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  • November 6, 2019

    Champions League rights auction: BT’s cost-cutting opportunity

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    Champions League UK TV rights, at £394m/season, appear to have reached a ceiling, with costs on a per match basis now comparable to the more-desirable Premier League. In the imminent auction, current rightsholder BT is the clear frontrunner. Potential competitors appear reluctant: Sky Sports has thrived since losing the rights in 2015, and no other players can reasonably compete at this spend. This presents BT with a golden opportunity to rein in costs, with a view to moving BT Sport towards breakeven at an important time for the wider business, considering the financial pressure it is facing

  • November 4, 2019

    Peak football revenues and post-boom scenarios

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    Broadcast licensing revenues for football are likely to be ex-growth in the top five markets in Europe, with some limited upside from sponsorship and out-of-Europe rights. The broadcast revenue boom stoked the rise of super clubs with global fan bases, feeding player transfer valuations, and a potential downturn of the latter could magnify the impact of the revenue decline. The leagues in Italy, France and Spain are more exposed to the risks of broadcast licensing revenue decline, while the Premier League’s model looks robust

  • October 30, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Alphabet

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    Alphabet is out to prove that it is more than just an advertising business. That’s important as the company remains heavily exposed to ads, which accounted for about 86% of 2017 revenues. Yet, Alphabet is facing new competition in ads from Amazon, plus ongoing regulatory scrutiny in Europe. Fortunately the company is generating incredible amounts of cash each quarter, and now has just under $102B in cash & stocks on hand. That has allowed the company to invest heavily in its network, with capex amounting to a telco-like 17.2% of revenues over the last four quarters. Alphabet also spends another ~15% of revenues on R&D. The goal of these investments is help the company enter (or create) new markets, with less ad-dependent business models. Alphabet’s vast network infra supports the company’s cloud computing and device portfolio, as well as AI-based projects in transportation (Waymo), logistics (Project Wing), and healthcare (Verily). As a result, Alphabet’s network, IT & software capex has soared, to $8.2B over the 4Q17-3Q18 period (from $4.1B the year prior).
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  • October 28, 2019

    UK SVOD subscriber trends: who is buying and how many subs

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    With a raft of new streaming services about to hit, there remains a question as to the appetite for multiple subscriptions. Pay-TV subscribers continue to be more likely to take SVOD services—especially when they are distributed on their set-top boxes—however the average number of services per household is well below one. Greater variety and quality of services will likely increase the average number of subscriptions but given the siloing nature of these services, Netflix’s incumbency, library and distribution are its strength; new entrants will battle for a supplementary role
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  • October 24, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Alibaba

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    Alibaba, once viewed as China’s answer to Amazon, has grown into a giant since its inception in 1999. Though still just about a fifth of Amazon’s size (by revenues), Alibaba has grown rapidly and outshines Amazon in some areas. Its scale in e-commerce is impressive: (i) Alibaba ships 12 million packages a day, 4x of Amazon; and, (ii) Alibaba’s “Singles Day” has become the world’s biggest shopping event. Alibaba has invested heavily in network infrastructure to support its businesses, not just e-commerce but also cloud computing, audio/video streaming, and devices. As a result, Alibaba’s network-related demand has soared in the recent times. It now accounts for over 5% of global webscale network/IT capex, from about 1% in 2012. Alibaba’s network spend share will continue to grow, but will be reshaped by the ongoing US-China trade war.
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  • October 22, 2019

    Programmatic OOH: Coming soon to a billboard near you?

