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  • Placeholder
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    April 24, 2003

    Freeserve versus Oftel

    Last week's decision from the Competition Appeal Tribunal was seen as a victory for Freeserve over BT. Does this mean Oftel will have to use a different approach to regulation? Does the decision herald a new era in the regulation of the telecommunications and media industries in the UK? We think not.

    Sector
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    April 15, 2003

    The Services from ‘3’

    Perhaps inevitably, ‘3' opened for business before it was really ready. As a result, its services are patchy and unreliable. Some of these problems will be overcome in the next few weeks. Others will be more intractable. Overall, we can see some potential in 3G style services, but ‘3' is far from being a competitor to existing 2G offerings.

  • Vivendi
    Vivendi
    April 13, 2003

    Vivendi Universal

    Vivendi's only agenda at this time is to effect a disposal of its non-core assets for the best price to reduce debt to manageable levels. This note casts a critical eye on prospects for sale of USA Networks (good), Universal Studios (poor) and VU Games (good), as well as the disposal and valuations for other assets such as Universal Music, Groupe Canal+ and Cegetel/SFR.

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    April 8, 2003

    ‘3’ and 3G

    With the handsets finally available and (to some extent) working, Hutchison 3G's '3' operation has finally launched in the UK. In this report we review the commercial prospects for '3' in particular and 3G in general.

  • April 3, 2003

    Wanadoo FY 2002 Results

    Wanadoo reached an important milestone in 2002, reporting its first (very small) positive EBITDA margin on its French Internet business, thanks to broadband-related revenue increases and lower narrowband and broadband access costs. In contrast, losses widened at Wanadoo's Internet properties outside France, in particular Freeserve in the UK and Eresmas is Spain, but these were more than fully offset by profits on the Directories segment. This note looks ahead to 2003, when Wanadoo expects to reach positive EBITDA on the Internet segment as a whole, thanks to continued improvement in France and tightly contained losses at Freeserve and Eresmas.

    Sector
  • March 28, 2003

    Sony vs. Xbox Live

    The recent launch of online gaming from the major games consoles makers has focused attention again on the future of Xbox. Will the online version, Xbox Live, enable Microsoft to improve its position versus Sony? Our view is that Sony's dominance of this generation of consoles will continue.

    Sector
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    March 18, 2003

    Piracy

    The troubles of the global music industry are usually assumed to derive from the growth of piracy. This report argues that physical piracy is probably no more of a problem than it has been in the recent past. Digital piracy is indeed becoming more important, but still is by no means the only explanation of declining music sales.

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    March 7, 2003

    Churn

    Little research has been done into why consumers move from one supplier to another. Churn, as this phenomenon is known, is much discussed but little understood. We carried out some research to show what types of people churn, why they do it, and whether it is an outcome of a certain type of personality.

  • March 5, 2003

    Camera Phones & MMS in 2003

    In this report we look at the sales and usage of camera phones in Europe, and estimate future sales based in part on the results of our regular survey of UK mobile users. As a consequence of these findings, we have downgraded our forecast of UK MMS revenues.

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    February 28, 2003

    Fixed Line Telecoms

    In this report we look at three regulatory initiatives to increase competitors access to the 'last mile' of incumbent monopolists: CPS and WLR in the UK, and UNE-P in the US. BT's market shares losses have accelerated in the business market due to CPS; we ask whether this will continue, whether it will happen in the residential market, and whether WLR will have an even worse effect.

  • February 24, 2003

    UK TV Viewing Trends (Issue 4)

    This issue of our regular report on TV trends in the UK looks at pay-TV subscriber numbers, the position of Freeview, and the impact of the huge expansion in the number of digital channels. Our analysis tries to clear away the fog produced by problems with BARB data over the past year.

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  • February 12, 2003

    UK Broadband & Internet Trends Q4 2002

    BT will be announcing tomorrow its latest results on meeting the target of 1 million broadband connections by H1 2003. Some difficulty could be anticipated from the slow monthly pace of connections in H2 2002, mainly due to disappointing take-up of the revolutionary ISP-less BT Broadband product (as we had anticipated), despite high levels of marketing investment.

