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  • February 8, 2017

    Apple TV: Is video streaming taking the lead in TV consumption?

    The video streaming market continues to grow with a greater number of devices being sold year on year and the four big players in video streaming devices continue to compete for market share. We discuss the changes to consumer behaviour driving this growth and what impact this might have on the wider TV market and look further into Apple TV and how their new update has affected their position in the market.
  • February 1, 2017

    BT Q3 2016/17 results: Strong core, let down elsewhere

    BT had a solid enough quarter, with revenue and EBITDA growth dipping due to pre-warned temporary factors, consumer continuing to outgrow business, and very solid operating trends evident, especially in high speed broadband and mobile. This has of course been entirely overshadowed by the profit warning, with prospective weaknesses in UK public sector and international corporate of far more concern than the contained, albeit surprising, accounting irregularities in Italy. BT has a large share of revenue and a much smaller share of profit from corporate/government data network/IT services, which are erratic in nature and arguably in long term decline in their current form, and without major changes they will continue to be so.

  • January 27, 2017

    Netflix at 10: still growing, still spending

    Netflix celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its streaming service by posting its largest quarterly rate of subscriber growth, adding just over 7m new subscribers in Q4 2016, smashing its own forecast for the period of 5.2m.

    5.12m of the new subscribers were for its international services, attributed to acceptance of its growing suite of English language original programs. But growth is just as likely related to the bolstering of overseas offerings with acquired programming, after launching worldwide with relatively small libraries.

    While re-establishing confidence after a period of doubt when missing targets in Q2, challenges await; most notably concerns around net neutrality, diversifying content genres, and the open question as to how effectively original programming will be able to carry the service.

  • January 10, 2017

    TV set viewing trends: linear remains vital

    Timeshift viewing on the TV set has doubled since 2010, mainly due to PVR adoption. This has compensated for about 40% of the decline in live viewing, which has fallen by 19% per person on average. Timeshifting habits are widely spread across all age groups. They are proportionately higher for the young, who watch much less live TV, but are still substantial among over-55s, whose total viewing has hardly changed since 2010. Large genre variations in the volume of timeshift viewing (dramas high, live events low), and the fact that this still occurs very soon after the live broadcast, underlines the strength of the linear schedule. And, despite widespread initial concerns that timeshift viewers would fast-forward through all ads, nearly 50% of timeshifted commercials are viewed.
  • November 18, 2016

    ITV in the wake of Brexit: Q3 2016 Trading Update

    ITV’s latest update points to a weak end to 2016 in advertising sales chiefly due to rising uncertainty post-Brexit, as the 1% year-on-year decline during the first nine months is expected to sink to 3% across the full year despite hitherto positive economic growth trends. ITV claims of outperforming the TV advertising market across the first nine months of 2016 are at odds with other sources, although the likely main cause of apparent underperformance – the large fall in ITV Main share of viewing in 2015 – will not apply in 2017, as ITV Main has regained some of the lost share in 2016. Weakening sterling exchange rates post-Brexit may have fueled rising inflation, lower consumer disposal income and falling TV NAR. But, it has also boosted ITV Studios revenues from international sales.
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  • November 17, 2016

    The studio model: stay tuned!

    US entertainment groups have not been disrupted by the rise of digital media. Long running franchises drive growth across diverse sectors, starting with pay-TV and SVOD. US television advertising is rising in line with GDP, while the online video ad market is flourishing, with much appearing alongside the majors’ scripted content. Studios’ cable channels are their most profitable assets, but M&As with distribution platforms, including Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, have usually failed to deliver synergies. The Donald Trump presidency could leverage hostile public opinion towards mergers to undermine the AT&T bid for Time Warner; but it could also stimulate M&As if it granted tech companies a tax break to repatriate profits. A more protectionist administration could also bring about a less benevolent attitude towards majors’ foreign operations.

  • November 2, 2016

    Programmatic TV’s European Evolution

    Declining broadcast viewing to the TV set among younger demographics, fragmentation of video viewing across screens, the lack of robust measurement of viewing across screens and the development of online video advertising technology are altering the European TV landscape. Programmatic TV is at an early stage, but has shown its potential with increased audience targeting options and campaign automation: the roll-out of programmatic models and ad technology for European TV advertising have already prompted advertisers to see TV in new ways, beyond its core strengths in mass brand advertising. Automated ad technology can support the existing linear broadcast ad infrastructure; in addition we project a combined potential for annual increased TV ad revenue of €220-300m by 2018 in the seven markets of the study, driven by new advertiser spend on addressable TV advertising and programmatic broadcaster OTT.