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    Programmatic advertising in OOH is still a new concept in Australia and the groundwork in terms of digitisation and audience measurement is still being laid. While, many OOH players have introduced their version of programmatic advertising, the risk of having a fragmented market with multiple proprietary systems means that programmatic OOH may fail to take off. Outdoor, or out-of-home, advertising is distinct from other forms of advertising. It is highly visible, often very large, and placed in heavily trafficked areas in order to attract as many viewers as possible. Moreover, unlike television, radio, print, internet, and mail advertising, outdoor advertising cannot be turned off, put away or easily avoided. Traditionally OOH was mostly a real estate or location play but with digitisation, it’s now becoming increasingly focused on audience targeting and improving engagement. Industry players are looking to bring additional functionality, formatting and effectiveness to advertisers beyond just digitising existing sites, along with investing in improving measurement technology to help build further advertiser confidence in out-of-home. In particular, programmatic advertising which has transformed the online advertising space could play an important role in the growth of the OOH market going forward. In this report, we explore what programmatic advertising is and the impact it could have on the OOH market. We also look at the key challenges that OOH players face and the risk of Google, a global leader in programmatic advertising, making an entry into the OOH market.
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  • October 17, 2019

    Global & Australian gaming market trends – mobile, cloud a [...]

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    Mobile gaming is now the dominant driver in the global gaming market accounting for more revenue than console and PC combined and the majority of all growth. This shift has been enabled by improvements to internet infrastructure, from stronger mobile networks to faster wireline bandwidth to better cloud-based delivery models; however, there hasn’t been a significant amount of direct monetisation by telcos, as they have only dipped their toes, at best, into this new source of demand.
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  • October 16, 2019

    Webscale Playbook: Amazon

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    Amazon has evolved leaps and bounds since its creation. From an online bookstore more than two decades ago, it has become a global internet giant that relies heavily on scale and network infrastructure for its diverse businesses. At present, the company’s businesses beyond e-commerce include physical stores, cloud computing, audio/video streaming, advertising, and devices – all of which have millions of customers/users serviced by a strong network infrastructure. The sheer growth across its businesses in the recent years has primed Amazon as one of the leading operators in the network space. Naturally, to cope up with its ever increasing network-related demand, the company is not just spending massively to shore up its infrastructure through vendor partnerships but could be mulling to build some on its own, especially on the hardware side. Below are a few key highlights from the report: As a percentage of revenues, Amazon spends more on R&D than capex, which is typical of WNOs. The gap between the two spending, however, is somewhat shrinking which goes to show Amazon’s greater efforts in building datacenters and warehouses in the recent years. Amazon also emerged as the top R&D spender among WNOs over the past two years, due to Prime Video. Amazon currently manufactures some of the network components such as routers, chips, network interface cards, and network gears to meet the growing needs of its cloud business (AWS). The internet giant, known for disruption, could foray into the enterprise networking market and sell its own custom-made hardware by 2020, taking the incumbent network vendors head-on. However, Amazon is also creating a host of new opportunities for network vendors, as it looks to disrupt different industries such as automotive (driverless cars) and healthcare (online pharmacy and heart-rate detection device), both requiring a strong network infrastructure to enable data transfers and communication between sensors and components.
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  • October 14, 2019

    Women’s sport: inching towards the UK media mainstream

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    Media coverage of women’s sport escalated this summer thanks to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which ignited national interest. The Lionesses attracted an exceptional peak TV audience of 11.8 million for England’s semi-final match against the USA. Still, coverage of women's sport remains minimal outside of major events: only 4% of printed sports articles reference female athletes. Quality press are leading the way—the launch of Telegraph Women’s Sport being the prime example—but the popular press are yet to follow. Freely-accessible coverage will generate greater interest and audiences for women’s sport, but continuous investment from all media will be needed to fulfil its potential.
  • October 10, 2019

    UK BVOD advertising: on-demand in demand

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    Broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) advertising is in demand with an £89m rise in 2018 spend to £391m, and is predicted to double within the next six years. The rise of on-demand viewing has created a scaled advertising proposition with a strong 16-34 profile – a relief for both broadcasters and advertisers, given the long-term decline in linear TV impacts for younger audiences. Big challenges remain: linear TV ad loads look excessive in on-demand, BVOD CPTs can be off-puttingly high, and measurement is still unresolved. BVOD is a welcome bright spot which faces online video competition head-on, but it won’t be able to turn broadcasters’ fortunes around alone
  • September 25, 2019

