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  • May 6, 2021

    ITV Q1 2021 results: Returning to 2019 levels

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    Total advertising revenues were down 6% year-on-year in Q1, but strong expected growth in Q2 should ensure H1 is on par with 2019, and up 26% on 2020 Coming into the first quarter of this year—following the strong end to 2020—there was little market visibility of TV advertising revenues due to the possible impact of Brexit on advertisers' supply chains, and of course the effect of the pandemic over the winter. ITV reported total advertising revenues down just 6% year-on-year to £402 million, with the market being stronger than previously anticipated. Perhaps of greater interest, however, is the outlook ITV gave for April to June, given the 43% total advertising revenue decline ITV experienced last year as a direct result of COVID-19. In contrast April was up 68% while May and June are expected to be up at least 85%. While these are certainly buoyant figures, it should be noted that this would mean H1 2021 would be on par with 2019.  
  • May 4, 2021

    Apple’s privacy rollout: A trial for regulators

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    Apple this week rolled out new restrictions on the collection of mobile user data by third-party businesses. From Monday, all apps submitted to the App Store must enable the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) program, which requires app owners to display an opt-in window  by default before tracking users across third-party sites: Apple says it will ban apps that offer users rewards for enabling tracking. Developers estimate that around 80% of users may opt out, upending advertisers' ability to follow high-value iOS users across multiple apps and services. This lucrative pool of more than a billion mobile users is more robust than ever, with Apple reporting a 66% jump in iPhone sales last quarter.  
  • April 29, 2021

    Deals not quite done: 5G spectrum auction final results

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    The main part of the second UK 5G spectrum auction completed on 17 March 2021, with the nature and number of blocks won by each operator decided, and we discussed the results and implications in End-of-line spectrum 50% off: UK second 5G auction results. This morning (27 April 2021) Ofcom announced the final results of the auction, which incorporates the assignment stage, i.e. deciding which particular blocks of very similar spectrum each operator receives, as well as announcing a proposed spectrum trade (still subject to Ofcom approval) between Vodafone and O2.  
  • April 29, 2021

    The push for OpenRAN: Careful what you wish for

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    The term ‘OpenRAN’ covers both the separation of hardware and software across different RAN (Radio Access Network, the 'last mile' of mobile networks) elements (essentially the boxes that sit next to the antenna, at the bottom of the antenna, and/or in a nearby exchange), and having open interfaces between these elements in a variety of configurations. If this is standardised (i.e. standardising the hardware/software split and the APIs), this would allow the 'mixing and matching' of different vendors within an operator's RAN; while many operators currently have more than one RAN supplier even within a single country, these are separated geographically, and on any given site equipment has to be replaced or upgraded (to 5G for example) using equipment from the original supplier.  
  • April 15, 2021

    Venture Insights NZ survey 2021: Mobile media use and telco oppor [...]

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    Venture Insights performs an annual consumer survey on mobile media and mobile gaming across New Zealand (NZ). It asks questions around video streaming that consumers use, willingness to pay services, mobile gaming, and implications for 5G and telcos. Our latest survey was conducted in March 2021 with 1,009 New Zealand respondents, and the key findings have been presented here. The survey results show that there is a significant and growing segment of consumers using mobile to watch video services, including sport. The share of respondents that never watch mobile video has fallen significantly over the last year. Further, there is a persistent opportunity for telcos to upsell 5G services to both video viewers and gamers.
  • April 8, 2021

    Venture Insights AU survey 2021: Consumer interest in mobile medi [...]

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    Venture Insights performs an annual consumer survey on mobile media and mobile gaming across Australia. It asks questions around video streaming services the consumers use, willingness to pay for video streaming services, mobile gaming, and implications for 5G and telcos. Our latest Australia survey was conducted in March 2021, and the key findings are presented here. The survey results show that there is a significant and stable segment of consumers using mobile to watch video services, including sport, that remans unaffected by the impact of the pandemic. Further, there is a persistent opportunity for telcos to upsell 5G services to both video viewers and gamers.
  • April 1, 2021

    Pandemic accelerates mobile payments in New Zealand

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    Payments has emerged as a key area of digital disruption. The shift from physical to electronic payments has seen an ever-expanding range of payment methods replacing cash. From mobile banking and contactless cards to phone payments and bespoke apps, the payment landscape is undergoing a quiet revolution. The emergence of e-commerce and proximity payment and the increasing adoption of smartphones and high-speed mobile data network have further boosted the adoption of mobile payment. Smartphone technology has lowered barriers to entry and enabled new entrants to take on traditional financial services firms by unbundling payments from account-holding and lending, and by offering more targeted products and customer experiences. Incumbent payments providers, principally banks, have responded by launching their own online payment services.
  • March 25, 2021

    Venture Insights Consumer Survey: COVID-19 boosting mobile payme [...]