  • October 11, 2016

    Advertising Market Outlook: The Digital Revolution Continues

    The Australian Advertising Expenditure market outlook report discusses the actual (2006 – 2015) and forecast (2016 – 2021) advertising revenue alongside the key drivers within the Digital, Broadcast Television, Print, Radio and Outdoor markets.

  • September 16, 2016

    BT Sport: positive first year with the Champions League

    BT Sport has seen a very clear positive impact from its first year airing the Champions League, with viewing up 60% year-on-year to June. Remarkably, its reach is now not too far off Sky Sports, though it still has some way to go in terms of consistent viewership.

  • September 14, 2016

    Untapped not tapped out -The over 50s -­ systemic consumption an [...]

    More than one third of the UK population is over 50 (over 23.6 million people) and this cohort is projected to keep growing. They account for substantial wealth, assets and expenditure. Over 50 consumers are more urban, educated, and tech-­‐savvy than the over 50s of previous generations. Given their outsize impact on the economy, influence on social trends and opportunity for brands, we believe the marketing industry underappreciates the diversity of over 50s, and their differentiated requirements. The key group in terms of potential in growth, wealth, expenditure and digital adoption are the 50-­‐65s: they are neither their children nor their parents.
  • August 31, 2016

    The matter of Peak TV, and what it means for the UK

    Whether the US has reached “Peak TV” —the apogeic volume of original scripted series—is debatable, but the mass of content being produced is unparalleled. As television continues its transition from a disposable medium to a permanent one, and an increasing number of outlets are creating original, scripted programming to keep up or differentiate, does this American explosion have ramifications for the UK consumer or broadcaster? Simply put, the UK’s more concentrated television landscape limits exposure. And, counter-intuitively, an unsustainable focus on scripted drama could play into the hands of the traditional broadcasters, whose future strength may lie in the diversity of their offering.

  • August 12, 2016

    US and UK: Cord-cutting-shaving-nevering

    Cord-cutting has become a major headache for US pay-TV operators in the last three years, while cable network channels face further erosion due to cord-shaving and we now see a rapidly growing population of cord-nevering households that have never taken a pay-TV subscription. Should we expect it to be only a matter of time for the UK to follow the US? The short answer is no, due to major differences in the pay-TV market infrastructures of the two countries, which leave the UK much less exposed. However, downward pressures from the online space do exist in both countries, while the big cord-cutting-shaving-nevering threat we now see in the UK has most of all to do with the chill Brexit winds on the economy.

  • August 8, 2016

    Sky firing on all cylinders: FY 2016 results

    FY 2016 has been an excellent year, with all three Sky markets showing improved performance as Sky delivered 7% revenue growth (5% after adjusting for 2016 being a 53-week year) and 12% increase in operating profit. The success reflects Sky’s commitment to product and service innovation and diversification in an increasingly fragmented marketplace combined with tight control of back office costs and focus on synergies. As a measure of its success, Sky has set new cost synergy targets of £400 million annual run-rate by FY 2020 and is aiming for continuing middle to high single digit growth in revenues, which should let it comfortably absorb the rising costs of Premier League and Bundesliga live televised rights under the next contracts.

  • August 2, 2016

    Steady progress: ITV H1 2016 results

    ITV H1 2016 revenues and EBITA showed double-digit growth year on year, though the greater share came from ITV Studios acquisitions of independent producers and H1 2016 was sequentially down on H2 2015, with ITV Studios accounting for most of the decrease. ITV Family NAR was flat year on year. Though Brexit has led to growing fears of a sharp downturn, ITV appears relatively well placed to handle such an outcome: ITV Main channel 7% uptick in H1 viewing share; £25 million targeted cost efficiencies in 2017; healthy balance sheet. ITV Studios revenues have doubled in scale since 2011 following 15 acquisitions of independent production companies; yet just how well the underlying business is performing organically is hard to assess due to the bumpiness of short term trends.

  • June 27, 2016

    Parents and their children online

    Cinema, TV and VOD services share the same ratings regime in the UK, giving parents confidence they can discern content unsuitable for their children. Risks to children of being exposed to unsuitable content and advertising multiply on the ‘open’ internet.
  • June 22, 2016

    Consumers and digital marketing – Challenges and tensions a [...]