  • February 11, 2003

    The ITV Merger

    The public debate about the ITV merger has revolved around whether the maintenance of two separate sales houses is the appropriate remedy to be imposed by any Competition Commission inquiry. We argue that the real issues are more complex.

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    January 31, 2003

    SMS TV

    Interactivity via the TV set was one of the most misguided bubbles of the late 1990s. Fancy software and mini keyboards were supposed to provide a replacement for the PC. As matters have turned out, the use of SMS to accompany TV programmes is the means by which new technologies provide a limited form of interactivity to viewers.

  • January 30, 2003

    Canal+ vs. TPS

    On 23 January, the French Competition Council dealt what is likely to be a deathblow to the ambitions of Canal+ Group to obtain exclusive rights to French Premier League football events. The Competition Council ruled in favour of TPS and ordered the 2002 competition suspended pending delivery of its final ruling.

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  • EMI
    EMI
    January 24, 2003

    EMI Music Group

    A few weeks ago, it looked as though EMI would follow Safeway into a frenzied auction in which trade buyers competed with canny buy-out funds. The rumoured interest was sparked by the steady fall in EMI's share price over the course of 2002, which had reduced the value of the entire company to close to the perceived worth of the Music Publishing division.

  • January 22, 2003

    Tracing the Decline in ITV1 Viewing

    This report picks apart the evidence on why ITV1 is rapidly losing audience share. It shows that more intense competition in terrestrial homes is the key reason, not the impact of the growth of the multichannel universe. The decline of ITV1 is across all times of day and almost all demographic groups. Can ITV turn itself around in the face of this secular decline in audiences?

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    January 10, 2003

    French Broadband: The Final Battle?

    ISPs have long found it difficult to challenge Wanadoo on its home French market successfully. Wanadoo has built a commanding lead in the narrowband segment of the Internet access market, and dominates the DSL segment. This report examines whether 2003 will be any different, and finds that, if anything, the intensity of competitive pressures is likely to grow rather than diminish as market focus shifts from narrowband to broadband.

  • December 19, 2002

    UK Handset Survey

    We have recently completed our December survey of UK mobile users, which shows increased purchase intentions for handsets in general and camera phones in particular. We summarise the results in this note, which are good news for handset manufacturers, but more mixed for the operators.

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    December 17, 2002

    UK Competition Commission Investigation Update

    In January the UK Competition Commission (CC) is expected to issue its report on the pricing of mobile termination rates, an issue that was referred to it by Oftel after the UK operators rejected Oftel's initial decision. In this note we speculate on the likely contents of the report, and the impact on the UK mobile industry.

  • December 13, 2002

    Digital Television in Europe

    This report provides our forecasts for the growth rate of digital television homes in Europe over the next three years. We split countries into four groups and predict how the numbers of households with access to digital delivery of television will change in each group. The growth in satellite delivery has slowed considerably during late 2001 and 2002. The digitalisation of cable has stalled almost everywhere. So the only major uncertainty lies in the growth of digital terrestrial homes. This year has seen the failure of two of the four existing services, but the rebirth of the UK operator, in the form of the BBC's Freeview, may herald a more successful era. First indications are that Freeview is doing well. In other countries, however, the obstacles to the growth of a free-to-air service are more significant than in the UK and we do not believe that DTT will experience rapid growth in many other countries, despite the plethora of launches planned in the next few years.

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    December 12, 2002

    Can NTL Service its new debt?

    In the next few days, NTL expects to emerge from Chapter 11, relieved of $11 billion of debt. While the long negotiations over financial restructuring have been in progress, NTL management has been conducting a huge cost reduction exercise largely out of the public eye.

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    December 10, 2002

    TF1 – The Future of TPS

    This note looks at the position of TPS, the satellite pay-TV venture largely owned by TF1 in France. We particularly focus on the issue of payments for football rights because sports rights have become the crucial ingredient in pay-TV success, in France and elsewhere.

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    December 5, 2002

    Universal Music – Valuation

    Universal Music is an important component of Vivendi's business. As M. Fourtou shuffles his cards, the disposal or flotation of Universal becomes more likely by the day and this report values this market-leading record company.