Reports

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  • July 24, 2019

    TalkTalk UK Q1 2019/20 results: Slower but steadier

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    TalkTalk suffered subscriber losses and falling consumer revenue growth in Q1, with churn still high despite the high speed base growing, countered by ARPU growing for the first time since 2017. The subscriber drop was, however, modest and looks quite deliberate, with there being evidence of price firming in both direct and indirect channels supporting both ARPU and margin. This more cautious approach, if it can be sustained, puts the company on a much more healthy footing in our view, allowing it to achieve its financial targets without increasingly unsustainable existing customer price rises
  • July 23, 2019

    How could the BBC ever fund the over-75s?

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    In the BBC’s 2015 funding settlement commencing 2017, the Government assumed the BBC would fully fund the subsidy for over-75s to the tune of £750 million from 2020/21. Although the BBC’s settlement contained measures of “mitigation” worth c.£290 million, the BBC would still have faced a gap of c.£460 million to be funded by programme cuts and efficiencies (the BBC has pledged £250 million). Including c.£300 million from the annual adjustment of the licence fee for inflation from 2017 would help. However, this was always required to offset normal salary and cost increases to prevent a real decline in the BBC’s resources.
  • July 17, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: June 2019

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    June was a relatively quiet month for Australian TMT space although few significant announcements.
  • July 16, 2019

    Future of UK Public Service Media: EPG prominence to the fore

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    Ofcom’s recommendations to Government suggest updating EPG prominence legislation to cover connected TVs, and were warmly welcomed by the PSBs. Balancing various commercial, PSB and consumer interests will be key; determining what content qualifies for prominence will be a particularly thorny issue to resolve. Extending prominence to smart TVs and streaming sticks is critical, but implementation will be challenging
  • July 15, 2019

    Ad blocking update – Publishers and tech giants work togeth [...]

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    Digital publishers are using a variety of strategies to counter the impact of ad blockers from requesting users to turn off ad blockers or whitelisting websites to blocking access to content. Publishers have also found unlikely allies in Google and Facebook that are making it harder for third party ad blockers to block ads on their platforms.
  • July 11, 2019

    100% EVs by 2050

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    Electronic Vehicles (EVs) in Australia are forecast to reach 100% of new car sales within 15-20 years. EVs are an alternative to the internal combustion engine (or ICE) and use electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. ICE vehicles typically run on petrol or diesel and currently make up nearly 100% of the Australian private vehicle market. EVs are charged typically from the grid and as such source energy from both renewable and fossil fuel sources. Reduction in technology costs and the mass production will result in EVs having lower upfront and running costs which will lead to mass market adoption and ultimately replace the entire commercial market for private vehicles. In this report, we review the various factors driving the uptake of EVs, the way in which EVs will be charged, and the potential impact on residential homes’ production and consumption of electricity. As the market moves towards a distributed renewable market, EVs will increasingly be charged by cheaper renewable energy during off peak times when renewables are abundant in supply. We also review the cost of charging EVs (versus the equivalent cost for an ICE car) under various scenarios where a household charges its EV using grid electricity and using their own solar panels and batteries.
  • July 10, 2019

    Google’s Icarus moment

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    ­­­­Google’s advertising business has begun losing market share in the US, with competition from Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft intensifying in search and display. In response, the company is redoubling efforts to reshape its apps, services, and the entire web for more efficient monetisation, spelling uncertainty for partners and users. The adaptability and complexity of Google’s services reduce business risk from targeted regulatory measures, but increase the pressure for a radical intervention
  • July 9, 2019

    RegTech: a new Australian export?

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    Though starting of as an offshoot of Fintech, RegTech has applications beyond financials services in regulated industries such as education, agriculture, law and more. The Industry is being driven by increasing regulatory burden and technology innovations. Australia dominates the Asia Pacific region, and is seventh in the world in terms of RegTech deal activity.  
  • July 8, 2019

    Roku: OTT pioneer under threat

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    With c.22m accounts across 44m devices, Roku has a US footprint that exceeds the largest pay-TV platforms. Limited competitive advantages highlights the scale of this achievement, but also leave the pioneering firm vulnerable to activities from bigger, wealthier rivals Apple, Amazon, and Google as well as pay-TV providers. The odds are stacked against Roku, but continuing the innovation in production and product that built its lead may secure future success
  • July 5, 2019

    Vocus Strategy update: leverage fibre, subsea and mobile to build [...]

