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    April 16, 2021

    US content distribution: Studios go direct to consumer

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    Despite relying on a narrow IP base, US content production is booming, overwhelming other markets and seeking alternative distribution to cinemas. Responding to the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, studios seek to shift distribution from wholesale to retail‚ÄĒbut only Disney may succeed. Most content is likely to remain accessed by consumers through bundles. Provided they engage with aggregation, European broadcasters can adjust to the new studio model.
  • April 8, 2021

    The recovery stutters: UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends [...]

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    • Market revenue growth sunk back to -3% in Q4 from -2% in Q3, with further backbook pricing and lockdown effects to blame.
    • Backbook pricing will improve with numerous price increases announced, but these will only start to take effect in Q2 2021.
    • Demand for broadband and ultrafast looks promising, but will also take time to filter through to revenue, with Q1 again lockdown affected.

  • March 30, 2021

    (UK) Ecommerce forecasts 2021: Pandemic shifts remain for now

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    • Goods ecommerce accelerated in 2020 by four years above trend to reach 28% of retail sales (excl. fuels) from 19% in 2019. We anticipate that ecommerce in 2021 will remain in the same share range of 27-29%
    • Food and drink grew faster than any online category in 2020, doubling to over 10% of associated sales. Aside from food and drink, the agony of zero sales on the shuttered high street continued, with over half of all sales being online in 2020, likely persisting in Q1 2021
    • Offline retailing will recover due to deconfinement and the share of ecommerce will edge down in Q2 2021 and thereafter, but these new shopping habits will be sticky and anchored by persistent work-from-home, driving all retailers that are left standing to massively adopt online channels and associated advertising media
  • March 26, 2021

    Mail scoops Telegraph print advertising: Telegraph outsourcing fo [...]

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    • The Telegraph‚Äôs carefully executed outsourcing of print advertising sales to Mail Metro Media fine-tunes its subscriber-first strategy
    • Consolidation and collaboration are inevitable in a highly-competitive, structurally-shrinking news industry
    • Reader-first models have emerged as the consistent theme for quality publishers, but the trade-offs, investment approaches and executions are highly differentiated
  • March 25, 2021

    UK’s Creative Industries: Boosting the regional economy

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    • The Creative Industries accounted for 6% of UK GVA in 2019, more than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined. The UK‚Äôs Creative Industries are the largest in Europe and are central to promoting the UK‚Äôs soft power globally.
    • At the core of the creative economy is the AV sector, which, in turn, is driven by the UK‚Äôs PSBs. In 2019, the PSBs were responsible for 61% of primary commissions outside London and are the pillar upon which much additional regional economic activity depends.
    • Going forward, only the PSBs are likely to have the willingness and scale to invest in production centres outside London with sufficient gravitational pull to reorientate the wider creative economy towards the nations and regions.
  • March 18, 2021

    End-of-line spectrum 50% off: UK second 5G auction results

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    Proceeds in the swiftly concluded second 5G auction were £1.36bn, very much towards the bottom end of the estimated £1-2.7bn range in our recent report 2021 spectrum auction: Uncertainty prevails [2020-117]. The prices paid are very low by historic standards, particularly for the 700MHz band but the spectrum most suitable for 5G (3.6-3.8GHz) is also more than 40% below the price achieved in the auction for very similar spectrum in 2018.
  • March 17, 2021

    ITV FY 2020 results: Waiting for lockdown to end

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    ITV‚Äôs advertising revenue was down 11% in 2020‚ÄĒprobably a relief given the unprecedented depths the TV ad market found itself in during April-July. However, the current lockdown has stunted advertising‚Äôs recovery and its trajectory will continue to be tied to the loosening of the same restrictions that continue to dictate movement and spend. It is not until April that ITV forecasts (+60-75% YoY) that money will rush back into the TV ad ecosystem, looking to make up for lost time.
  • March 9, 2021

