Sunday, May 30, 2021

Netflix: all the originals & licensing announcements of Week 21

Series - scripted
  • Drama series JIVA! (South Africa) premieres 210624
  • Orders teen biopic True Spirit (Teagan Croft; about girl sailing the globe solo)
  • Series Money Heist Part 5 (La Casa de Papel, Spain) premieres 210903 (vol 1, 5 episodes) & 211203 (vol 2, 5 episodes)
  • Series The Naked Director (Japan) season 2 premieres 210624
  • Orders drama series Anna K (after Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenin; Russia)
  • Ordered series The Sandman (expands cast)
  • Orders season 2 of series Firefly Lane (Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke)
  • Series Somos (6 episodes) premieres 210630
  • Series Katla (Iceland, 8 episodes) premieres 210617
Movies - scripted
  • Orders unnamed Christmas rom com film (Lindsay Lohan), production to start Nov 2021
  • Orders Christmas movie The Noel Diary (Justin Hartley, Bonnie Bedelia, Treat Williams) production to start May (in home in Essex Village), June (on street) 2021 in New Canaan
  • Orders musical film 13: The Musical (Broadway musical adaptation; Debra Messing)
  • Comedy film Ali & Ratu Ratu Queens (Indonesia) premieres 210617
  • Horror movie A Classic Horror Story (Italy) premieres 210714

Week 21 in Telecoms, Internet, Media


  • Vodafone: 2020/2021 Annual Report, AGM 210727
  • VodafoneZiggo: 21Q1 final
  • Salt: 21Q1
  • Singtel: 20/21Q4; plans sale of assets: towers (max 70% of Optus towers), satellites, subsea cables, datacenters; market valuations (EV/EBITDA): datacenters 24x, towers 18x, fibre 11x, satellite 9x
  • Amazon: AGM: CEO Jeff Bezos to be replaced by Andy Jassy 210705 [see 210202]; acquires MGM (incl United Artists Releasing 67/33 JV with Annapurna Pictures; MGM Television; Epix premium cable channel), $8.45b (incl $2.1b debt, likely to be repaid on closing): catalog (IP) of 4k films, 17k episodes, complements Amazon Stuiod (focus on series), total >180 Oscars + >100 Emmys; latest James Bond movie (No time to die) to get worldwide theatrical release 211008 - To establish Medisa & Entertainment Group, headed by Jeff Blackburn (Amazon Studios, Prime Video, Amazon Music, podcaster Wondery, games, Twitch, MGM) - Moody's places MGM rating (corporate B1, sr secured credit Ba3) on review for upgrade - Part of catalog currently licensed to TCM = WarnerMedia (MGM films before 1986; UA films until 2022)
  • Sony: IR Days: Day 1: Games, Music global, Music Japan, Pictures - Day 2: Electronics, Imaging & sensing, Financial services    
  • Vimeo: IPO reference price $52.08, first trade $47.15, closes at $45.39
  • Microsoft: Microsoft Build (developer conference)
  • Doximity: Plans IPO; allocates max 15% of shares for physicians through reserved share program





  • eX² Technology completed underground communications network that transforms a 25km stretch of the Atlanta Beltline into a smart city corridor; supplies 45 in-town neighbourhoods that surround the trail system with critical connectivity for homes, businesses, roadways, schools, healthcare facilities, light poles, traffic signals, public safety infrastructure
  • Ban Chan (Thailand) plans smart city based on 5G (Open RAN): real-time diagnostics of traffic, public safety, digital signage, sensitive environmental conditions applications


  • Telecoms/spectrum
  • Google
    • Roskomnadzor (Russia) orders prohibited content to be taken down within 24 hr on risk of fine, traffic slowdown
    • Bundeskartellamt (DE) starts 2 proceedings (Google has paramount significance across markets; strategic advantage because its business model relies on processing user data and having access to it)
    • WSJ: nears settlement in FR in antitrust case (ad server DoubleClick for Publishers gave advantage to ad auction house AdX, against other auction operators; DFP and AdX merged into Google Ad Manager in 2018)
  • Facebook
  • Platforms
    • Florida adopts law (Stop Social Media Censorship Act) banning deplatforming of Floridian politicians, fine 25k-250k $/day [may violate Section 230]
    • DE, FR, NL propose EU authority to judge all acquisitions by platforms (addition to DMA)
    • Flemish gvt plans Solid (= Inrupt = Tim Berners-Lee) trial to provide consumers with Pod for personal data, single sign-on

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Amazon acquires MGM: all the details

  • Acquires MGM (incl. United Artists Releasing 67/33 JV with Annapurna Pictures; MGM Television; Epix premium cable channel)
  • $8.45b incl. $2.1b debt (likely to be repaid on closing)
  • Catalog (IP) of 4k films, 17k episodes, complements Amazon Studio (focus on series), total >180 Oscars + >100 Emmys
  • Part of catalog currently licensed to TCM = WarnerMedia (MGM films before 1986; UA films until 2022)
  • Latest James Bond movie (No time to die) to get worldwide theatrical release 211008
  • To establish Media & Entertainment Group, headed by Jeff Blackburn (Amazon Studios, Prime Video, Amazon Music, podcaster Wondery, games, Twitch, MGM)
  • Moody's places MGM rating (corporate B1, sr secured credit Ba3) on review for upgrade

