZ is most at risk and could lose approximately 3% of its subscriber market share by 2022. The emergence of utility companies offering mobile products will also increase competition and create more “sticky” consumers. We forecast the mobile market will remain the largest segment in the telco market with NZ$3.2bn revenue by 2022.
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  • February 5, 2019

    Why does Amazon sell the Echo?

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    Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home accelerated their prodigious rate of adoption in Q4 2018, and we expect they will soon be in 20% of UK homes. Amazon and Google price devices low to drive adoption to mass-market levels and win the race to own the home, in contrast to Apple’s profit-making strategy for its speaker. Echo’s main strategic benefits to Amazon are the scope for data collection and the intelligence it supports, and gatekeeping partners’ access to customers.
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  • February 4, 2019

    Sky UK Q4 2018 results: accelerating growth

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    Sky’s revenue growth under Comcast appears to have accelerated since it last reported as an independent company, largely driven by sports rights expansion in Italy, which also drove bumper subscriber growth in Q3 2018. Sky UK likely enjoyed a steadier performance, helped by accelerating high speed adoption, a price rise in April, increased international sales, and improving premium channel adoption on third-party platforms. Comcast expects continued acceleration into 2019, with profitability taking a hit from increased sports rights in Italy in H1, but this is more than compensated for by reduced English Premier League rights costs in H2.
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  • February 1, 2019

    Netflix’s local content push in the UK

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    With the UK perhaps Netflix’s most valuable market outside the US—home to a stellar production sector—the streaming service is escalating its foray into local production, opening a content hub in London and moving from co-productions to direct commissions. As UK content completely dominates UK video viewing outside of the SVODs, to expand subscription reach Netflix is endeavouring to become an alternative to the PSBs’ entertainment output; this local spend is efficient given the universality and worldwide appetite for British content. With a growing proportion of local content expenditure now coming from Netflix and other SVODs, there are ramifications for both broadcasters and producers—loss of viewing, potential market pressure, increased competition for premium content and hesitancy around their own SVOD plans—along with implications for the cultural landscape.
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  • January 31, 2019

    Grappling for green shoots at Vodafone UK

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    Vodafone’s revenue trends took another step backwards this quarter (down almost 3% on our estimates) with its strongest markets (UK and Germany) weakening unexpectedly. The reiteration of their financial guidance and commitment to cost-reduction provides some reassurance although nothing in the results provides grounds for optimism; churn is not really falling and is not correlated to convergence. With the UK mobile market delivering its strongest growth in 7 years last quarter, these results may be a precursor for a more challenging outlook with Vodafone citing pressure from business pricing and out-of-bundle limits, and the outlook for RPI-linked price increases diminishing.
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  • January 30, 2019

    Netcomm Wireless: From modems to m2m to fixed wireless and 5G

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    In the past six years, NetComm Wireless has transformed itself from internet modem manufacturer to a leading telco equipment supplier in a range of complex wireless and fixed line technologies to Tier 1 telcos across the world. With 5G just around the corner, NetComm is investing heavily to leverage its experience in fixed wireless and position itself as a leading supplier of fixed wireless technology to major telcos across the world.
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  • January 30, 2019

    TPG’s mobile announcement will shift focus to the ongoing compe [...]

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    TPGs decision to cease its mobile rollout reduces the prospects for a 4th mobile operator in Australia. The MVNO market is highly competitive in metro regions and looks set to become stronger. We expect the ACCC to turn its focus on the ongoing competitiveness of the MVNO market.
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  • Free
    January 29, 2019

    AI in Financial Services: Who wins the future of banking?

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    Financial services are ripe for AI disruption; they are data-heavy, with significant potential for automation. The question is not if, but how fast, and how profoundly, would AI reshape the competitive landscape. In Australia, the AI ecosystem is exciting, but has yet to reach critical mass.
  • January 22, 2019

    New Zealand Telco Market Outlook

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    We expect the overall retail telco market to remain flat (2018-2022 CAGR 0.0%) with mobile growth driven by a move to post-paid plans and 4G/5G to offset the structural decline in fixed voice.  Total retail revenues will reach NZ$5.4bn in 2022. With UFB deployment well on track and increasing 4G penetration, we expect a rise in competitive intensity as players look to capture share across a broader set of product offerings. Fixed voice continues its structural decline as subscribers shun the landline and migrate away from standalone fixed voice services to mobile bundles and broadband + VOIP bundles. The UFB rollout is on track to reach 80% of the population by the end of 2019 and has been recently extended by the Government to cover up to 87% of the population by 2022. The NZ Government recently announced a set of reforms including a move towards utility-style regulation, copper deregulation in areas where UFB is available, and increased oversight over quality and reliability of broadband services.
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  • January 21, 2019