    UK digital advertising will grow beyond £10 billion by 2018 by our estimates, representing more than half of all advertising spend and delivering the most advanced large advertising market in the world on a per capita basis. Nevertheless, we see critical issues in digital marketing that are frequently acknowledged, but hard to fix. At the heart of our hypothesis is the view that the marketing industry – brands, agencies and media – has focused on technology and efficiencies at the expense of consumer experience and distinctiveness.
  • June 14, 2016

    Sky plays long term with Bundesliga

    The award of the match packages in the 2017-21 domestic football rights auction in Germany is probably optimal for Sky (within the “no single buyer” constraint): it will broadcast about eight out of nine weekly fixtures including the top picks, while Eurosport’s package is complementary to Sky’s rather than substitutional. Sky will, however, pay a hefty price, with the new contract costing 80% more than the current one – although the new Bundesliga rights value is not out of line with other Continental leagues. We expect Sky’s German operations to briefly break even in fiscal 2017 before falling back into losses with a return to profit if other costs are kept under control. Management has made a bold statement of self-confidence: building scale is the priority.
  • May 16, 2016

    Facebook leans in to video

    Facebook has become the second largest online video platform after YouTube by viewing time, largely thanks to muted autoplay streams - for the moment. This is about to change as Facebook seeks to grow viewing and expand inventory with a new standalone video hub, live streams and revenue share models for professional content. Facebook’s lofty ambitions to become a destination for long-form, premium video content will be harder to achieve and less compatible with current strengths than for online news.
  • April 27, 2016

    Sky Q3 2015/16 results: Content scale is king

    Europe’s leading pay-TV operator Sky has extended its long run of strong quarterly results with revenues up 5% in the first nine months of 2016 and operating profits up 12% as Sky retains its intense focus on cost efficiencies and synergies across the group. The KPIs were largely very positive, though the churn uptick from a very low base in the UK & Ireland in recent quarters raises questions about the factors at play, while the one notable short-term uncertainty is the outcome of the Bundesliga auction during Q4. Of the big themes highlighted in the results release, Sky’s commitment to building major content partnerships at a European level stands out as it faces the growing online challenge from Netflix, Amazon et al.

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  • April 22, 2016

    Brexit risks for the creative industries

    A post-Brexit recession will cause a hyper-cyclical decline in the advertising revenues of broadcasters and publishers. The Vote Leave idea of the UK joining a free trade area for goods with the EU would sever UK access to the Single Market for services, damaging the export-reliant audiovisual group, among many other sectors of strength. Made-in-the-UK IT, software and computer consultancy services will lose eligibility for government procurement tenders once the UK is an outsider to the EU.
  • April 21, 2016

    UKTV viewing still on the rise: 2015 results

    2015 has been a very good year, with revenues up 13%, helped by buoyant market conditions, in which TV spot advertising revenues increased by 7%. EBITDA also increased by £8 million in spite of an extra £25 million spent on programming. 2015 saw UKTV overtake Sky to become the non-PSB channel group with the highest advertising Share of Commercial Impact (SOCI) delivery among adults 16+, while Q1 figures suggest the gap will widen in 2016. The horizon beyond 2016 is less clear as further revenue growth will rely much more on organic factors, in which respect UKTV’s online offering UKTV Play has much promising potential, if it can be realised.
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  • April 20, 2016

    Sky’s German breakeven hangs on Bundesliga auction

    At present, Sky exclusively holds all pay-TV domestic live rights to Germany’s top football league. The 2017-2021 rights auction will conclude in early June. It contains a new soft ‘no single buyer’ clause referring solely to online rights. Sky’s real threat comes from potential bids for the main TV packages by deep-pocketed telecom or digital platforms. This could see Sky losing games and shouldering significant cost increases. We think Sky’s German operations will break even by fiscal 2017. Beyond this, profitability is heavily dependent on the auction’s outcome. If it were to retain all live rights, Sky could afford to increase Bundesliga costs by up to 40% over the four-year period. Anything beyond this would lead to Sky making losses.

  • April 18, 2016

    Vivendi, Mediaset and the Latin strategy

    Vivendi is to acquire the main pay-TV division of Italy’s Mediaset in an all-share transaction, creating a ‘strategic alliance’ between the two groups. Each partner will own a 3.5% stake in the other. The deal is positive for Mediaset but the benefits for Vivendi can only accrue long term. Mediaset Premium claims two million subscribers and recorded €640 million revenue in 2015. However, EBIT losses amounted to €115 million and are likely to more than double through 2016 and beyond. The deal has no discernible impact on Premium’s bigger rival Sky. Vivendi and Mediaset will also jointly operate a ‘global’ online video platform and collectively develop content production and distribution. The pair’s respective assets are sizeable but domestically focused with little demonstrable international synergy.
  • April 14, 2016

    Away from home: The online challenge for PSBs

    On TV, UK public service broadcasters (PSBs) have operated within a privileged ecosystem; a guaranteed electronic programme guide (EPG) prominence placing their channels at the forefront, helping sustain their market share and spawning digital families. But technological changes within the TV set are eroding this prominence, and on devices, such structural advantages are non-existent. To confront dramatically falling mobile engagement, despite consistently excellent content, the PSBs need to collaborate and replicate their privileged linear position or they will struggle against the major SVOD players.