Media

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  • February 12, 2020

    BT: Searching for the nadir

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    BT had a weak December quarter, with revenue falling 3% and EBITDA 4%, despite a recovery at Openreach, mainly driven by tough competition and regulatory hits, with operating metrics solid but not noticeably improving. These hits look set to continue, so the company’s hopes of a return to EBITDA growth in 2020/21 probably hinge on brand and service improvements actually becoming visible in operating performance. A successful full fibre roll-out would be a boon for BT in the longer term, and regulatory developments are headed in the right direction, if not quite there yet. However, its affordability without a dividend cut remains questionable in the current challenging environment
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  • February 11, 2020

    Subscription BBC?

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    The Government appears set on reducing the scale and scope of the BBC by dismantling the licence fee, and in its place pushing for subscription or making payment voluntary, without any evidence of the likely impact. DTT – the UK’s largest TV platform – has no conditional access capability, and so implementation would require another costly and long-term switchover. A voluntary licence fee would inevitably lead to a huge reduction in income. If just those on income-related benefits were not to pay, the shortfall would be over £500 million – in addition to the £250 million the BBC will be funding for over-75s receiving Pension Credit
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  • February 10, 2020

    Webscale Playbook: Facebook

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    Facebook has grown through leaps and bounds since its inception 15 years ago, to currently become the world’s most popular social networking company with 2.3B monthly active users. When Facebook launched in February 2004, several other social networks such as Friendster (2002), MySpace (2003), and Orkut (Jan 2004) were already in the fray, triggering notions that Facebook would meet a similar fate as its peers – some of which are now defunct or are dying a slow death. Further uncertainties creeped in with its IPO going bust in 2012, reflecting doubts over its long-term worth. Fast-forward to 2019 and Facebook now has a market capitalization of over US$540B+, US$58.7B in annualized revenues at the end of 1Q19, and has become a force in advertising to reckon with, just after Google in the US.

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  • February 4, 2020

    Winners and losers as the UK fibres up

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    The speeds made possible by full fibre build are unnecessary for most users in the short term, giving limited commercial advantage to those that can offer them, but are likely to prove essential in the medium/long term. The economics of full-scale, independent alternative networks look very challenging in our view – especially without the support of Sky – although there are some limited arbitrage/cherry-picking opportunities. The Openreach full fibre model makes economic sense under Ofcom’s proposed regulatory framework, provided it retains the lion’s share of the market, although considerable risks remain
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  • February 3, 2020

    2020 UK advertising forecasts: Robust growth despite the soft eco [...]

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    We predict 4-5% growth in advertising expenditure on UK media in 2020, driven by double-digit growth of pure play online, expected to reach 58% of total spend this year, up from 55% in 2019. The outlook for the economy in 2020 is more positive than in 2019 because the risk of “crash-out” has given way to a more hopeful prospect of an EU-UK free trade agreement by the end of the year
  • January 30, 2020

    Top 5 Media Trends in 2020

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    The 2010s have been an extraordinary decade in media, demonstrating the speed of disruption in the media industry and the need for market participants to constantly innovate to stay relevant and unlock new sources of growth. So, what can we expect to be the top trends to arise in 2020? At first glance, we expect: 1. The SVOD wars to continue to fragment the media industry 2. BVOD will become a centrepiece of the ‘Total TV’ ecosystem 3. Ephemeral social media will see exponentially growing revenue 4. Podcast revenues to grow due to improved infrastructure enabling effective monetisation and a simplified listening experience for greater adoption 5. Pushback against tech giants to create a more level playing field between local and global players This report explores these trends in greater detail and how they will impact the media landscape.
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    January 28, 2020

    Signs of life in UK property market: Property portals and classif [...]

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    This is the first of three reports on the classified verticals of property, autos and jobs. This section describes the overarching transition from Digital 2.0 to Digital 3.0 business models (see next page), then turning to trends for specialist property media in 2019 and 2020.
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  • January 28, 2020

    Peacock: the future of ad-supported TV brands?

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    Comcast’s new, on-demand service, launching in April, is an attempt to break NBCU’s unsustainable dependence on sales to Netflix and other SVODs. Peacock provides a path of digital transition for advertising-funded TV with a revamped low-load, high cost-per-thousand model. Reach will be built with a free online tier and distribution to Comcast subscribers. Peacock seeks carriage from other pay-TV operators, with which reciprocal deals would make sense (i.e. HBO Max on Comcast alongside Peacock on AT&T’s platforms. In Europe, where Comcast has no existing major free-TV offering to transition, launching Peacock will be challenging but could present Sky with ideas to counterweigh Netflix on its own service
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  • January 23, 2020

    Can’t spell Media without AI – AI in Media and Video Consumpt [...]

