UK Media

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    October 26, 2015

    ITV acquires UTV TV – where next?

    The launch of UTV Ireland in the Republic has proved less than successful for UTV Media and has led to its divestment and that of its Channel 3 licence in Northern Ireland. ITV has bought UTV Television for £100m cash and will own 13 of the 15 regional Channel 3 licences, though we do not see a play for STV in the medium term. UTV Media is now able to fully focus on its main profit centre – its growing radio business in the UK and Ireland.

  • August 24, 2015

    Music Publishing in the UK 2014-17

    The UK is the top music publishing market in Europe, at £428 million in 2014, despite being second to France and Germany for collections, because mechanical royalties for the reproduction rights (CDs, vinyl, digital) flow only to music publishers, while performance royalties are shared with writers. Thanks to the recovery of the UK economy that started in 2013, royalties from performance on radio, TV and in public have risen more strongly in recent years than in the difficult period of the recession 2008-10, providing a more promising context for sustained growth of the performance component of music publisher revenues. For online royalties, which accounted for 12% of music publisher revenues in 2014, the withdrawal by major music publishers of their rights to Anglo-American repertoire has shifted licensing to SOLAR, a joint venture of PRS for Music, STIM, and GEMA, also offering an aggregated repertoire and copyright administration services. This makes PRS for Music a leader in the development of multi-territory licensing of digital music services.

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    July 30, 2015

    BBC Green Paper: red alert on funding

    The DCMS Green Paper on BBC Charter Review promises a nit-picking examination of all the BBC does, where the focus will be on how to redefine its mission as well as reform and/or improve BBC services in the internet age. A central theme is the scale of the BBC. The Green Paper underlines the “dramatic” expansion of BBC services in the last 20 years, and questions whether there is still a need for the current breadth and universality of the BBC’s offering in the online world of greatly expanded choice. Among the future BBC funding options laid out in the Green Paper, the suggestion of a mixed public funding and subscription model raises serious concerns with regard to its potential negative impact on the commercial television sector.

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    July 28, 2015

    UK consumer books: a tale of two markets

    Consumer ebook sales exploded after Amazon launched its Kindle in the UK in 2010, but growth rapidly slowed, and disruption was limited by genre, creating parallel ebook and physical book markets. Compared to the relentless downward spiral of music purchasing, these trends have been heartening for publishers and booksellers, but there are signs that slower, more complicated and insidious disruption is emerging. Decades of steady, albeit slow, growth in total book sales have been reversed, as consumers spend more time on a variety of mobile-delivered services, including some in classic content categories for books.

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    July 15, 2015

    BBC to pay for the over-75s

    The recently elected Conservative government took less than a week to negotiate a licence fee settlement with the BBC immediately prior to Charter Renewal in which it will offload the government’s over-75s licence fee subsidy on to the BBC in return for various financial benefits. But, there are strings attached to a financially poor settlement, making it very difficult for the BBC to protest in the run-up to a charter that promises a major diminution in its ability to contribute to the UK creative economy. The only possible gainers are the commercial media, though the benefits may prove much less than some anticipate, however pleased the newspaper publishers may be by the Chancellor’s criticism of the BBC’s “imperial ambitions” in online news. Much more to be feared is the likely negative impact on the UK TV production sector.

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    July 13, 2015

    The plight of the BBC post-intervention

    Last Monday’s (6 July) announcement by the Secretary of State marks the second major direct intervention by government without recourse to public consultation in the financing of the BBC throughout the corporation’s history. The previous occasion was 2010. As in 2010, the government has interfered by top-slicing the BBC’s licence fee revenues. We estimate the current annual top-slicing component that will appear in the annual accounts for 2014/15 (BBC year running from April to March) to be in the region of £525 million, including funding the BBC World Service for the first time (est. circa £245 million). By the time the BBC fully absorbs the over-75 subsidy (worth £608 million) in 2020/21, we are looking at a total revenue impact of circa £750 million; that is without taking inflation into account.

  • July 6, 2015

    Content marketing: publishers’ saviour?

    Brands are investing more than £5.2 billion a year in content strategies, £1.2 billion of it with consumer media, and investment is growing at 25% per annum, massively outstripping growth in traditional advertising. Content marketing defies the broader direction of travel in the digital era – response-measured programmatic advertising – by expressing value in content and context, much of it at the top of the discovery funnel. In a rapidly converging marketing value chain some consumer publishers are adopting agency values and practices by responding to the changing demands and expectations of their advertisers.

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    June 30, 2015

    BT Sport – the Champions?

    BT will soon for the first time charge the majority of viewers for their own channels with the launch of the BT Sport Pack. The Pack includes BT Sport Europe, home to UEFA’s European football tournaments from this August, the rights to which BT are paying £299 million a year. Viewing figures for the big European tournaments are not as high as one might expect given their prominence. Consumer demand for the new channel will also be highly dependent on the success of British teams, notably lacking in recent seasons. We therefore do not expect a dramatic impact on BT Sport (or BT broadband) subscribers, and the widening losses will put pressure on BT’s margin squeeze test regulation, although they are easily absorbable at BT Group level.

  • June 5, 2015

    UK quarterly internet trends Q1 2015

    The latest numbers for Q1 2015 show strong device and internet user growth, with more of the population online than ever before, including more than 90% of under-55s. Growth amongst older groups, however, has slowed to a crawl. Participation in online activities is up across the board, but digital media data shows spend on ebooks and digital music struggling, with the latter being heavily impacted by the rise of unlimited streaming models such as Spotify. The story of mobile's surge continues, with almost a half of e-commerce transactions and a third of search and display ad spend now going to mobile. Most of these mobile devices are Android, but iPhone seems to have gained long term share with its larger phones. Google services, however, have cross-platform reach.

  • May 7, 2015

    US and UK TV ad markets – apples and pears

    The US is seeing steep decline in measured TV viewing by younger age-groups and rapid increase in digital media adspend, prompting fears about the future of TV ad revenues across the major broadcasters and cable networks. The UK has seen similar trends, prompting suggestions that it will see similar effects. However, comparison of US and UK TV ad revenue trends since 2000 shows big differences in the underlying growth rates after taking economic factors into account. These undermine the inference that the decline in viewing and rise in digital adspend will have similar effects on either side of the Atlantic. Examination of the US and UK TV ad markets further points to big differences across a raft of major variables relating to supply and airtime trading practice, such as can be expected to yield very different outcomes with respect to TV ad revenue growth.