    UK advertising spend: Brexit year forecasts

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    Our central case forecast with orderly EU withdrawal predicts 2.7% growth for total UK advertising spend, down from 4.7% in 2018. We have a no-deal Brexit scenario that predicts a smaller advertising recession than in 2009, with total ad spend declining 3% and display down 5.3% in 2019. The total advertising figures partly mask the pressure on UK consumers, through an expansion of the measured advertising spend universe. This is due to significant self-serve online advertising growth by SMEs, and non-advertising marketing budgets moving to online advertising platforms. In a downturn, we’d expect advertisers to become more tactical, which would disproportionally affect display media including TV, which is further affected by declining commercial impacts among younger adults. Search and social advertising would see only small growth through the first year of a recession.
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  • January 17, 2019

    Apple and Amazon bury the hatchet

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    Amazon’s recent deals with Apple in TV, music and device sales mark a turning point after a decade of frosty relations. The context for this involves shifting priorities at both firms, growing pressure on Apple’s iPhone business, and rivals in common — first and foremost Google, but also the likes of Netflix and Spotify. The uneasy alliance helps both companies consolidate their strengths in the platform competition over media and the connected home — but trouble already brews.
  • Free
    January 16, 2019

    Disruption in Australian Super: Only skin deep?

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    Australia’s superannuation system is broadly admired. Disruptive entrants have thus far focused on user experience, ethical alignment and branding rather than fees or performance. However, regulatory change will drive significant shifts in the industry in the coming years.
  • January 15, 2019

    Six ways 5G will change the future of media and entertainment

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    The media industry has been at the receiving end of significant disruption and innovation in the past decade. With 5G around the corner, the media industry is set for another round of innovation albeit this time with the opportunity to significantly improve their content offerings and provide a more richer video experience for consumers.
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  • January 11, 2019

    Scandinavian video

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    The Scandinavian markets sit at the cutting edge of the TV industry’s evolution—a product of tech-savvy citizens, superb connectivity, and generally high incomes. Take-up of SVOD is high, yet while this has had a pronounced effect on viewing, pay-TV subscription numbers have proved surprisingly resilient. Traditionally dominant public service broadcasters are under greater financial and political pressures, with the licence fee scrapped in both Denmark and Sweden.      
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  • European mobile in Q4 2016
    European mobile in Q4 2016
    January 10, 2019

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q3 2018

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    Broadband market volume growth resumed its downward trend in the September quarter after a blip in the previous quarter that was likely caused by a wholesale transfer distorting the figures. Revenue growth, however, perked up to 1.9% from 1.7% in the previous quarter, an encouraging recovery especially given that it was not primarily driven by the timing of a price increase. ARPU growth improved across all four of the major operators, countering recent trends, with a focus on higher value offerings a common theme. High speed broadband adoption accelerated in the quarter across most operators, encouraged by Openreach’s volume discount offer, although this was partially driven by keener high speed pricing. Revenue growth at Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk converged at around 3%, with BT Consumer lagging at -1%. However, excluding the effect of BT’s shrinking telephony-only base and smoothing the sporadic boost of its 9-monthly price rise, BT Consumer’s revenue is in the middle of the pack at 3.0%      
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  • January 9, 2019

    European mobile in Q3 2018

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    European mobile service revenue growth slipped again this quarter to -1.0% as the UK and Germany disappointed and the Southern European countries worsened. The gap in service revenue growth rates between the Southern European countries and the UK and Germany increased again to a spectacular 5.5ppts. Spain was perhaps the biggest surprise this quarter with service revenue growth deteriorating by more than 3ppts; primarily due to Vodafone who posted a dire performance on all fronts. Next quarter, a somewhat delayed improvement in trend from the annualisation of roaming tariff cuts in the UK and Germany is possible, competitive intensity in France looks set to intensify as Iliad renews its aggression in the face of slowing momentum. Although there may be some reprieve on the rate of subscriber loss in Italy, Iliad is likely to continue to impose significant ARPU pressure on all operators.
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  • December 20, 2018

    UK Auto classified marketplace

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    New car registrations will be down 6.3% (2.4m) in 2018, another year of decline from the 2016 peak of 2.7m, impacted by the soft consumer confidence in big-ticket purchases, with some spin down to used car sales. Auto Trader, despite the car industry’s downturn, has experienced only marginal pain thanks to the strategic focus on revenue diversification – principally into new cars, dealer auctions and enhanced subscription-based services for dealers. Our forecasts for media expenditure on cars in 2018 and 2019 are essentially flat. Auto Trader’s positioning offers insulation in a downturn, and we expect they will gain share in marketing spend, though not necessarily in terms of total consumer or industry expenditure.  
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  • December 19, 2018

