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  • March 22, 2019

    BritBox’s muted arrival in the UK: ITV FY 2018 results

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    After the heights that Love Island and the World Cup took ITV to in H1, the broadcaster held on over the tougher last few months of 2018 to see growth in ad revenue (0.8%) and total viewing (linear and VOD, 3%). However, it was the announcement of the subscription video service BritBox—with the discussions around the “strategic partnership” with the BBC in its concluding phase—that garnered most interest. ITV’s investment in the service is modest when compared to its global competitors—up to £25 million in 2019, £40 million in 2020 and declining thereafter—but it is a prudent low-risk entry into what is an expanding but difficult market.
  • March 19, 2019

    UK online advertising: Brexit year forecast and trends

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    UK online advertising spend continued its double-digit growth in 2018, up 11% to reach nearly £13bn in annual spend or 58% of the total advertising market, but a no-deal consumer downturn could nearly stop growth this year. Google, Facebook, Amazon, professional services firms and the largest marketing cloud companies are the biggest winners, while content media, media agencies and independent advertising technology firms languish. Self-regulation has improved as pressure mounts on advertising technology firms, but interventions by both privacy and competition authorities are now inevitable.
  • March 15, 2019

    TikTok’s challenge to Western social media

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    Launched to the world in September 2017, TikTok is the first Chinese app to pose a serious threat to Western social media companies as it attracts hundreds of millions of Generation Z users around the globe. Privately-owned parent company Bytedance earned $7 billion in online advertising revenues in 2018 and is valued at $75 billion, placing it ahead of Uber as the world’s most valuable internet start-up, with an IPO likely this year. Bytedance’s goal of earning half its revenue outside China by 2022 is far from certain. In order to hit the target, TikTok will need to attain super scale with best-in-class revenue per user, an unlikely combination.
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  • March 12, 2019

    The future of UK video viewing: forecasts to 2028

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    Linear TV is still a mass market medium, watched by 90% of the UK population each week. However, our latest viewing forecasts predict broadcasters will account for two-thirds of all video viewing in 2028, down from c. 80% today, due to the relentless rise of online video services. Total viewing will continue to increase as more short-form content is squeezed into people’s days, particularly on portable devices, but the key battleground for eyeballs will remain the TV screen. The online shift has already had a huge impact among younger age groups, with only 55% of under-35s’ current viewing to broadcasters. Older audiences are slowly starting to follow suit, but have a long way to go.
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  • March 11, 2019

    ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry – more regulation on the hor [...]

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    Google and Facebook have made their submissions relating to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry. Both tech giants have focused their attention on the ACCC’s recommendation for the need to establish an "algorithm" regulator. If implemented it will have major consequences to the tech giants and potentially other players.
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  • March 8, 2019

    GDPR tested on Google, ad tech and Facebook

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    Recently issued regulator rulings on Google, ad tech companies and Facebook challenge prevailing online advertising practices of obtaining user consent under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Rulings from France on Google and ad tech partners of media owners called them out for inadequate disclosure to users, and excessive merging and processing of data. In a landmark precedent for Germany, the Federal Cartel Office found that Facebook lacked “freely given” consent from users, calling its terms “exploitative” and an abuse of its dominant position, also harming competitors.
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  • March 6, 2019

    Sports SVOD – Can Foxtel deliver a KO?

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    Of all the video content genres, sport has the best reputation for delivering audience reach and a large number of viewers for traditional TV operators. But the rise of Sports SVOD and OTT platforms is threatening to undermine the established order. Foxtel has launched its standalone sports streaming service – Kayo Sports and signed up 100,000 subscribers within the first 3 months of launch.
  • March 1, 2019

    The Next solution to ecommerce

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    Consumers have more shopping options than ever, forcing businesses to expand how and when they offer services. Online giants Amazon and Alibaba are adding physical retail to extend their routes to market. Omnichannel provides consumers an enhanced, seamless brand experience from research and discovery to purchase, delivery and after-sales, and allows businesses to react to changing consumer preferences more flexibly. Next is an omnichannel success story, introducing 48-hour home delivery in 1988 and online sales in 1999. Its market-leading fashion ecommerce business offers lessons on the future of retail.
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  • February 27, 2019

