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    December 1, 2015

    UK Digital Upfronts 2015: going mobile

    This year marked the second annual IABUK Digital Upfronts. As well as Facebook, Google/YouTube, Aol, Yahoo!, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Vice and others, several traditional media companies – Sky, The Guardian and Global Radio – participated, reflecting the rising importance of digital media and digital media buyers to their businesses. Many of the pitches were informed by the key shifts in online content: it is increasingly cross platform, driven by mobile devices and focused on video programming, and these formed the main themes of the event. A key piece of context is the rise of social media and the shift to programmatic buying, which continue to driven down pricing for all but the most valuable inventory – audience scale, high value audiences and premium content have never been more essential.

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    November 23, 2015

    YouTube Kids app lands in the UK

    The YouTube Kids app aimed at young children hands parents more control of the increasingly popular YouTube experience. Ads served to kids on the app will observe similar rules to those on broadcast TV, easily circumvented on YouTube by commercial video programming. The app will directly compete with the popular ad-free CBeebies iPlayer channel, TV channels and Netflix.

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    November 12, 2015

    Activision: the new King of the games industry

    Activision’s announcement of its intention to buy King, the maker of Candy Crush, for $5.9 billion, is a major strategic play but positions the company well as it seeks to broaden its exposure to the growing mobile games market. Activision has answered the “build or buy” question by looking to King to strengthen its capabilities in key areas: specifically mobile development, online gameplay, customer acquisition and retention analytics, as well expanding its range of revenue streams. Other mobile and online game developers are now under renewed focus as possible acquisition targets by major developers. Enders expects more acquisitions in this space in the near term.

  • November 11, 2015

    Trinity Mirror buys scale with Local World

    By fully acquiring Local World, Trinity Mirror has bought scale advantage in the local media marketplace, and accelerated a much needed growth story for digital assets. The medium term outlook for local media continues to look stormy, underlining the importance of investment in technology and new platforms for publishing, journalism and marketing, essential for longer term sustainability. Consolidation is needed to drive a more cost-effective investment phase as the transition to digital continues apace, provided the competition authorities do not interfere.
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    November 9, 2015

    Apple’s iPhone advantage

    Apple’s results underlined its status as the tech industry’s biggest and most profitable company due to the iPhone, accounting for two thirds of the company’s revenue and capturing three quarters of all smartphone profits. While the iPhone dominates the $500+ handset market, the question is how will this segment develop as smartphone penetration approaches maturity in developed markets and mobile operators restructure handset subsidies. The shift to separate airtime and device plans could increase consumer price sensitivity, but leasing plans with annual replacement, supported by the iPhone’s strong second hand value, bring the opportunity of faster replacement cycles, with upside and downside risks matched.

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    November 6, 2015

    Disruption In – Disruption is good for health

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    Our proprietary Disruption Framework has identified the Healthcare industry as vulnerable to disruption. We estimate that A$23b of A$130b (revenue) is susceptible to disruption with a proportion of this at risk with big data in eHealth, point of care testing and mHealth emerging as the key disruptive trends. We believe Telstra will lead the disruption in healthcare.

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    October 30, 2015

    FLASH – Telstra Summit 2015 No going back now

    We attended the Telstra Digital Summit and came away with the following key takeaways: 1) we finally have a Government that will promote technology as an enabler; 2) can the Internet of Things replace the mobile as our primary computing device? 3) technology companies will disrupt telcos; 4) mobile is driving the disruption in customer experience; and 5) the pace of disruption is accelerating.

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    October 29, 2015

    UK consumer perspective on Internet of Things

    The UK is a prime market for sales to consumers of IoT products with obvious and compelling use cases: wearables surf perennial social trends such as fitness and diet, while smart home solutions address energy use, safety and security. British Gas’ Active Hive Heating, first to market and the top smart thermostat brand in the UK, is facing competition from the Nest Learning Thermostat from Nest Labs, while Samsung’s SmartThings provides safety and security in the home. A substantial barrier to sales of IoT products to consumers lies in their concerns regarding the privacy and security of the personal data collected online. This data should be safe under the UK’s data protection regime, although well-publicised hacks highlight compliance issues on the part of data controllers.