    Virgin Media: Subscribers strong, ARPU tough to turn

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    • Virgin Media‚Äôs subscriber growth continues to be very strong, and it looks like next quarter‚Äôs 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‚Äôs main strategic problem‚ÄĒits fibre trilemma‚ÄĒlooks like it will be dealt with after the merger with O2, expected
  • March 3, 2021

    O2 :Trending nicely, outlook challenging

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    • All of O2‚Äôs operational metrics ticked up this quarter with service revenue growth, continued strong net adds and OIBDA growth particular highlights in spite of the end of O2‚Äôs Carphone Warehouse relationship
    • Next quarter will be hit by the prolonged lockdown and, in spite of an improving picture thereafter, there remain several challenges particularly lower in-contract price rises than peers and some pressure on MVNO revenues post Sky MVNO renegotiation
    • The merger with Virgin Media appears on track for a mid-year approval. O2 management will need to work hard to sustain their sharp operational focus at a time when merger integration and strategic question marks risk diverting much of their attention
  • March 2, 2021

    (UK) Learning from “The Independent” : Sustainability [...]

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    • In a challenging media marketplace, quality online news services generated hundreds of thousands of new buyers in 2020, perhaps inching ahead of print in terms of UK household propensity-to-pay
    • But reader-first models are not only about subscriptions. The UK‚Äôs first national print title to go online-only, The Independent, has achieved operating profits since reconfiguring its cost base in 2016
    • The Independent defies many investor assumptions about news. Solutions for smaller businesses may diverge more from industry giants than is commonly expressed, and without distribution change, editorial, product and commercial transformation is slower
  • February 22, 2021

    Vodafone: Leverage looms large

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    • Generating cash is top of Vodafone‚Äôs agenda right now, and we may be seeing early signs of that driving operational tactics ahead of resolving its leverage crisis through either an IPO of Vantage or a sale of its Iberian assets
    • EBITDA growth would really help. Analyst forecasts of +4% for next year are not supported by recent history and a simple bounce-back of roaming revenues should not be assumed
    • Q3 results were a mixed bag with the very slight improvement in revenue trends accounted for by easing roaming pressure. Green shoots in German fixed is a highlight, with growth in UK mobile a touch disappointing
  • February 5, 2021

    Global Britain is born: Post-Brexit muddle

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    • The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) grants zero-tariffs only to goods compliant with rules of origin, a subset of the goods previously traded freely, and dramatically raises barriers to exports, especially services, relative to the Single Market
    • UK (and EU) traders of goods must assume new onerous, costly and disruptive customs clearance procedures, also applicable to other third parties, which are certain to radically downsize trade with the EU, especially B2C e-commerce, typically single parcel
    • The UK‚Äôs initial vision of Global Britain via a pact on trade, security and defence with the US, rather than the EU, is not a priority now for President Biden, who also has a stake in the open border on the island of Ireland
  • 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‚ÄĒmore is being demanded of the domestic space‚ÄĒand in 2021 the consumer tech show offered a more holistic approach to the Internet of Things (IoT), accepting a ‚Äėnew normal‚Äô 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‚Äôs 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 19, 2021

    (UK) TalkTalk: Mixed results, future opaque

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    • TalkTalk‚Äôs latest results were mixed at best, with ARPU and revenue growth improving off a low last quarter, but net adds worsening, EBITDA falling sharply and full year EBITDA guidance suspended
    • Its outlook remains challenging, with the move to high speed still a drag on EBITDA, and the migration to ultrafast a further (even greater) challenge, although this brings opportunity as well, especially if the company can move away from its discount brand focus
    • Its prospective new owners highlight the need to invest in brand, systems, and full fibre capabilities to meet this challenge, but it is not clear where the money to do this is coming from, and it is also not clear if the desire to ‚Äėreposition the brand‚Äô includes a move upmarket
  • January 15, 2021

    Roaming charges to return for some: Free EU roaming an optional e [...]