    DAZN: lofty ambitions in OTT sports

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    With sport at the heart of the pay-TV ecosystem, dedicated online-only streaming services could emerge as a threat to leading players like Sky. The liveliest newcomer, DAZN, launched in 2016 with mostly second-tier sports. Now in seven markets and counting, it has recently made bold moves into top-flight competitions, notably in Italy, albeit as a secondary player. History has not been kind to those challenging pay-TV incumbents by selling sports unbundled—particularly in Europe, as Setanta, ESPN, beIN SPORTS and Mediaset can testify. If DAZN can stick to secondary positions in premium rights, or simply less-expensive sports, perhaps it will fare better.  
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  • December 19, 2018

    UK Recruitment classified marketplace

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    The UK’s labour market is tight, with an unemployment rate of 4.1%, the lowest since 1973. Peak vacancies and reports of skill shortages mask dull hiring plans amidst the gathering Brexit gloom, which will hit temporary hiring hard. We expect media expenditure to fall in 2018, substantially more among print publishers, spilling over into 2019 expenditure on media. The recruitment industry has benefited from the structural shift to outsourcing, and large agencies are portals in their own right, providing tools to companies to sift applicants to find the best match. Companies doing their own recruitment of professionals value listing on LinkedIn, the top UK site by visitors, and the efficiency of paying per applicant rather than for the listing. Second-placed Indeed has gained considerable momentum since being acquired by Japan’s Recruit Holdings in 2012. Indeed acquired third-placed Glassdoor in 2018, the latter having built its market position through user-generated reviews of employers. With Google serious again about Jobs, a sector (among others) it has tried to disrupt before, Monster and Jobsite are the more vulnerable to being crowded out.
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  • December 18, 2018

    UK Vertical marketplaces overview and property classified outlook

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    The UK consumer’s loss of confidence since the June 2016 referendum vote in favour of Brexit has reduced the revenues of both estate agents and auto dealers, with knock-on effects on their media spend, entrenching further the leadership positions of Rightmove and Auto Trader respectively. Only the UK’s recruitment marketplace is buoyant with a record level of vacancies, benefiting general recruitment aggregator Indeed, although deepening Brexit gloom among businesses will rapidly melt away vacancies. With internet users flocking to portals and away from print media, advertisers have followed suit with media spend on these portals to stimulate purchaser interest, although transactions are still conducted offline. Facebook and Google, which have long histories of contesting markets for local advertisers with little success, have re-entered classifieds. Facebook Marketplace is now accepting listings from estate agents and dealers, expanding from C2C to B2C in homes and cars. Google Jobs launched in the UK in July 2018 and enjoys partnerships with all the major portals other than Indeed. The sharp decline in sales and shift to lettings, sluggish price growth and pressure on estate agents’ commissions, are making marketing key to driving transactional activity in a longer sales funnel. Rightmove’s revenues are on track for a 10% increase in 2018 on the uplift in average revenue per agent (ARPA). Zoopla's market share rose with the end of OnTheMarket's 'one-other-portal' rule for shareholders upon its AIM listing in February 2018.
  • December 17, 2018

    Australia Out-of-Home Market Outlook

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    As traditional media segments face the onslaught of digital, OOH advertising stands out as the only old media medium that is seeing sustained growth. Traditionally OOH was mostly a real estate play but with digitalisation, it’s now becoming a true digital medium that synergises with other digital media i.e. acquisitions by OOH of Junkee and increasingly personalisation not just on a small scale but on a large scale. The overall OOH market has grown at a 13.8% CAGR from FY14 to FY17. We forecast it grow at a 5.4% from FY17 to FY22. With more than A$1.75bn of M&A activity in the middle of CY2018, the Australian OOH market has gone from being dominated by four major players to being ruled by a just two major players, effectively giving rise to a ‘Duopoly’.  
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  • December 14, 2018

    Iliad running out of luck

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    Once on the winning side of strategic French telecoms price wars thanks to a struggling SFR, Iliad now looks wounded, and a possible prey, suffering from declining fixed and mobile KPIs – we expect cash flow losses of €617 million this year. Broadband, in a capex-heavy migration to higher margin fibre, may stabilise revenue with (somewhat) differentiating new ‘Freeboxes’ bundled with Netflix. Mobile (€2.3 billion burned since launch) hopes rest on on-net transition fostering profitability, but the 5G capex race looms. The new Italian mobile venture is explicitly and surprisingly behind the French legacy: it is already delivering a worse performance, and carrying much higher outlays (after 5G auctions spiralled). We believe Iliad has to revamp its model in France and consider differentiation with content to escape the discount brand trap.
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