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Connected Britain: Need for ultrafast fiber drives UK broadband investment

Can ComScore Break Nielsen's Near-Monopoly On Ratings?

Most TV Everywhere Viewing Is Live TV In The Home

Consumer Insights Online Video User Overview

Public Companies Going Private


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


Technology, Media & Telecom
Can ComScore Break Nielsen's Near-Monopoly On Ratings?

Highlights

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Sep. 17 2018 — Advertising agencies are becoming increasingly frustrated with the inability of Nielsen Holdings PLC's Nielsen Media Research to convince the major media companies to embrace its new cross-platform measurement system, called Total Audience Measurement. This creates a huge opportunity for comScore Inc., formerly Rentrak.

ComScore is trying to reinvent itself following its delisting in 2017 — it was relisted June 1 — following an accounting scandal. The company's stock has fallen from $65 per share intraday on Aug. 17, 2015, to close at just $18.06 per share on Sept. 6. It currently has a total enterprise value of less than $1.2 billion, paltry in comparison to Nielsen Holdings' $12.9 billion.

In April, comScore named Bryan Wiener, previously executive chairman of Dentsu's digital media agency 360i LLC, as its CEO. On Sept. 5, the company announced that it hired Sarah Hofstetter to serve as president and head up commercial strategy, including sales and marketing.

Wiener and Hofstetter have worked together for two decades, most recently at 360i, where Hofstetter was CEO and chairwoman. The two executives' deep ties to the advertising community may be just what is needed to bring a competing cross-platform measurement system to the broadcast and cable network industries.

Cable network ad revenue grew for decades before stumbling, albeit modestly, during the last recession. More recently, despite a booming economy the cable network ad industry has faltered, in part due to cord cutting and cord shaving but also because current ratings do not include all of online viewing and out-of-home viewing.

Currently, the ratings only include online viewing within a three-day period, which includes the exact same commercial load as linear. Many media companies do not believe that online viewers will tolerate the huge ad load that exists on linear TV and do not include the same commercial pods that appear on linear TV when serving up the shows online.

Although negotiations between Nielsen Media Research and the major media companies have been going on for some time, many in the industry are tired of the delays in adopting a new system and are looking at alternate ways to measure viewing.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Most TV Everywhere Viewing Is Live TV In The Home

Highlights

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Summary: subscribers to telco operators were more likely to indicate they streamed TV Everywhere content compared to cable and DBS subscribers.

Sep. 17 2018 — Streaming live TV Everywhere to a mobile device inside the home is the TV Everywhere activity most often performed at 52% of multichannel TV respondents, according to data from Kagan’s MediaCensus online consumer survey.

While 58% of respondents surveyed in multichannel homes viewed TV Everywhere in the last three months, just 46% did so out of their home. Click here for the full Kagan report.

Viewing live TV inside the home was not only the TV Everywhere activity performed by the most respondents; it was also the most frequently performed.

Subscribers to telco operators were more likely to indicate they streamed TV Everywhere content compared to cable and DBS subscribers. Subscribers to some operators are more likely to stream TV Everywhere content, with AT&T U-verse (64%) being the highest and WOW! (42%) the lowest among operator subscribers surveyed.

Younger subscribers, especially Millennials, were more likely to stream TV Everywhere content compared to older subscribers.

For more information about the terms of access to the raw data underlying this survey, please contact support@snl.com.

Data presented in this article is from the MediaCensus survey conducted in February 2018. The online survey included 20,035 U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census, with additional respondents subscribing to the top multichannel video operators in the U.S. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-0.7 ppts at the 95% confidence level. Generational segments are as follows: Gen Z: 18-20, Millennials: 21-37, Gen X: 38-52, Boomers/Seniors: 53+.

Consumer Insights is a regular feature from Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence's TMT offering, providing exclusive research and commentary.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Consumer Insights Online Video User Overview

Highlights

49% of survey respondents use more than one SVOD service.

Sep. 14 2018 — Data from Kagan’s U.S. online consumer surveys shows that 23% of respondents exclusively use one service, while almost half (49%) use more than one SVOD service. The service which is most commonly used exclusively is Netflix, while users of smaller services almost always use at least one other service.

Netflix is so universally used that it is both the most exclusively used service and the service most often used in conjunction with another service. In terms of demographics, Netflix users are very similar to the general population compared to smaller services that tend to have a younger user base.

With the exception of Netflix, most respondents indicated they have never subscribed to the top four services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and HBO NOW. Among those who indicated they dropped one of the top services, price was a principal reason for dropping, although content-specific reasons differed by service. Content is one of the most defining characteristics of online streaming services, which can be seen in the content viewed and most enjoyed on each service. In large part users of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video most enjoy the content each service is known for.

A broader overview of this data was presented in a recent webcast.

Data presented in this blog is from U.S. Consumer Insights surveys conducted in September 2017 and March 2018. The online survey included 2,526 (2017) and 2,523 (2018) U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-1.9 ppts at the 95% confidence level.

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Capital Markets
Public Companies Going Private

Sep. 14 2018 — The recent tweet from Elon Musk has understandably made big news, but it is worth pointing out that the appetite for taking public companies private has been a key area of activity this year. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s data shows that 2018YTD is already at 39% of 2017 numbers, standing at €17.8bn of deal value across 32 completed deals, globally. Going-private closed deal count is at a healthy 49% compared to full 2017 numbers.

In terms of most popular sectors for going-private deals, since 2013 - Information Technology has been leading the pack with €108.9bn of aggregate deal value recorded across 104 deals, while Consumer Discretionary* is trending as a distant second with €49.7bn of total deal value.

The top target location for going private deals is the US, and interestingly – China comes in at second place, with UK following. The three regions have seen total deal size of €218.8 during the period of 2013 through 2018YTD. The popularity of these locations is further supported by the fact that after going private, average target’s EBITDA values have increased compared to when those companies were public. The US-based going private targets grew their EBITDA by average of 56% since leaving the public market, while Chinese and the UK-located companies grew EBITDA by 10% and 38%, respectively. Overall, the going private moves proved to be successful for ex-public companies globally within the 2013 – 2018YTD deals’ time frame, where their average Net Income values grew by 58% while EBITDA values grew by a smaller but yet attractive 29%.

In terms of the deal pipeline, 18 going-private deals were announced globally since 1st January 2018 and would add €25.8bn of aggregate deal value to already closed €17.8bn.

The following was originally published on Angel News on August 16, 2018: Public companies going private, S&P Global comment

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