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    • Lockdown 1.0 in March-April-May 2020 reduced mobility in London to 65% of its pre-pandemic baseline, swelling time spent at home. London‚Äôs mobility tracked a similar decline to Paris and New York City, all hugely reliant on public transport
    • Easing lockdowns and good weather slowly led to a mobility recovery through the summer and early autumn, but it sharply declined again after November‚Äôs Lockdown 2.0. The mobility decline was greatest in the City of London, which is more acutely affected by working from home
    • Each nation in the UK diverged slightly from September due to varying local policies adopted by England, Wales and Scotland to address their public health crises. Notably however, Lockdown 2.0 did not cause mobility to fall to the same degree as late March
  • January 14, 2021

    (UK) COVID-19 and Mobility

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    • Lockdown 1.0 in March-April-May 2020 reduced mobility in London to 65% of its pre-pandemic baseline, swelling time spent at home. London‚Äôs mobility tracked a similar decline to Paris and New York City, all hugely reliant on public transport
    • Easing lockdowns and good weather slowly led to a mobility recovery through the summer and early autumn, but it sharply declined again after November‚Äôs Lockdown 2.0. The mobility decline was greatest in the City of London, which is more acutely affected by working from home
    • Each nation in the UK diverged slightly from September due to varying local policies adopted by England, Wales and Scotland to address their public health crises. Notably however, Lockdown 2.0 did not cause mobility to fall to the same degree as late March
  • January 11, 2021

    (UK) Montgomery shakes news market again: JPI, third largest loca [...]

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    The low price paid reflects the dismal prospects for print media, especially regional and local titles relative to national titles. Over the past decade, regional publications were affected at a greater rate than national counterparts by the structural decline of print circulation and advertising, resulting in significantly more closures, as well as issue frequency reductions.
  • January 8, 2021

    Future to buy GoCompare Diversification shifts further to ecommer [...]

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    • Publisher Future paid a premium to acquire listed GoCo, the financial services comparison platform, for a cash and shares deal valued at ¬£594 million, provided GoCo shareholders approve the deal at a vote in January
    • For Future, the purchase of GoCo gives it a platform for consumers for whom the service is free, deepens its tech stack and diversifies revenues to affiliate fees earned from ecommerce
    • Future's strategy of growth by acquisition has helped offset structural decline in the print portion of the business. The question is whether GoCo will generate sufficient returns to justify the premium paid
  • January 4, 2021

    Steady now, brighter outlook: European mobile in Q3 2020

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    • Mobile growth improved very marginally to -3.6% this quarter as roaming revenues were harder hit and competitive intensity bounced back, but usage recovered from the lockdowns in Q2 and cuts to intra-EU calls were annualised
    • Italy‚Äôs fortunes took a turn for the worse as roaming hit particularly hard and Iliad resurged. After a spate of downgrades to the outlook last quarter, there were some tentative upgrades in Q3 although the tone remains cautious
    • The diminished drag from roaming is the primary positive driver from here. Although lockdowns of some degree are in place in Q4, their impact will be less severe than those in Q2
  • December 16, 2020

    Brighter outlook: UK mobile market in Q3 2020

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    The UK mobile market outlook is better as the COVID impact eases overall thanks to reduced roaming impact, but the November lockdown (including store closures) will drag. Having become more cautious last quarter, many of the European operators, including BT and Vodafone, have edged their EBITDA outlook up very slightly.
    • Service revenue declines stabilised at -7% this quarter with a myriad of factors at play: roaming worsening, the end of lockdown taking some pressure off, B2B a mixed bag, and the annualisation of cuts to intra-EU calls
    • Ofcom‚Äôs second 5G auction will be a focus in January. We expect selective bidding, proceeds of up to ¬£2.7bn, and some wrangling over spectrum trading
    • The outlook is better from here as the drag from roaming eases, in contract price rises step up from the spring, Carphone Warehouse diminishes as a factor in the market, and the prospect of consolidation is still on the table
  • December 15, 2020

    Amazon Prime on Sky Q: Now almost fully aggregated

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    Sky has agreed to host Amazon Prime Video on its platform, effective today. The Amazon app appears in the App section of Sky Q set-top-boxes, which in the UK places it alongside the existing icons of BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Discovery+, Disney+, YouTube and Spotify (it is currently third in prominence).