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    Vocus held its strategy day on 3rd July 2019, detailing its efforts to turning around its business units. Its core Network Services and Retail units require substantial investment to stimulate revenue and market share growth. Vocus has identified mobile and its subsea cable assets as key drivers for growth. After two unsuccessful merger attempts in the last month, Vocus needs to ensure it can transform the company.
  • July 3, 2019

    Transforming the live sports experience – it’s game on for 5G

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    Major sports codes in Australia are trying to figure out how to engage and attract younger fans, and they are looking to technology not only to gain and retain fans but also to get fans into the stadium. Technological development is rapidly changing almost every facet of the business of live sports and as sport changes both on and off the field, innovation has become a key priority for all industry stakeholders.  
  • July 2, 2019

    A strict early privacy verdict for UK online advertising

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    The Information Commissioner’s Office reported on the UK online advertising sector, finding common industry practices unlawful under a strict interpretation of the GDPR and UK privacy law. The ICO focused on problems around transparency, consent and data sharing in the Real-Time-Bidding ecosystem, which comprises 16% of UK online ad spend, but most of publisher online ad revenue. The ICO is giving the industry six months to shape up, with the next steps still unclear. The Competition and Markets Authority has had under consideration an investigation into the entire online advertising sector, but is hampered by Brexit-related considerations.
  • July 1, 2019

    Reader-first news media: From transition to transformation

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    The number of people willing to pay for online news now roughly matches print paid circulation, and will soon be substantially greater, with publishers increasingly demonstrating that their strategies are influencing industry outcomes. Our thesis is that subscriptions work in some cases, but that a more systematic reader-first approach benefits all cases, recalibrating management focus to media’s core purpose. Effectively implementing such an approach is a more radical, transformative development than is sometimes assumed. The winners will deploy sophisticated, bespoke audience acquisition and retention funnels and undergo detailed appraisals of the trade-offs necessary for optimal user experiences.
  • June 27, 2019

    2019 UK TV advertising backstopped by Brexit

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    We expect total TV ad revenues to decline 3.3% in H1 2019, partly due to a return to Earth following the idyllic conditions of the World Cup in June 2018. Bad omens for advertising for H2 include the sagging economy since April and the Government’s impetus to achieve Brexit on 31 October, with or without a deal. Our forecast remains a 3% decline for total TV ad revenues for 2019 as a whole, with the risk of a more serious downturn in 2020 in the wake of Brexit.
  • June 26, 2019

    Do batteries change everything, and by when?

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    Webinar Review: Venture Insights hosted a webinar with leading solar and battery experts Nick Brass (Co-Founder, DC Power Co) and Ryan Wavish (Principal, Marchment Hill Consulting) to discuss the role of household batteries in Australia. The topic for discussion was “Do batteries change everything, and by when?”. Certainly, the view from the guest speakers and Venture Insights is that batteries are a ‘game changer’ technology on the horizon for residential electricity markets. In a world made up of cheaper renewable electricity (zero marginal cost) there are profound opportunities for all participants in the electricity supply chain, from battery manufacturers, demand side software models, fossil fuel and renewable generators, transmission and distribution network owners and the incumbent and challenger retailers.
  • June 26, 2019

    Facebook Libra – the cryptocurrency arms race has begun…

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    Facebook announced the launch of Libra, a new digital currency that aims to transform how we pay and transfer money. Calibra, Facebook’s Libra ewallet, has the potential to shake the entire payments industry through its scale and value. However, Libra faces multiple challenges, including regulatory hurdles and Facebook’s chequered past with privacy and data security.
  • June 25, 2019

    European mobile in Q1 2019: Toughest conditions in four years

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    European mobile service revenue growth slipped again to -2.0%; its worst performance in four years.Regulation limiting intra-EU call prices could hit hard next quarter – with the UK likely to be hardest hit by up to 6% of revenues and 20% of EBITDA. Excluding the EU-call impact, we see greatest scope for improving trends in Italy and France thanks to easier comps and diminishing competitive intensity.

