TV

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  • December 2, 2020

    BBC licence fee settlement : Further cuts will wound the sector

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    On 10 November, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State (SoS) for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) wrote to the BBC to confirm the scope and the timing of the next licence fee settlement, which will cover the period from 2022 to 2027. Previous settlements, conducted without public pressure or scrutiny, have left the BBC with more obligations and less to spend on them, at a time when licence fee income is already around 30% lower than it would have been had it kept pace with inflation and not been given additional spending obligations. In response, the Corporation has undergone extensive programmes of cost-cutting and rationalisation of resources. While this has made the BBC leaner in an operational sense, there is now little fat to absorb further cuts to income. With the commitment to fixed long-term obligations such as its pension deficit, the threat remains that there will be less to spend on local and quality content, tech, regionality, and diversity, and as such, it cannot be expected that the BBC will continue to return the same kinds and volumes of value to the wider creative economy, as it is structured for.
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  • November 18, 2020

    ITV Q3 2020 results: Ads recovering, production may take longer

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    Advertising demand has risen, with total ad revenue down just 7% in Q3, and Q4 expected to be slightly up—this means ITV will be down just over 10% across 2020.

  • November 17, 2020

    Sky UK brings group back on track

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    Sky appears to have weathered the COVID-19 crisis, revealing an encouraging turnaround in its Q3 operating results, with revenue growth flat overall as each stream saw significant improvement from Q2
  • October 15, 2020

    STV: Pulling the levers for growth

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  • October 7, 2020

    European TV & video subscription platforms: Recovery from lo [...]

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  • May 11, 2020

    UK ITV Q1 2020 results – Could be worse, but may get so

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    ITV recorded total advertising Q1 revenues up 2% year-on-year (ÂŁ426 million) and in line with their 6 March (pre-lockdown) guidance, on the back of a strong February performance of +8%.  
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  • April 15, 2020

    Pay-TV resilience – How this time is different

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    When we look back at consumer expenditure on pay-TV and alternative entertainment options during past economic downturns across major countries, we find a broad confirmation of the industry’s comparative resilience
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  • April 9, 2020

    COVID-19 UK TV impact – Permanent change without interventi [...]

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    COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented decline in advertiser demand for TV, and while the steepest drop has occurred, broadcasters will feel the impact over a long period of time.
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  • March 31, 2020

    Football and COVID-19 – Avoiding meltdown

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    In a likely scenario, the suspended football season could be concluded in empty stadiums in a June and July rush, nevertheless with severe financial consequences
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  • March 30, 2020

    Coronavirus and the UK economy – Unprecedented crisis

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    To fight against the UK’s incipient pandemic, a full lockdown is in place for all but essential workers in healthcare, telecoms, food, utilities and banks.
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  • March 26, 2020

    Amazon’s Premier League performance – No challenge for pr [...]

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    Amazon aired its first set of Premier League matches in December, with proxy figures supporting reports that it attracted up to 2 million concurrent viewers
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  • March 16, 2020

    Reaching sports audiences – All platforms necessary

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    Free-to-air broadcasters, pay-TV operators and OTT services all have a role to play in serving sports audiences
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    March 11, 2020

    Disney+: Non-exclusive deal with UK Sky Q

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    Available from launch on March 24, at this stage there will be no bundling—Sky users will pay £5.99/month, either in their bill, or log-in having signed up direct from Disney—and as such there will likely be less co-promotion and prominence on the user interface than has been seen for Netflix.
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  • March 3, 2020

    The BBC: Benefiting the UK creative economy

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    A monolith within the broadcasting landscape and the greater UK creative economy, the BBC, instructed by its Charter, is a guaranteed leader of investment in local and quality content, tech, regionality, and diversity
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  • February 20, 2020

    Consumers endorse Disney’s digital transition

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    Recruiting 29 million subscribers in twelve weeks, Disney+ has stormed the US market. Furthermore, the two million gain achieved after the holidays and the completion of The Mandalorian, relatively high ARPU, and rising Hulu and ESPN+ subscriptions bode well. Conversely, booming (but expected) losses of direct-to-consumer platforms—due to increase as Disney+ launches in Europe in March—are undermining group profitability
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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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  • 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 6, 2019

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

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    Champions League UK TV rights, at ÂŁ394m/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

  • 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 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 30, 2019

    Time to liberalise UK TV advertising minutage

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    The UK TV advertising market, in decline since mid-2016, could benefit from a liberalisation of advertising minutage if Ofcom reviews COSTA and decides to make changes. Broadcasters could gain from the flexibility to devote up to 20% of peaktime minutes to advertising under the EU’s revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). Ofcom could also level the playing field between PSB and non-PSB channels, although more minutes of advertising on TV is unlikely to inverse the medium’s decline.
  • 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
  • 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.