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    April 21, 2021

    Super League, super backlash: Naked power bid over European compe [...]

    On Sunday, 12 football clubs announced they were launching a new European league with an inaugural season “as soon as practicable”. The 12 Super League clubs include six English teams (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur), and three Spanish teams (Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona) and three Italians (Inter and AC Milan plus Juventus).
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  • April 6, 2021

    Sky and football: Italian wager on aggregation

    The contract includes exclusive coverage of seven weekly games (including top picks) and non-exclusive rights to the other three fixtures, for €840 million per year. In the current cycle DAZN holds three games per week for €193 million. Crucially, DAZN has displaced Sky as the lead broadcaster, displaying a dramatic shift in strategy.
  • March 26, 2021

    Mail scoops Telegraph print advertising: Telegraph outsourcing fo [...]

    • The Telegraph’s carefully executed outsourcing of print advertising sales to Mail Metro Media fine-tunes its subscriber-first strategy
    • Consolidation and collaboration are inevitable in a highly-competitive, structurally-shrinking news industry
    • Reader-first models have emerged as the consistent theme for quality publishers, but the trade-offs, investment approaches and executions are highly differentiated
  • March 25, 2021

    A worthwhile flurry of activity? Mobile towers companies in focus

    • The wave of deal-making in the European towers sector is driven by cash-strapped telcos seeking a form of sale and leaseback financing
    • While the operators are incentivised to provide a medium-term growth trajectory for these towers companies, sustainability of that growth is more questionable, especially as 5G will not require additional base stations
    • Cellnex continues to insinuate itself into the UK market with its most recent deal signaling the ultimate unwinding of the MBNL JV. Further UK towers consolidation seems a long way off but could facilitate, or indeed be facilitated by, consolidation at the MNO level
  • March 2, 2021

    (UK) Learning from “The Independent” : Sustainability [...]

    • In a challenging media marketplace, quality online news services generated hundreds of thousands of new buyers in 2020, perhaps inching ahead of print in terms of UK household propensity-to-pay
    • But reader-first models are not only about subscriptions. The UK’s first national print title to go online-only, The Independent, has achieved operating profits since reconfiguring its cost base in 2016
    • The Independent defies many investor assumptions about news. Solutions for smaller businesses may diverge more from industry giants than is commonly expressed, and without distribution change, editorial, product and commercial transformation is slower
  • March 2, 2021

    Serie A rights auction: Sky ready for radical revamp

    Serie A held a formal auction in January where reserve prices were not met by bidders. Since then, it has entered into direct negotiations with potential buyers. Two rival deals have emerged. Reportedly, Sky is offering €750 million per year for all ten weekly games.
  • February 5, 2021

    Global Britain is born: Post-Brexit muddle

    • The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) grants zero-tariffs only to goods compliant with rules of origin, a subset of the goods previously traded freely, and dramatically raises barriers to exports, especially services, relative to the Single Market
    • UK (and EU) traders of goods must assume new onerous, costly and disruptive customs clearance procedures, also applicable to other third parties, which are certain to radically downsize trade with the EU, especially B2C e-commerce, typically single parcel
    • The UK’s initial vision of Global Britain via a pact on trade, security and defence with the US, rather than the EU, is not a priority now for President Biden, who also has a stake in the open border on the island of Ireland
  • January 15, 2021

    Roaming charges to return for some: Free EU roaming an optional e [...]

    • Lockdown 1.0 in March-April-May 2020 reduced mobility in London to 65% of its pre-pandemic baseline, swelling time spent at home. London’s mobility tracked a similar decline to Paris and New York City, all hugely reliant on public transport
    • Easing lockdowns and good weather slowly led to a mobility recovery through the summer and early autumn, but it sharply declined again after November’s Lockdown 2.0. The mobility decline was greatest in the City of London, which is more acutely affected by working from home
    • Each nation in the UK diverged slightly from September due to varying local policies adopted by England, Wales and Scotland to address their public health crises. Notably however, Lockdown 2.0 did not cause mobility to fall to the same degree as late March
  • January 11, 2021

    Serie A TV rights auction: Deflation looms

    On Monday, Italy’s Serie A issued its call for tender for its broadcasting rights for the 2021-24 cycle, covering three seasons. Bids are due by 26 January. Currently, Sky holds exclusive coverage of seven games per week with the remaining three fixtures carried by DAZN.
  • November 23, 2020

    Vodafone: Bright spots and low lights

    There are some reasons to be cheerful about Vodafone right now—small nuggets of encouragement in its H1 results and the prospect of some market repair in the UK. Annual in-contract price rises of CPI + 3.9% across the UK mobile sector could provide very valuable support
  • October 7, 2020

    European TV & video subscription platforms: Recovery from lo [...]

  • September 15, 2020

    European mobile in Q2 2020: Sounding a more cautious note

    Service revenue growth in the major European markets worsened by 3.5ppts this quarter, as a loss of roaming, prepay, and business revenues hit almost all operators. The UK was hardest hit as prepay and out-of-bundle usage was offloaded to Wif-Fi, and there was an accounting drag as a consequence of the ending of the relationship between O2 and Carphone Warehouse. Conversely, performance in the Italian market was almost flat as prepay usage was up and there was a degree of reprieve from competitive pressures from Iliad. Elsewhere, the French market was hard hit by the loss of inter-continental roaming as far back as February as China began to shut down but other fundamentals appear to be robust. In Germany, O2’s revenue trend was hardest hit but it maintained its strong net adds momentum. While the lockdown provided a break from ‘a very intense promotional environment’ in Spain, that intensity resumed as soon as lockdown lifted with particularly compelling converged bundle offers from Vodafone and Yoigo.
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  • January 9, 2020

    Bopping along the bottom: European mobile in Q3 2019

    European mobile revenues remain decidedly in decline this quarter at -2% – a slight worsening since Q2 as the full force of cuts to intra EU calls hits. There are signs that dual brand strategies may be reaching their useful limit as erstwhile premium customers shift to value. There is scope for some trends to slowly improve from here, although end of contract notifications will impact all markets before the end of 2020, with the UK first off the blocks in Q1.
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    November 26, 2019

    Turnaround still elusive at Vodafone Europe


    Vodafone continues to strike a very shareholder-friendly focus and tone but its operating performance remains decidedly muted, with revenue growth up just a touch but EBITDA growth halved. Vodafone’s drive for convergence is still costing it dearly. German mobile ARPU is down 7% and Liberty Global’s assets disappointed on their first consolidation with cashflow enhancement less than half that expected. Apart from its ill-advised convergence strategy, Vodafone is making many sensible moves and there are indications that its unlimited plans are gaining traction. With leverage tight, pressure is mounting for demonstrable improvements in the financials some time very soon.