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  • March 5, 2004

    Comcast/Disney: The Strategy Examined

    Although the prospect of a successful Comcast bid for Disney has receded almost completely, we expect it to come back. The strategic imperative for Comcast to integrate with a leading content producer remains acute. It confronts a reinvigorated and very aggressive competitor in DirecTV. Satellite is rapidly draining high ARPU pay-TV subscribers from the cable companies. Increased expenditure on programming, services and marketing are the only responses possible to combat the erosion.

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    March 4, 2004

    Wholesale DSL Access Products

    Ofcom is about to issue a decision that will have a major impact on the way the UK broadband market develops. It concerns the pricing of wholesale DSL connections. The decision will be an important first signal to the market on how the newly-established Ofcom intends to deal with quasi-monopolies like BT.

  • February 19, 2004

    UK Broadband Market 2004-2006

    Broadband took off in 2003 reaching 3.1 million cable and DSL connections at the end of the year. We anticipate a further massive shift to broadband in 2004, but mainly to the benefit of DSL suppliers. DSL has twice the geographic coverage of cable, and Tiscali's recently introduced 150k DSL service is undercutting NTL's own mid-band service in areas of overlap. This report examines the intense struggle for market share being waged by ISPs.

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    February 13, 2004

    Freeview Impact

    Does Freeview, the free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) service, represent a serious and growing threat to the pay-TV offerings from BSkyB, NTL and Telewest? This report presents the results of a survey we commissioned that strongly suggests that Freeview is starting to drain subscribers from pay-TV platforms.

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  • February 6, 2004

    Mobile Location-Based Services

    Location-based services (LBS) have long been credited as a key new mobile data application destined to generate substantial extra revenues for the mobile operators. A number of consumer-focused LBS have been now launched, and in this report we examine their progress and potential, drawing on our own experience and a number of consumer studies.

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    January 29, 2004

    European DTV Trends 2003-2005

    European digital TV take-up enjoyed a mild recovery in 2003, adding about 4 million households to reach 30 million households at the end of the year. We expect the momentum to build in 2004 and 2005. This is the main conclusion of our assessment of European trends in 2003 of take-up of digital satellite TV (DST), digital terrestrial TV (DTT) and digital cable TV (DCT).

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  • January 21, 2004

    UK Mobile User Survey

    Handset sales in the UK and the rest of Europe have reportedly been strong over the last few months, with camera phones selling well. In this report we look at our most recent survey of UK mobile handset owners to investigate whether this is a result of stronger consumer demand, or whether purchasers have been responding to cheaper offers from mobile operators.

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    January 14, 2004

    Iliad

    We write regularly about Free, the French ISP that is leading Europe in unbundling local loops. Through its proprietary technology, the Freebox, Free now offers cheap DSL access, free VoIP (voice over Internet) telephone calls and a limited TV offer, over unbundled local loops. Iliad, Free's parent company, is preparing for flotation and the company has released details about its performance and plans.

  • January 8, 2004

    The Major Music Groups

    As we predicted in our last report on the music business, the end of 2003 saw the beginning of the corporate activity that the industry has been itching to carry out for a decade. In this note, we look at the major record companies' current position in the world music industry and consider how it is likely to evolve in 2004 and beyond.

  • December 19, 2003

    Vodafone: Strategy vs. Reality

    Vodafone's strategic direction appears little altered since its change of CEO earlier this year. In this report we look at the company's overall global positioning and prospects.

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    December 10, 2003

    Contracts Rights Renewal

    The Competition Commission inquiry into the proposed merger of Carlton and Granada imposed a remedy called Contracts Rights Renewal. Ofcom devised the details. We conducted a series of interviews to determine the likely effect of these new rules.

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    December 1, 2003

    The Personal Video Recorder

    So far, the PVR has had indifferent success. Despite the extraordinary enthusiasm of owners, PVRs have struggled to become a fixture in the home. This is now changing as prices fall and pay-TV operators begin to push the technology. This report examines the future of this device.

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    November 27, 2003

    Local Loop Unbundling in France

    Comparisons between the French and UK broadband market are thought-provoking. In France there will be 3 million DSL connections and 210,000 unbundled lines by the end of 2003; in the UK in October this year there were 1.5 million DSL connections and just 7,800 unbundled lines. In the first of two reports we look at how local loop unbundling (LLU) in France is changing the market outlook for incumbent and altnets alike.

  • November 18, 2003

    Music Mergers Update

    The elaborate mating dance in the music industry is nearing a conclusion. We look briefly at the main participants in the game and conclude that the Warner/EMI combination still looks likely to happen.

  • November 13, 2003

    BSkyB Targets

    BSkyB's quarterly results will be delivered on Friday 14th November. Prior to these new figures, this report gives our views on the attainability of BSkyB's medium term targets.

  • November 7, 2003

    Mobile Number Portability

    On 24th November, the FCC hopes finally to force through mobile number portability to the US market. In this report we look at the impact that MNP has had in European markets, drawing conclusions for the potential impact in the US and Japan, and the future of MNP in Europe.

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    October 27, 2003

    Consumer Reactions to 3G

    The service from '3' in the UK is one of the few examples of a 3G network in action in Europe. In this report we look at the evidence of customer experiences at 3 to determine the potential popularity of the services to a wider audience. Our sources include two studies performed by GSM operators and an NOP survey.

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    October 12, 2003

    French Pay-TV Update

    The promised turnaround at Canal+, the core asset of Groupe Canal+, the pay-TV division of Vivendi Universal, looks less certain due to sluggish growth of the French pay-TV market in 2003 to date and continued declines in the premium service's subscriber base. Rival platform TPS dramatically reduced the price of an entry-level package for the autumn, hoping to build market share at its expense.

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  • October 8, 2003

    Universal Music H1 2003 Results

    Universal Music is the world's largest music company, but has not been immune from the savage downturn in the industry. This note provides our sales projections for the company and places an approximate valuation on the business of $5bn, down significantly from last year.

  • September 29, 2003

    UK TV Viewing Trends

    This report covers some of the important developments in UK television viewing in the first half of 2003. It focuses on assessing the true number of Freeview homes, the encouraging progress of ITV2 and the potential impact of Sky's PVR. We also look at the marked slowdown in the decline of ITV1 which, for the first time in recent memory, has seen yearly audience share increases in two of the last six months.

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    September 21, 2003

    Better Than Free’

    This report sets out a programme of actions to help slow the growth of music and video piracy. For the last five years the content industries and ISPs have been in a state of almost open war as a result of rampant copyright theft, largely made possible by broadband networks. Our report, by contrast, stresses the importance of cooperation between ISPs and the content industries.

  • September 18, 2003

    Broadbanders

    This report looks at the characteristics of today's UK broadband users in order to understand (a) likely future trends in subscriber numbers growth; and (b) how usage patterns vary between broadband and narrowband customers. We carried out a large piece of market research during the summer and the results are presented here.
  • September 14, 2003

    Recorded Music

    The severity of the issues facing the world recorded music business is becoming clearer by the month. As a result, our concerns about the future of music business have increased over the last year. In this report, we examine the individual components of the revenues of the industry, including sales of physical formats and legitimate downloads.

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    September 3, 2003

    UK Cable

    The UK cable sector is now hardly covered by investment bank analysts. (It may be impossible to find anyone who isn't tarnished by having a previous ‘Buy' recommendation on the stocks.) But since NTL's return from its near death experience, its share price has performed extremely well. This note takes a close look at the fundamentals for UK cable.