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Connected Britain: Need for ultrafast fiber drives UK broadband investment

SNL Banker

Credit Analytics Case Study: Carillion Plc

Live Linear OTT Streaming Bumps Up The Multiscreen Transcoder Market

FOX Could Reap Substantial Rewards For 2026 World Cup


Connected Britain: Need for ultrafast fiber drives UK broadband investment

Britain's Victorian era copper connections have seen much of the country fall behind other developed economies in the uptake of ultrafast fiber broadband, but a recent spike in infrastructure investment could change that.

Speaking June 19 at the Connected Britain conference in London, industry heads said additional funding would reverse years of under-investment in the U.K.'s digital infrastructure.

The march toward full fiber would also promote competition to Openreach, a national broadband network whose assets are still owned by the incumbent operator British Telecom, despite its legal separation from BT last year, speakers told the crowd at the annual event for the telecom, cable and tech industry.

In the last 12 months, operators in the U.K. have ramped up plans for more reliable full-fiber networks, which have the capacity to deliver speeds higher than 1 gigabit per second, with TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC, Openreach, Hyperoptic Ltd., Vodafone Group PLC and CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings PLC all announcing major schemes to connect customers.

"The worst thing for the U.K. would be to fall back into a lazy mode of [over-reliance on BT]," said Greg Mesch, CEO of fiber network provider CityFibre.

"We don't want anything to do with fiber-to-the-cabinet. We don't want anything to do with copper. We want a fresh new infrastructure," he added.

CityFibre, which this year agreed on a £538 million takeover by a Goldman Sachs-backed consortium, signed a deal with Vodafone in 2017 to connect up to five million premises over the next eight years. The network is expected to reach one million premises by 2021 and could be extended to another four million by 2025.

"We don't want to be dependent on Openreach's infrastructure for 20 years," Mesch continued, adding that "disruptive thinking" would be required to break the status quo and loosen BT's hold on Britain's infrastructure.

However, as things stand, Britain lags most of its European counterparts in full-fiber connectivity, which covers around 4% of homes, or 1.2 million premises, according to the most recent Ofcom estimates.

Latvia leads the market with 50.6% coverage, compared with 43.4% in Sweden, 37.9% in Russia and 33.9% in Spain, according to the Fiber to the Home Council Europe, or FTTH Council Europe.

This makes it a pivotal time for the market, according to TalkTalk CEO Tristia Harrison. With the volume of data expanding more 40% year over year, according to Harrison, the need for scaled infrastructure in the U.K. is "enormous."

TalkTalk plans to bring full fiber to three million premises in the country through a joint venture with infrastructure investor Infracapital, which has pledged a total investment of about £1.5 billion in the next five to six years.

Separately, TalkTalk is reportedly also in discussions with Liberty Global PLC's Virgin Media unit about a broadband sharing deal.

As more infrastructure investors look to invest in the U.K. telecoms market, Harrison said the industry would need to find ways to make sure scaled competition can "properly thrive" in order to get Britain up to speed with the rest of Europe and the world.

But while some operators race ahead to dig up pavements to connect homes to fiber-optic cables, some believe a degree of caution needs to be exercised.

"We need to remember that much of our network is overhead, which means that we do not need to dig, and also that we have an existing infrastructure [with] open access," according to Kim Mears, managing director of strategic infrastructure development at Openreach, adding that "[whatever] we do dig needs to be our last resort."

Openreach, which has the largest fiber broadband network in Britain and works with over 590 communications providers in the country, is aiming to deliver fiber broadband to 3 million U.K. homes and businesses before the end of 2020, which is up 50% on its previous goal.

So Mears concluded that, while Openreach welcomes the competition from rivals such as CityFibre, there was "no doubt" it would be able to execute its own rival fiber broadband strategy.

Additional Connected Britain coverage:

Taking a demand-driven approach towards 5G deployment


Watch: SNL Banker

Jul. 10 2018 — Transform internal data into vital insight with SNL Banker from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Our solution integrates seamlessly with internal systems to give U.S. community banks and credit unions greater visibility into finances and operations


Credit Analysis
Credit Analytics Case Study: Carillion Plc

Highlights

Co-written by Elijah Harden, Risk Services.