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    Australians love their video content, but as the infamously high piracy of Game of Thrones has gone to show, we don’t like to pay ridiculous amounts for our weekly fix. New entrants in the video market have heeded the call for more affordable content in Australia with the launch of multiple SVOD services in recent years, including the recent announcement of the Disney+ November 2019 launch in Australia. However, overall market growth has been – and will continue to be – relatively stagnant as SVOD replaces incumbent video entertainment platforms.
  • January 22, 2020

    Subscription game services: moving beyond core gamers

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    Subscription game services will finally allow platform owners and developers to deliver truly accessible gaming experiences for all, across devices, at a lower entry price point, and curated to ensure consumer safety—both in terms of cost transparency and content types. Consumer comfort with subscriptions should be embraced by the games industry and has already started in mobile. Apple’s Arcade subscription is the test case, providing focused all you can eat games that minimise exposure to violent gameplay, and the ‘free to play’ wild west. Core gamers remain the most vital and profitable games customer segment, but they have been overserved and are an obstacle to broadening the reach of games. Now is the time to move beyond this group, to restructure, expand, and normalise the games market in the next decade.
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  • January 15, 2020

    Video Entertainment Market Outlook

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    We forecast the Australian video market to remain flat at about A$5.8bn through to 2023 even as the mix of revenues and consumption changes from traditional video to digital video platforms. While we don’t expect the size of the video entertainment market to change materially, we forecast household spending on video to decline gradually driven primarily by the revenue deflation from traditional to digital platforms. The launch of multiple new SVOD platforms in 2019 and 2020 will increase the competitive pressures on traditional platforms and accelerate the shift away from linear viewing. 

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    January 14, 2020

    Netflix: churn, content release and marketing

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    Netflix’s US business provides an insight into the patterns of the subscriber take-up of a maturing streaming service, trends that the comparatively nascent international markets may yet have ahead. Through analysis of the relationship between Netflix’s churn, subscriber additions, marketing spend and content release schedule, a clearer view of the rhythms of the streaming business become apparent. Rising churn, and correlation—such as the emphasis on returning original series during the year’s turbulent second quarter—gives guidance on Netflix’s likely future course, including its use of debt.
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  • December 16, 2019

    The ayes have it: DMGT scoops the i

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    Low-priced quality tabloid the i has been bought by DMGT for £49.6m, a 4.5x multiple on historical operating profit. The sale provides a lifeline to JPI Media as Reach has withdrawn from negotiations for the local estate. The i signals growing confidence in consumer media at DMGT after a long period rebalancing the portfolio towards B2B, and new ownership serves as an opportunity to rethink and drive the i’s online service. Although the acquisition will be reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), we expect the deal to pass
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  • December 9, 2019

    Prime Video Channels: part of Amazon UK’s bigger picture

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    Amazon Channels’ aggregation of third-party streaming services enhances the consumer appeal of its wider video proposition, provides incremental revenues and increases the stickiness of the Prime shopping service. Content partners range from major players (e.g. Discovery and ITV) to the more niche (e.g. MUBI and Tastemade), who all benefit from a ready-made platform, billing relationships and a receptive subscriber base. But the revenue shares, data costs and lack of direct customer relationships remain too high a price for some. Two and a half years on from its UK launch, opportunities for live, ad-supported and bundled content are diversifying the platform, but Amazon must prioritise discovery within Prime Video to continue to flourish.

  • December 2, 2019

    Champions League senses end of growth cycle

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    With pay-TV competition faltering, UEFA is aiming to stimulate demand for 2021-24 TV rights with early auctions, a possible relaunch of FTA broadcasts, and even, unrealistically, by considering an online service of its own. In the recently completed UK auction, facing no major threat from Sky, BT kept the rights at an almost flat price – probably missing a cost saving opportunity. In the upcoming auctions on the Continent, with former buyers such as SFR, Mediaset and Vodafone having cut back on premium sports, the major platforms’ bids will probably be unchallenged

  • November 27, 2019

    Australia Out-of-Home Market Outlook

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    The Australian Out-of-Home (OoH) market has been growing continuously for the past eight years at a CAGR of about 9%. Going forward, we expect the OoH market to grow at a 5.4% CAGR through to 2023. This growth will be primarily driven by growth of Digital Out-of-Home, which will be further driven by improving programmatic advertising and new and innovative audience targeting solutions. We forecast that Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) will grow at a 14.3% CAGR from 2018 to 2023, reaching A$869mn by 2023 and representing 76.5% of the overall OOH advertising expenditure, while Physical OOH will decline at a -9.2% CAGR from 2018 to 2023, reaching A$275mn by 2023 and representing only 23.5% of  overall OOH revenues.