    The price is right for UK’s national newspapers

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    The average cover price of national newspapers has risen by 58% since 2010, more than twice the CPI increase of 22%. Are publishers “shooting themselves in the foot” at a time when buyers and advertisers are defecting to online?. To settle this, we analysed all the cover price events by national titles between 2010 and 2018, which reveals the relative success of The Times when it has raised its price. For mid-market and popular titles, cover price hikes have on balance reduced circulation revenues and, by lowering reach, drained advertising revenue: a lose-lose scenario.
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  • February 27, 2019

    oOh!media CY18 update: market outlook remains strong…

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    On 25th February 2019, oOh!media reported its full year CY18 earnings update.Venture Insights forecasts strong growth for the OOH market. oOh!media reported strong earnings and looks set to benefit from the ongoing momentum in the OOH space albeit with some short-term slowdown due to the elections.
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  • February 26, 2019

    Seven and Nine 1H19 update – increasing share in a declining ma [...]

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    Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment reported their 1HFY19 earnings last week. With a challenging environment for the core FTA business, traditional broadcasters must focus on improving audience share, driving new audience growth through digital content offerings and taking costs out of the business.
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  • February 22, 2019

    BT Global Services: Playing a bad hand as well as it can

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    BTGS’s strategic plan seems like a sensible move in a very challenging market but it heralds its transition to a new operating model where its competitive advantage is largely eroded, its addressable market squeezed and it is arguably sub-scale. Although hybrid infrastructure and revenues from transition to cloud-based IT will provide something of a cushion, guidance and consensus forecasts are too optimistic in our view – cost-cutting plans are therefore likely deficient. Longer term, with IT services increasingly easy for corporates to manage themselves, diminished appetite for hybrid networks and global giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google squeezing out the middle-man, the space that BTGS occupies is likely to be considerably smaller.
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  • February 22, 2019

    Time to create an addressable UK TV market

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    Addressable linear TV advertising, where precision-targeted ads overlay default linear ads, could enhance the TV proposition for advertisers, agencies and viewers, benefiting all broadcasters. In the context of dwindling linear viewing and rocketing online video ad spends, the adoption of Sky AdSmart and similar services on YouView and Freeview could take addressable TV ads from a sideshow to a pillar of revenue. Addressable linear is a bigger and more strategic prize for broadcasters than BVOD ads. Sky holds the key to wider adoption of its AdSmart platform if it can find a way – or a price – to bring ITV Sales and/or 4 Sales on board.
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  • February 21, 2019

    BT Q3 2018/19 results: Openreach stronger than it looks, but Cons [...]

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    BT’s Q3 results were a little mixed, with mobile particularly weak, but the company remains on track to meet/exceed its (fairly conservative) guidance for the current year, and hit (modest) consensus expectations for 2019/20. Openreach was very weak at the headline level (-9%), but stripping out an accounting effect and internal revenue the division grew by 2% by our estimates despite significant price cuts, and full fibre roll-out is progressing well. While Openreach should accelerate this year, Consumer will be hit by a price rise holiday and slowing mobile, with investors likely having to wait for existing sports rights contracts to play out to see significant profitability improvement.
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  • February 20, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: January 2019

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    January was a rather quiet month in the Australian M&A space, with the ELMO Software/ BoxSuite’s binding sale agreement as the only major transaction. The launch of 5G networks in Australia continues with the results of the 3.6GHz spectrum auctions, though TPG will scale down its deployment due to the Huawei equipment ban.
  • February 19, 2019

    Domain 1HFY19 update: pricing power and depth penetration save th [...]

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    On 15th February 2019, Domain reported its 1HFY19 earnings. Pricing power, depth penetration and adjacent businesses drove revenue growth in an otherwise tough housing market while weakness in print meant overall revenue growth was flat YoY.
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  • February 15, 2019

    European pay-TV: Resilient in the face of SVOD’s growth

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    Across the EU4, pay-TV is proving resilient in the face of fast growing Netflix (with Amazon trailing), confirming the catalysts of cord-cutting in the US are not present on this side of the Atlantic. Domestic SVOD has little traction so far. France's pay-TV market seems likely to see consolidation. Meanwhile, Germany's OTT sector is ebullient, with incumbents bringing an array of new or enhanced offers to market. Italy has been left with a sole major pay-TV platform—Sky—following Mediaset's withdrawal, while Spain's providers, by and large, are enjoying continued growth in subscriptions driven by converged bundles and discounts.
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  • February 14, 2019