    eSports and 5G – can telcos cash in…

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    The value of the eSports market is growing rapidly with both viewers and the prize money at stake beginning to rival that of traditional sports. With 5G’s ultra-fast data speeds and minimal latencies, there is an opportunity for telcos to carve a piece of this growing market. eSports could therefore emerge as an important use case as telcos look at extracting a revenue premium from their 5G networks. eSports or electronic sports commonly refers to multi-player video games played competitively. Fans can watch professional gamers compete or play themselves. Professional level gamers compete in tournaments, which are hosted at arenas or stadiums in front of a live audience. Games are often broadcast live and many more global eSports fans watch these tournaments remotely by streaming them online. Some of the most notable tournaments include League of Legends, The International, Evolution Championship Series and the Intel Extreme Masters. Most major competitions are generally held in South Korea, Europe, USA and China however eSports tournaments are starting to gain traction across the globe. In the past few years, eSports has seen significant changes from being played in small groups, to occupying world-class stadiums which accommodate tens of thousands of fans, with many more viewers online. The value of the eSports market is growing rapidly with both viewers and the prize money at stake rivalling that of traditional sports. As the first digitally-native sport, eSports is primarily streamed online and is most popular with younger male audiences. With similar properties to traditional sport, the opportunity to engage with these hard-to-reach millennials is appealing to advertisers, traditional broadcasters and traditional sports teams alike. But while eSports viewership is growing, Australian broadcasters have had limited success which has left the door open for Australian telcos to enter this space. Furthermore, the rise of 5G could alter the eSports landscape with higher data speeds, lower latencies and next gen AR and VR gaming platforms. Venture Insights conducted a mobile consumer survey focused on consumers and their eSports viewing and playing habits. In this report, we look at the results from our survey, why and how 5G could play a role in the rise of eSports, the role that telcos could play and global trends on 5G and eSports.
  • September 17, 2019

    Cut-price iPhones: Apple’s innovative approach

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    Apple’s iPhone launch event was relatively light on iPhone, which shared the stage with games, TV, Watch, iPad and retail announcements. This reflects Apple’s developing priorities: as iPhone sales soften, it needs to find new ways to extract value from the wealthy user base it has spent a decade nurturing. Apple has embraced this new strategy, offering a range of cheaper points of entry into its ecosystem, making the lost profits back on accessories or content subscriptions
  • Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    September 16, 2019

    Spotify’s podcast play

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    Spotify is investing heavily in podcasting through acquisitions, original content and product innovation. It is under pressure to reduce dependence on record labels, whose power makes generating large profit margins difficult. Podcasts promise a non-music content genre where Spotify can capture more value. Secondary benefits abound: Spotify can take an active and lucrative role in modernising online audio advertising, it can solve the podcast discovery problem, and engagement across more forms of audio will improve retention
  • September 12, 2019

    Stakeholder management – where to from here?

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    The Business Roundtable (United States), has recently revised its ‘Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation’ and walks away from the age old ‘shareholder primacy’ mantra. This new Statement re-positions the purpose of the corporation to include a focus on all stakeholders, rather than placing shareholders above all others. We believe this represents a significant symbolic turning point and will commence the process towards a new dissertation for the ‘Modern Corporation,’ apt for living in the post-industrial age. Our report revisits this age-old debate and provides insights for technology companies living in the 21st century.
  • September 11, 2019

    In Pod we trust? The rise and rise of podcasts, and where to next

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    Podcasts have come a long way from being the pet project of some hobbyist with a handful of listeners directly proportional to the number of family members they have. But while podcasts are big news, how many people do they really reach? And how can they be monetised?
  • September 4, 2019

    Under pressure, how UK TV is changing on the screen

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    Analysis of peak time TV programming on the main five PSB channels from 2002 to today shows a decline in the number of UK dramas broadcast—predominantly due to a contraction by ITV—though this has steadied since 2010. The resolve of the PSBs to maintain the number of dramas broadcast, despite rising costs, will mean an inevitable increase in the number of repeats and cheaper programming. A number of other observations are eye-catching: a greater turnover of drama series, entertainment formats failing at a higher rate and celebrity being treated as a panacea
  • September 3, 2019

    oOh!media 1HCY19 update: temporary blip with long term outlook re [...]