Jul. 05 2018 —

Bankruptcy Summary
Carillion Plc (Carillion), a construction services firm, had “declining profit margins” and “high adjusted debt [due to] reverse factoring and its unfunded pension deficit” according to S&P Global Ratings1 . When Carillion filed for liquidation on January 15, 2018, the company had debt and liabilities in excess of £1.5 billion. Trading in the shares was suspended that same day. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Fundamental Probability of Default (Fundamental PD) rose to 18.27% in the first quarter of 2017 from 1.32% the previous quarter – the equivalent of the implied credit score falling to ‘ccc’ from ‘bb’2 . An additional 30% increase from Q1 to Q2 2017 brought the Fundamental PD to 24%, six months ahead of Carillion’s liquidation. In the quarter leading up to its compulsory liquidation filing, the median Market Signal Probability of Default (Market Signal PD) was 18%, and reached as high as 29%. The Market Signal PD increased nearly sixfold, from 2.17% to 12.69% (equivalent to a credit score decrease from ‘bb-‘ to ‘ccc+’) during July 2017 in response to a share price decline of nearly 70% during the month. Carillion’s share price fell by 39% on July 10 alone, triggered by a profit warning (the first of three) and the announcement of a strategic review.

Exhibit 1: Market Signal and Fundamental PD Escalation

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence as of June 11, 2018. For illustrative purposes only.

Business Description
Carillion provides maintenance, facilities management, and energy services to buildings and large property estates, in public and private sectors; infrastructure services for roads, railways, and utility networks. It serves aviation, corporate, financial services, oil and gas, central and local government, defense, healthcare, transport, education, commercial and retail, and residential and leisure sectors. Carillion was incorporated in 1999 and is headquartered in Wolverhampton, in the United Kingdom.

Fundamental Probability of Default Analysis
Upon closer inspection of the Fundamental PD in the third quarter of 2017, business and financial risks were significant problems for the company, with vulnerable and highly leveraged scores, respectively. In the first quarter of 2017, Carillion’s Fundamental PD of 1.32% was better than the UK Construction & Engineering industry median of 4.43%. The Fundamental PD later increased to place Carillion in the worst 25% of the industry by the second quarter of 2017. The most significant factor contributing to the increase in Fundamental PD is Carillion’s EBIT interest coverage, a measurement of the company’s ability to pay interest on debt, which fell to -0.32 in the first quarter of 2017 from 2.75 in the fourth quarter of 2016 (semiannual data was multiplied by 0.5). The elevated Fundamental PD was also due to total equity and cash interest coverage which stood at -£405MM and 0.09, respectively, in the first quarter of 2017 down from £730MM and 2.7 in Q4 2016. Between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 EBIT decreased by £132MM to a net loss of £100MM and equity decreased by an astonishing £1,135MM. The Fundamental PD illustrates Carillion’s sizable net losses left the company debt ridden and unable to operate.

Exhibit 2: Fundamental Probability of Default Contribution Analysis

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence as of June 11, 2018. For illustrative purposes only.

Exhibit 3: Key Developments

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence as of June 11, 2018. For illustrative purposes only.

Copyright © 2018 by S&P Global Market Intelligence, a division of S&P Global Inc.
These materials have been prepared solely for information purposes based upon information generally available to the public and from sources believed to be reliable. S&P Global Market Intelligence, its affiliates, and third party providers (together, “S&P Global”) do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of any content provided, including model, software or application, and are not responsible for errors or omissions, or for results obtained in connection with use of content. S&P Global disclaims all express or implied warranties, including (but not limited to) any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use.

S&P Global Market Intelligence’s opinions, quotes and credit-related and other analyses are statements of opinion as of the date they are expressed and not statements of fact or recommendation to purchase, hold, or sell any securities or to make any investment decisions, and do not address the suitability of any security.

S&P Global keeps certain activities of its divisions separate from each other in order to preserve the independence and objectivity of their respective activities. As a result, certain divisions of S&P Global may have information that is not available to other S&P Global divisions.

S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence PD credit model scores from the credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings.

S&P Global provides a wide range of services to, or relating to, many organizations. It may receive fees or other economic benefits from organizations whose securities or services it may recommend, analyze, rate, include in model portfolios, evaluate, price or otherwise address.

[1] Source: S&P Global Ratings, Carillion’s Demise: What’s At Stake? https://www.capitaliq.com/CIQDotNet/CreditResearch/SPResearch.aspx?DocumentId=38529831&From=SNP_CRS as published on March 23, 2018.
[2] Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence PD scores from the credit ratings used by S&P Global Ratings. S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Credit Analytics Case Study: Carillion Plc

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Credit Market Pulse March 2018 Issue

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Technology, Media & Telecommunications
Live Linear OTT Streaming Bumps Up The Multiscreen Transcoder Market

Highlights

Multiscreen transcoding is widely used today to prepare and distribute video content in over-the-top and TV Everywhere services.