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  • June 24, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: May 2019

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    May was another busy month for the telco sector with significant announcements on three major M&A deals in the market. Furthermore, M&A activity continued to be strong in May with several deals announced.
  • June 24, 2019

    Advertising Pays 7: UK Advertising’s Digital Revolution

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    Online advertising plays a larger role in the UK economy than anywhere else in the world, having grown hand-in-hand with the highest ecommerce spend per capita and a business creation boom. There are many factors behind this success, access to investment and top talent (both technical and creative) structural characteristics in the economy and society—not least a culture of experimentation and entrepreneurship. As with all maturing industries, sustaining future growth will bring new challenges: along with economic headwinds, UK online advertising now faces an urgent need to restore public trust, with a combination of statute and self-regulation.
  • June 20, 2019

    Network Slicing – business transformation opportunities from me [...]

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    Network slicing is a key feature of 5G networks, allowing MNOs to allocate independent virtual networks to customers with specific capabilities and quality of service guarantees. In addition to improved performance, network slicing will create new business models that will bring new revenue streams for MNOs. There are a range of opportunities across media, gaming, emergency services, IoT, transport and MVNO market segments.  
  • June 18, 2019

    Batteries powering our residential homes

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    The cost of retail electricity is a hot topic in Australia, exacerbated by more frequent and volatile weather events and a rapid shift from traditional fossil fuels towards renewables. Considering that residential solar panels have reached 20% penetration, and this is set to grow to 50% over time, we believe that they have reached ‘mainstream’ market adoption with steady growth in panel installations likely to continue. As such, the discussion now shifts to the installation of batteries which will further shift the energy supply mix toward renewables in Australia. With the price volatility of retail electricity, there is an increased focus by governments and households on different ways to cut costs across the energy supply chain, from distributors to end users. This report looks at how and when battery technology will be adopted and forecasts the potential impact this could have on the consumption of ‘grid’ electricity.
  • June 18, 2019

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2019: Price wars dom [...]

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    Market revenue growth dipped to around zero in Q1, with fierce competition on new customer pricing the major factor. All four of the big operators now suffer from declining ARPU, with existing customer price rises increasingly hard to land given falling prices for new customers. The rapid move to superfast is not helping as much as it should; the operators will hope that they fare better with the move to ultrafast.
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  • June 17, 2019

    UK mobile market Q1 2019 – Pressure to mount after mixed bag in [...]

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    The UK mobile market posted its slowest growth in more than two years this quarter; just 0.5% service revenue growth although net adds were strong and churn was down. ARPU is under considerable pressure thanks to regulation limiting out-of-bundle spend which will exacerbate as the year progresses. Several other negative developments look set to be layered on the pressures this quarter, including a step-up in competitive intensity as 5G launches –  with H3G’s pricing of unlimited data a sign of a resurgence in its aggression
  • June 14, 2019

    UK Channel 4’s balancing act: 2018 annual report

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    Mindful of the uncertain future effects of ongoing events, most notably the stagnating TV ad market and the costs of establishing an HQ in Leeds, Channel 4 returned a £5 million pre-tax surplus in 2018, which after investment in Box left its cash reserves at £180 million. Increased digital revenue more than made up for the anticipated drop in spot advertising and sponsorship (with group viewing share and SOCI down) while cautiousness necessitated lower content spend (down 5% from the peak in 2016); a concern given rising content costs. Nevertheless, Channel 4 is doing a good job delivering its remit in a tough environment, continuing to broadcast programming no-one else would and leveraging long-standing relationships to nurture television and film of a quality and ingenuity that belies the modest size of the organisation