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    Payment services have been subjected to significant disruption in recent years. New entrants have exploited the prevalence of smartphones to offer their own app-based payment services. Smartphone technology has lowered barriers to entry and enabled new entrants to take on traditional financial services firms by unbundling payments from account-holding and lending, and by offering more targeted products and customer experiences. Incumbent payments providers, principally banks, have responded by launching their own online payment services.
  • March 22, 2021

    UK full fibre regulation: The mist clears…somewhat

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    Ofcom’s full fibre regulation statement, released today, is largely as trailed, i.e. it allows BT’s Openreach considerable relaxation of wholesale pricing in return for building out full fibre.

    On the longer-term regulatory prospects, Ofcom continues to be fair but more obtuse than it could and should be, unnecessarily dampening investor enthusiasm. Ofcom will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to allow Openreach to offer geographic/volume discounts, using slightly contradictory principles.

    The publication and increased certainty may allow BT’s Openreach to extend its full fibre roll-out further, faster or even with external financing. The build plans of others will come under increasing question.

  • March 16, 2021

    Into the wild: Facebook prepares for a world without trackers

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    • Facebook emerged from 2020 reporting record revenue growth of 22% over the year, built on its huge volume of usage, its simple buying tools and its trove of first-party data
    • Facebook’s ability to match third-party data for targeting and attribution is also central to its success. However, Apple and Google are restricting data-matching tools like third-party cookies and mobile IDs, and Facebook is moving to minimise the damage
    • Facebook is trying to turn its sites into storefronts by launching ‘Facebook Shops’. It is also taking public stands on the use of data for advertising, and on the need for brand-building in marketing plans. These are conversations all advertisers and media owners should be engaged with
  • March 16, 2021

    Decarbonising Work

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    • Growth in the UK production sector is being driven by increased investment by American streaming services, while local broadcasters rely on co-productions to fund increasingly-expensive, high-end content
    • However, while this investment is welcome, the output is predominantly less ‘British’ than that commissioned directly by local broadcasters
    • Distinctive and diverse British cultural touchpoints are created or perpetuated by television. Current trends suggest a dilution of this, a globalisation of local content, and perhaps less relevance to British viewers
  • March 10, 2021

    DMGT reinforces consumer science: New Scientist joins Mail stable

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    The sale represents an impressive increase in value: New Scientist was offloaded by RELX in May 2017 for £17.7m (c.4.4x EBITDA), 1 an all-in sale price c.£21m.
  • March 9, 2021

    Virgin Media: Subscribers strong, ARPU tough to turn

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    • Virgin Media’s subscriber growth continues to be very strong, and it looks like next quarter’s price rise will (at worst) only stall, not stop, the renaissance
    • ARPU was hit in Q4 by the postponed price rise, and it will likely remain in decline in 2021, with regulatory pricing pressure and lockdown effects still weighing, despite firm new customer pricing
    • Nonetheless, accelerating subscriber growth is expected to drive group revenue growth positive again (helped by B2B growth), and Virgin Media’s main strategic problem—its fibre trilemma—looks like it will be dealt with after the merger with O2, expected
  • March 4, 2021

    Telco Half Year Results Reflect COVID Impact: Updated Forecast

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    Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus, Aussie Broadband, Uniti and Superloop have all announced results for the December half, with COVID19 looming large.

    The impact of COVID19 significantly affected the results. But this also means that recovery from COVID19 as immunisation programs roll out in 2021 will have an opposite effect. In this report, we have picked up some key numbers from these result announcements, and have discussed what it means for these telcos themselves, the implications for the industry in 2021, and how these affect Venture Insights’ forecasts for the Australian telco sector.