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    October 12, 2015

    Ad blocking on iOS 9 – Now you see me, now you don’t

    With mobile AdEx growing at a CAGR of 205% (2011-14) and mobile ad blocking just around the corner, we believe up to A$85m of mobile AdEx pa is at risk. Publishers that are seeing increasing usage on mobile including Fairfax Media, News Australia and Yahoo!7 are most vulnerable to this disruption. In-app ads, paid content and native advertising are the three key solutions for publishers.

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    October 12, 2015

    Turnbull takes the reins

    Media reform may not be quite as near as many believe in light of Malcom Turnbull’s elevation to PM. The NBN is likely to become even more of a political football (if such a thing is possible), while government policy is likely to support innovation, start-ups and digital transformation.

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    October 5, 2015

    Amazon’s Prime Directive

    Despite dropping the Fire Phone, Amazon has upped the ante in its battle for digital media consumers, upgrading its Fire TV devices and rolling out a new range of low price and robust tablets, starting from £50/$50, squarely aimed at the mass market. As with all Amazon devices aside from the failed phone, they are conduits for the company’s media and retail services, aimed at increasing purchases and forcing other platform operators to include them. Although shrinking as a share of Amazon’s business, media remains crucial, both for direct revenue and to attract customers to Prime, its membership programme, which by some estimates now accounts for the majority of its US sales.

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    September 16, 2015

    BBC TV airwaves beyond 2026?

    The DCMS Green Paper on Charter Renewal does not mention the DTT spectrum, but the question of its future is never far away, in particular where it refers to the recent explosion of choice and poses questions about universality. The former 470-862 MHz band reserved for broadcast TV will already have shrunk to 470-694 MHz by 2022 following intense international pressure from the mobile sector. Absent a strong defence case, we cannot rule out total clearance from the mid-twenties. As things stand, replacement of the DTT spectrum by the internet will have devastating consequences for the entire TV broadcast ecosystem. Most importantly, examination of viewing trends leads us to conclude that the UK public will not be ready for at least another 20 years.

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    September 16, 2015

    Apple battles for control

    New ‘s’ versions of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus will help to maintain Apple’s grip on the high-end smartphone market. A notebook-sized iPad Pro and revamped Apple TV round out this year’s iOS device upgrade. iPhone sales may be further boosted by a new leasing plan, initially US-only, allowing users to upgrade handsets each year more easily, which also should enable the company to take a share of the used iPhone market, and could even be a precursor to an Apple MVNO. While the new iPad and Apple TV are unlikely to have a material impact on profits in the near term, they should be seen in the context of the wider battle for control of the connected office and home.

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    September 3, 2015

    UK quarterly internet trends Q2 2015

    The UK’s love affair with the smartphone continued in Q2: 85% of adults under 55 and a third of over-55s now have smartphones, which are becoming the primary method of accessing the internet, accounting for over 40% of time online. Among teens and younger adults internet usage is now higher than TV viewing, though this is still offset overall by the massed ranks of older viewers who remain glued to their TV sets. Commercial revenues derived from mobile devices still trail their share of internet usage but the gap is closing fast: in Q2, smartphones and tablets generated nearly half of consumer e-commerce transactions, while mobile ads represented 34% of internet search and display advertising.

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    September 2, 2015

    Numericable-SFR: Costs down but growth elusive

    Ten months after the acquisition of France’s SFR by Numericable, cost cutting targets appear likely to be exceeded, but the promised resumption of revenue growth may still take time to materialise as downward price pressures persist and the subscriber base has yet to stabilise. Profitability has increased faster than expected, while debt ratios look sustainable and set to decline. The challenge is to relaunch marketing while achieving the guided ambitious EBITDA margin growth. Investments, even if lower than planned, may be enough to sustain network competitiveness. The rationale for consolidation between Numericable, Bouygues and/or Iliad remains strong. But Numericable’s model looks sustainable without this. Side investments in media may at best bring political clout. The main risk stands with parent company’s Altice’s debt-finance expansion.