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  • November 26, 2019

    Local UK media at a crossroads: from incremental to radical innov [...]

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    Local newspapers are often identified as the most disrupted of all media. The impact of declining news media has widespread implications: for the healthy functioning of democracy, community and social cohesion as well as for local business and trade. In this report we look briefly at the existential state of local news media, and spell out a radical new approach that would require a complete rethink of local journalism and its commercial and operating models. We reimagine local media as a start-up would, rather than as incumbents with expensive models to maintain.
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  • November 25, 2019

    Sky UK Q3 2019 results: balanced, but more to come?

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    While Sky’s overall revenues continue to rise, Q3’s growth was hampered by a significant fall in advertising revenue and to a lesser extent a slowdown in content sales. Underlying EBITDA growth was in the mid-teens. Next quarter, Sky will continue to benefit from lower Premier League rights costs versus last season, and profit appears on track to meet full year guidance. Q3 saw a rare decline in Sky’s total number of customers due to the conclusion of Game of Thrones. Sky clearly understands the value of unique content—recently extending its HBO deal. In our view, this was essential, since without a distribution deal for Disney+ (launching in the UK in March) Sky would lose Disney’s alluring content.

  • November 20, 2019

    Consumer magazine publishing in the UK

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    Long-known market trends have become even more accentuated: circulation decline is -13% (consumer spend decline is c. -3%); print advertising is down -12%, with online advertising spend up a mere 1% (see pages 3, 11)

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    November 18, 2019

    Free video! Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock in a rush for [...]

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    New SVOD entrants are prioritising reach over revenue in the US with extensive ‘free’ offers, including Apple TV+ (to hardware buyers), Disney+ (to Verizon customers), HBO Max (to HBO subscribers) and Comcast’s Peacock (to basic cable homes). This is the latest development in an unfolding global story of partnerships, continuing on from multiple Netflix and Amazon distribution deals with platforms, bringing benefits to both parties. In Europe, Sky faces price pressure, but it has secured its HBO partnership and can now talk to Disney from a position of strength.
  • November 14, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Baidu

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    Baidu, often referred to as “China’s Google”, is embarking on a new journey to pursue growth outside its core search and advertising business. That’s vital as the online advertising business is maturing, yet Baidu continues to rely heavily on it (80% of 2017 revenues).
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    November 12, 2019

    UK’s TI Media goes back to the Future

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    Specialist publisher Future has offered £140m for generalist TI Media’s 41 brands, which will give Future 220 global brands upon expected completion in Spring 2020. The acquisition, which includes wholesaler Marketforce, is contingent upon shareholder and CMA approval. Future is the darling of publisher stocks, pursuing an energetic growth and scale strategy, and diversifying revenues through digital and experience innovation. How Future’s culture of experimentation and optimisation will work with TI Media’s more general portfolio is an open question. Only time will tell if the overall portfolio balance will work.
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    November 11, 2019

    UK’s BT: Bumps on the road to recovery

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    BT suffered a weak Q2 with revenue and (particularly) EBITDA declines accelerating, but this was mainly down to timing (particularly at Openreach, which will likely recover in Q3), with the company confident in maintaining full year expectations. BT’s fixed broadband business enjoyed some recovery as the pricing environment improves, but will suffer another price timing bump next quarter, and its mobile business is suffering from a tough market environment that is unlikely to improve in the short term. The company is busy re-branding, re-positioning and transforming, but the outlook for football rights costs and fibre roll-out regulation will dominate in the short term, and further bumps (such as the Virgin MVNO contract loss) may emerge.
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  • November 8, 2019

    Streaming wars and the future of Foxtel

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    Up until a few years ago, Foxtel has enjoyed an uninterrupted run as the monopoly premium Pay TV provider in Australia. But the arrival of international SVOD players and the rise of local challengers has made a dent in Foxtel’s business.We believe the challenges that Foxtel faces are structural in nature and Foxtel could find it tough to recover lost ground.