  • February 24, 2021

    Google and Facebook lay out diverging news strategies: Battlegrou [...]

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    Google is demonstrating support for news by stepping up its efforts to license content from publishers and provide unpaywalled access within its Google News app—an attempt to diffuse regulatory pressure.

    Google is reconfiguring its relationships with publishers worldwide, putting $1 billion on the table to license news content to News Showcase through a series of flat fees over a set period of time.

  • February 2, 2021

    Still the iPhone company: Apple’s record pandemic year

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    Mobility is vital to companies selling products, rather than online services. However, all regions grew double digits in the quarter, with global growth hitting a bumper 21%.

  • January 27, 2021

    CES 2021: Consumer tech show switches on to the pandemic

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    The home is now a bastion of more activity than ever before, from working to entertaining to socialising—more is being demanded of the domestic space—and in 2021 the consumer tech show offered a more holistic approach to the Internet of Things (IoT), accepting a ‘new normal’ would be centred on the home, even as the effects of the pandemic recede.
  • January 21, 2021

    Top 5 Telco Trends in 2021

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    2020 was a disruptive year for everyone, including the telecommunications industry. But as a semblance of normality emerges, change in the industry continues unabated. Our top telco trends for 2021 are:  
    1. Low end operator brands seize leadership in the consumer market
    2. Telco infrastructure comes into play as operators seek to monetise assets
    3. Government refocus on regional communications as nbn rollout ends
    4. Enterprise market shift as nbn disrupts the fibre wholesale market
    5. 5G comes into its own as handset availability surges and coverage expands
     
  • January 21, 2021

    (UK) Update 2021: COVID-19 and Mobility

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    • The UK entered 2021 in the grip of a dangerous third wave of the pandemic, despite Lockdown 3.0 over Christmas, driving down trips taken by people to depressed levels last seen in Lockdown 1.0, reducing economic activity for Q1
    • Time spent at home closely tracks the severity of lockdowns and mandates to work from home (WFH). Underpinned by the UK’s advanced digital infrastructure and services, WFH is providing resilience to Gross Value Added (GVA) creation, while staff in B2C activities are furloughed
    • The City of London is emblematic of the potential for outsourced GVA creation under WFH. Its skilled and highly paid staff are too valuable to employers to risk exposure to the virus. WFH, largely preserving GVA, will anchor the future of work
  • January 13, 2021

    Edge Computing – defining the market and business models

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    Edge computing is, fundamentally, the placement of processing and analysis capabilities near the edge of the network close to the sources of data to achieve these objectives. This deployment requires a fairly complex value chain of resources and capabilities. As a result, it is taking time for the structure of the edge computing market to emerge, and for the required partnerships and associated business models to develop. We expect this process will take years, as edge computing grows in scale and sophistication from its current rudimentary beginnings.
  • January 7, 2021

    Battery backup for telco infrastructure: options and necessity

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    The 2019-20 bushfire season has renewed the focus on battery backup for telco infrastructure. About 88% of the tower outages were caused by power failure and only 1% was were due to direct fire damage. Thus, a better power backup could have significantly improved the emergency response during the bushfires by reducing tower outages.
  • December 16, 2020

    Taking Free-to-Air TV online in Australia: opportunities and chal [...]

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    The report is designed to enumerate the key technical, commercial and equity issues that would arise in the course of such a migration, providing insights and identifying problems that would need to be addressed. Amongst other things, this requires an examination of Australia’s digital infrastructure and its capacity to support television distribution, the media and telecommunications business models that would need to be adapted, and the response of households to the changes in consumer technology that would be required. A household survey was also undertaken to inform this report, and details are included in the Appendix. The report is not a proposal that free-to-air television should entirely move to online delivery, nor is it a strategy to get there. Nor is it a cost-benefit analysis.
  • December 9, 2020

    Australian Data Centres and Submarine Cables Outlook

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    Data centres embracing a hyperscale future, driven by cloud migrations and increasing international traffic through submarine cables.
  • November 13, 2020

    Virgin Media: Subscriber growth renaissance continues

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    Virgin Media’s lockdown subscriber surge continued into Q3, as working-from-home highlights the importance of the faster speeds its network can offer.