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    On 26th August 2019, oOh!media reported its first half CY19 earnings update. OML’s performance in the first half was impacted by reduced ad spends during the NSW state and Federal elections, along with subdued ad spending from the Automotive and Banking segments.  
  • August 27, 2019

    FTA earnings update – could digital save the TV star?

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    Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment reported their 1HFY19 earnings last week. Both broadcasters have been investing in ramping up their BVOD platforms along with offering advertisers addressable TV and programmatic advertising solutions while the outlook for their core FTA business remains challenging.
  • August 21, 2019

    What Amazon and Uber can learn from Chinese food delivery apps

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    On 15th August 2019, Telstra announced its FY19 earnings. Falling ARPUs and NBN related impacts outweighed subscriber gains resulting in earnings declines. The Australian telco market remains competitive with nearly all sub-segments experiencing varying degrees of pricing pressure. Telstra as the market leader is most at risk as competitors increase share across different segments.
  • August 19, 2019

    Virgin Media UK: subscribers fall but ARPU grows

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    Virgin Media’s results were quite mixed, with the subscriber base shrinking in a very slow market, but ARPU and revenue returning to growth despite pricing pressure and regulatory drags. The outlook remains challenging, but market pricing does seem to be easing with no repeat of the damaging Openreach price cuts on the horizon. ‘Full fibre’ roll-outs will bring further challenges, but opportunities as well, with the accompanying focus on higher speeds likely to be a significant operational upside in the short to medium term.
  • August 16, 2019

    Sky UK Q2 2019 results: strong subscriber growth and long-term in [...]

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    Sky’s Q2 results were encouraging overall, with significant subscriber growth swinging direct-to-consumer revenue growth back to positive. ARPU declined once more, since new streaming customers are taking lower-priced products, but total revenue growth accelerated to 2.4%. EBITDA rose 20%, primarily due to the dropping out of some large one-off costs. Next quarter, Sky will begin making savings on the new Premier League rights contract, and increased football rights costs in Italy and Germany will have annualised out. Having launched Sky Studios in June, Sky is focused on producing original European content, with ambitions to double spend over the next five years, in a calibrated response to the Netflix-led race for content.
  • August 14, 2019

    BT: Temporary problems, long-term promise

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    BT’s divisions had contrasting fortunes in Q1 2019/20, with Consumer revenue growth sharply turning negative but Openreach external revenue growth accelerating to 10%, leaving the Group level unchanged at -1% and EBITDA on course to meet guidance. Consumer was hit by several regulatory and pricing factors mainly affecting mobile, and the short-term outlook remains tough, with a number of legacy pricing issues across fixed and mobile still to be resolved. Openreach is reaping the benefit of previous price declines annualizing out, allowing it to take full advantage of higher speed demand, and due to its full fibre roll-out this dynamic could persevere for years.
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    August 12, 2019

    Netflix’s US subscriber loss

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    Netflix lost 126,000 US subscribers (net) in Q2, the first time this has happened since 2011 when there was a price rise and the Qwikster debacle. This time a price rise—of one or two dollars, depending on tier—was one culprit, but the soft release schedule of big, returning original series, which usually give a bump to subscriber additions, played a part. Q3 has those series returns in spades, with Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Money Heist and Mindhunter likely driving subscriber numbers back up, but the suggestion that there is less flexibility to raise prices than previously assumed is a worry for Netflix and incoming competitors.
  • August 7, 2019

    Australian Advertising Market Outlook 2019

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    Venture Insights expects total advertising spend to grow at a 3.2% CAGR to $18.7bn in 2023. Digital, while being the largest growth driver for AdEx in Australia, will see its growth moderate in the coming years. Programmatic and addressable TV solutions, along with BVOD, will help traditional broadcasters offset part of the structural decline in television advertising.