    UK Cairncross: platforms intervention to save news

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    The Cairncross Review has now reported on the tough question of “how to sustain production and distribution of high quality journalism in a rapidly changing technology environment”. New codes of conduct for the platforms and publishers are the Review’s key policy recommendation. In particular, the Review addresses the sustainability of public interest, including local, journalism. This news is important for democracy, but expensive to do well, not particularly popular and most sabotaged by an online ecosystem that rewards traffic over quality. This is a landmark public intervention, but implementation will be critical, even if there is no silver bullet – platforms, publishers and citizens need to rise to the challenge.
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  • February 11, 2019

    REA Group 1HFY19 update: growth in a challenging environment

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    On 8th February 2019, REA Group reports its 1HFY19 earnings. Core Australian business continues to drive earnings and revenue growth in spite of a tough macro environment but a write-down in the Asia business impacted earnings for 1HFY19.
  • February 11, 2019

    UK TV set viewing trends: linear audiences tumble in 2018

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    2018 was another bad year for traditional TV set viewing of broadcast channels, with a 5% decline year-on-year—its steepest since 2011. The decline accelerated among most demographics, but particularly for 16-34s, down 13% YOY from their already relatively low levels of TV viewing. Unmatched use, which includes viewing to Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, continues to grow, up 16% YOY, with both linear viewing and unmatched use becoming increasingly solitary activities. While heavier linear TV viewers are accounting for a greater proportion of linear TV viewing, it is the lighter TV viewers that are accounting for a greater proportion of unmatched use. Within the broadcast ecosystem, ITV had the strongest 2018 thanks to the FIFA World Cup, more Coronation Street, and Love Island. Most other broadcasters struggled in terms of viewing share, but the maturity of the market means major shifts continue to be rare.
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  • February 6, 2019

    UK Retail news update for January 2019

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    The volume of retail sales (excluding fuel) rose 2.6% for the year 2018, thanks to improved consumer sentiment on the back of the Royal Wedding, FIFA World Cup and warmer weather. With no special events in 2019, the environment for retailing will be bleaker, with or without no-deal Brexit. December retail sales volumes rose 1.7% year-on-year, less than half the pace of November, as consumers shifted spend to Black Friday/Cyber Monday. We predict the trend will amplify in 2019, as consumers increasingly target their spending on discounted products, with direct implications for the timing and nature of advertising. The value of retail sales (excluding fuel) was up 4% in 2018 as a whole, masking the tale of woe on the high street. Offline sales fell 1%, while online sales boomed, growing 14% in value, a structural trend for 2019.
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  • February 4, 2019

    Sky UK Q4 2018 results: accelerating growth

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    Sky’s revenue growth under Comcast appears to have accelerated since it last reported as an independent company, largely driven by sports rights expansion in Italy, which also drove bumper subscriber growth in Q3 2018. Sky UK likely enjoyed a steadier performance, helped by accelerating high speed adoption, a price rise in April, increased international sales, and improving premium channel adoption on third-party platforms. Comcast expects continued acceleration into 2019, with profitability taking a hit from increased sports rights in Italy in H1, but this is more than compensated for by reduced English Premier League rights costs in H2.
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  • February 1, 2019

    Netflix’s local content push in the UK

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    With the UK perhaps Netflix’s most valuable market outside the US—home to a stellar production sector—the streaming service is escalating its foray into local production, opening a content hub in London and moving from co-productions to direct commissions. As UK content completely dominates UK video viewing outside of the SVODs, to expand subscription reach Netflix is endeavouring to become an alternative to the PSBs’ entertainment output; this local spend is efficient given the universality and worldwide appetite for British content. With a growing proportion of local content expenditure now coming from Netflix and other SVODs, there are ramifications for both broadcasters and producers—loss of viewing, potential market pressure, increased competition for premium content and hesitancy around their own SVOD plans—along with implications for the cultural landscape.
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  • January 21, 2019

    UK advertising spend: Brexit year forecasts

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    Our central case forecast with orderly EU withdrawal predicts 2.7% growth for total UK advertising spend, down from 4.7% in 2018. We have a no-deal Brexit scenario that predicts a smaller advertising recession than in 2009, with total ad spend declining 3% and display down 5.3% in 2019. The total advertising figures partly mask the pressure on UK consumers, through an expansion of the measured advertising spend universe. This is due to significant self-serve online advertising growth by SMEs, and non-advertising marketing budgets moving to online advertising platforms. In a downturn, we’d expect advertisers to become more tactical, which would disproportionally affect display media including TV, which is further affected by declining commercial impacts among younger adults. Search and social advertising would see only small growth through the first year of a recession.
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