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    August 27, 2015

    UK internet device and consumption forecasts: Smartphones rule

    The UK is now a smartphone society: by the end of this year smartphone users will exceed the PC internet audience and by 2020 we project penetration will reach 83%. The average smartphone user now spends an hour and three quarters a day online, significantly more than the equivalent for PC and tablet, and phones already account for nearly half of all time online. We are positive on tablet user numbers, and think PCs will be resilient, especially for work users. All in all we expect connected time in 2020 to be 21 billion hours higher than in 2015, up over 35%. Commercial revenues via smartphones and tablets still lag their share of internet usage, but the monetisation gap versus the PC is closing fast: the newer devices accounted for 27% of internet search and display advertising last year, up 8ppts versus 2013, and 36% of e-commerce transactions, up from a quarter a year earlier. Consumers are already thinking mobile-first; businesses will have to follow.

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    August 17, 2015

    FLASH – Nine NRL rights deal – diamonds or stones?

    Has Nine stolen a jump on its rivals with its NRL rights deal? At A$925m only time will tell if there is a return on its investment. What we can say is: this underpins the value of sports to delivering live audiences and it reinforces that broadcasters will remain the key rights holders for the next rights cycle at least.

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    August 6, 2015

    Disruption In – Banking on disruption

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    Banks act as the intermediary between borrowers and lenders. Digital disruption is the enabling platform that connects borrowers and lenders while circumventing banks. Where banks once relied on scale (including brick and mortar infrastructure), asymmetric information barriers, regulatory barriers and vertical integration – technology is unbundling the value chain. This report is part of our ‘Disruption In’ series and uses our proprietary Disruption Framework to analyse the potential for disruption in the financial services industry.

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    July 24, 2015

    Apple Q3 2015: Watch this space

    Apple delivered strong results in Q3 2015, selling a record number of iPhones for the June quarter, though iPad sales slid dramatically as consumers switch to ‘phablets’ and the company did not provide any detail on early sales of Watch, its biggest product launch since 2010. We remain bullish both on the iPhone and the Watch’s long term potential, though the latter remains a work in progress and, like many of Apple’s existing customers, we await the next iteration with interest; by contrast the iPad may have peaked already. Rising revenue from App Store, up 24% year-on-year, as well as new products like Apple Music and Apple Pay, should continue to boost the contribution from Services, and we expect this to evolve into a more material part of the business, but ultimately it’s still all about the iPhone.

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    July 20, 2015

    FLASH – Netflix 2Q – Content and that’s the bottom line

    Netflix’s 2Q results demonstrate that original content is driving strong take-up (ahead of expectations) and with Netflix announcing an increase in original content investment (including investment into movie content for the first time), this raises the question - where might they go next and what will be the response from linear broadcasters?

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    July 16, 2015

    Telstra Air – here, there and everywhere

    We believe Telstra has stolen a lead on its competitors with the launch of Air. We believe this network will be hard to replicate and will therefore drive customer retention and acquisition benefits for Telstra. WiFi is also increasingly important to help manage network capacity pressure while providing new revenue opportunities to telcos (critical given the pressure on core telco revenue).

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    July 9, 2015

    Disruption In – Coming soon to an industry near you

    The ICT industry is undergoing significant transformation as a result of the rapid pace of innovation. We give an overview of the Australian ICT sector identifying how digital disruption is causing continued evolution. We discuss the likely impact on businesses and how ICT transformation will create opportunities within multiple sectors.

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    July 1, 2015

    A new Fox bid for Sky: when, not if

    News Corp’s original bid for full ownership of BSkyB was withdrawn because of the phone hacking scandal. It was never blocked by regulators. Had it not been for the scandal, the bid would almost certainly have been approved. With the phone hacking scandal fallout largely over and the election of a friendly government, the climate is now much more favourable to a renewed bid. With undertakings, we believe it would be approved by regulators. The increasingly global scale of TV and film distribution means the commercial case for the bid is, if anything, stronger now than in 2010. The questions are simply whether the right price can be agreed, and how high up it is on James Murdoch’s list of priorities.

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    June 30, 2015

    SVOD and telco – Frenemies or Foes?

    Video is critical for Australian telco’s growth prospects but a standalone strategy is fraught with difficulty. We believe telco’s best strategy is to be an enabler of video by partnering with video operators whether OTT and increasingly traditional (FTA offers a real opportunity as it evolves its multi-screen proposition).