Jul. 05 2018 — Multiscreen transcoding is widely used today to prepare and distribute video content in over-the-top and TV Everywhere services. Multiscreen transcoding revenue is forecast to grow to $628.2 million in 2022, up from $415.1 million in 2017. However, revenue is not rising as quickly as the amount of video being delivered. There are a large number of competitors, so price pressure and the move from hardware appliances to software licenses and cloud services is affecting worldwide multiscreen transcoder revenue.

The amount of video streamed via the internet continues to grow. However, not all of the video is transcoded using a broadcast-quality multiscreen transcoding solution from the vendors discussed in detail in Kagan's latest transcoder report. Some of the largest video streamers in the world, including Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube, use an internal solution. Additionally, those who do not need the same level of density or quality may use solutions such as the free FFmpeg or x264 software, particularly for file transcoding. In some cases, a content producer will use the transcoder that is part of its media asset management system rather than a separate transcoding solution.

Growth in live transcoding revenue is being helped by the expansion of TV Everywhere, or TVE, services. Many multichannel video programming distributors continue to expand the number of linear channels and the amount of VOD content available on their TVE systems in order to offer the same ability to view content on other devices as is available via the set-top box, or STB, in the home. For example, Sky Deutschland GmbH is expanding to offer more than 100 linear channels on Sky Go rather than just the Sky Sport channels. OTT provider ivi.ru of Russia added streamed channels to its service in 2018. Nc+ GO of Poland added 22 channels in April 2018.

FFmpeg and open source solutions have more of an impact on the file transcoding market since multiple passes can be done to produce the quality desired. Therefore, file transcoding vendor revenue is not growing as quickly as the live transcoding vendor revenue. However, some content producers and OTT VOD providers do choose to buy products and services for file-based multiscreen transcoding rather than using an internal or open source solution. The amount of content and the number of versions required to monetize that content continues to grow, causing our expectations of revenue in the file transcoding segment to increase by single-digit percentages each year.

Many transcoder vendors offer cloud transcoding services, oftentimes with multiple cloud providers. The cloud providers tend to be agnostic to the transcoder vendors. A primary example of this is Amazon Web Services, or AWS. Even though AWS owns AWS Elemental, many others also run on AWS, including Beamr Ltd., Bitmovin Inc, Encoding.com Inc., Harmonic Inc., Telestream Inc. and Zencoder Inc.

Revenue from cloud transcoding is expected to increase each year as both the overall multiscreen transcoder revenue grows, as well as the percentage of transcoder revenue that comes from transcoder services that run in the public cloud. The advantages of using cloud transcoding simply outweigh any disadvantages for most use cases.

This article provides some of the highlights contained in Kagan's latest in-depth report titled "Worldwide Transcoding: Live linear OTT streaming bumps up the multiscreen transcoder market," which updates vendor activity and provides global forecasts for live and file transcoding revenue by region, as well as cloud transcoding revenues as a percent of total revenues through 2022.

Video CDN Revenue To Reach $2.2 Billion In 2022

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Technology, Media & Telecommunications
FOX Could Reap Substantial Rewards For 2026 World Cup

Jul. 05 2018 — The 2018 FIFA Men's World Cup has struggled with U.S. viewership due in part to the timing of matches aired from Russia. But the June 14 announcement that the quadrennial cup competition will head back to North America in 2026 was likely music to the ears of TV rights owners Telemundo and 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FOX Sports. The choice of a three-country combination — the U.S., Canada, and Mexico — does not come cheap for the U.S. networks, however. The two will pay a combined $887 million for the 2026 games, including an additional approximately $300 million bonus paid to FIFA because North America was chosen as the location.

The upside is that the World Cup will take place in more ideal airing times, offering stronger ad pricing and bigger audiences. In addition, the number of teams in 2026 will increase to 48, compared to 32 today.

The current tournament is the first in which Telemundo and FOX Sports took away rights from Univision Communications Inc. and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN/ABC. The announcement may make up for some of the troubles surrounding this year's competition after the U.S. Men's National Team failed to make the cut. In addition, the tournament is in Russia, meaning many of the games have aired during lower viewing times in the U.S.

Despite the challenges, Telemundo and FOX Sports could deliver higher ad revenues compared to 2014, according to some estimates. Telemundo recently announced that it had reached its goal of $225 million in ad sales for this year's tournament. The networks may be benefiting from unused funds tied to the NBA Finals, which ended after just four games

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