Monday, May 24, 2021

Week 20 in Telecoms, Internet, Media (UPDATED)


  • KPN: Telegraaf: EQT and Stonepeak still interested in offer
  • Telefonica: Rumor: to sell Zeleris (logistics), wants EUR 100m, HIG Capital interested
  • BT: Fitch: agreement with BT Pension Scheme (to meet part of its pension deficit repair plan through an asset-backed funding (ABF) structure) is broadly neutral to BT's leverage profile and rating
  • CityFibre (West Street Infrastructure Partners = Goldman Sachs 35%, Antin Infrastructure Partners 35%): Rumor: to sell 30% stake for GBP 1b to ~20 pension & investment funds, to expand target from 8m to 10m premises 
  • Vodafone
    • 20/21Q4 prelim
      • guidance 21/22: adj EBITDA AL EUR 15.0-15.4b, capex GBP 8b (raised), adj FCF >EUR 5.2b
      • Strategy Update
        • to apply for EU's Recovery & Resilience facility
        • targets rev growth, adj EBITDA AL growth MSD, adj FCF growth FCF, leverage 2.5-3.0x, dividend minimum 9c
        • focus on 1. Network investment (fixed & 5G), 2. stronger, more comprehensive product offering, 3. accelerate digital capabilities, 4. flexibility to support Vantage Towers
    • Rumor: interested in co-investment with BT to build 5m premises by 2026
  • VodafoneZiggo: Ziggo Sport to lose Formula 1 rights from 2021/22 season to NENT Group, rumored to pay >EUR 30m, to establish Viaplay, with Bundesliga football (currently at RTL NL); reaches 1.5m viewers
  • Liberty Global
    • CMA approves Virgin Media / O2 UK merger without remedies, to close 210601
    • Establishes JV AtlasEdge Data Centres with Digital Colony to develop >100 edge datacenters in Europe, to close & launch 21Q3; for s 5G, gaming, IoT, edge compute applications; e Josh Joshi to be Exec Chair; Virgin Media UK & IE, Sunrise UPC, UPC Poland to be anchor tenants, open for 3rd parties
  • Cegeka: Citymesh plans to expand mobile nationwide and into consumer market under new brand, to invest EUR 100m, to participate in upcoming auction (700, 900, 1400, 1800, 2000 bands)
  • Iliad: 21Q1; delays fixed-line market IT entry to after summer 2021; expects Iliad IT to report positive EBITDA AL over 2021; to sell remaining 30% stake in towerco FR (On Tower France = Cellnex), >EUR 600m; to revise Op CF target for FR (excl B2B, originally EUR 900m) by Sep 2021
  • Altice Europe: SFR acquires 50% stake in RegloMobile (MVNO France, 770k subs; = Afone Participations) from E Leclerc Group (retailer)
  • 1&1 Drillisch: Finalises nat roaming (2G, 3G, 4G plus 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G MVNO; excl 4G in urban areas from 260101: 1&1 Drillisch 5G covered areas) deal with Telefonica DE, 5 yr; 1&1's subs to be migrated to own network after certain period
  • Gamma Communications: AGM & 21Q1 trading update; outlook 2021: rev, adj EBITDA, adj EPS at high-end of range of market forecasts (rv GBP 442-461, adj EBITDA 86-94m, EPS 55-63p)
  • Deutsche Telekom
    • CMD (1)
      • Targets 2021-24: rev CAGR 1-2%, adj EBITDA AL CAGR 3-5%, FCF >EUR 18b by 2024 (2020: 6.3b), EPS >EUR 1.75 by 2024 (2020: 1.20), pay-out ratio 40-60% of EPS (lower limit EUR 0.60); aims for sustainable growth
      • 5 key action areas: 1. Turning customers into fans (leader in terms of customer experience in fixed, mobile, convergence; superior networks and best-in-class service), 2. Lead in B2B in Europe (rev CAGR 2% in DE and Europe; T-Mobile US to double market share), 3. A new level of sustainability (to become climate neutral in terms of its own emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by as early as 2025, from 2040, 10 years earlier than the original target, this will apply to the entire value chain (Scope 1, 2 and 3), management compensation contains components based on these targets), 4. Number one in fiber and 5G (FTTH penetration >60% by 2030, from 5% currently; to add 2.5m HP/yr from 2024; 5G coverage 97% pops coverage by 2024), 5. We continue to drive digitization (continue to digitize its business at all levels, 30 percent of purchases by customers in Germany to go via our electronic channels by 2024) 
      • Strategic review for T-Mobile NL (preparing for sale) & towers
    • CMD (2)
      • Targets tech & inovation
      • Targets T-Systems
      • Group Development (US, BT stake, NL, Towers, DTCP): valuation T-Mobile US $76b, BT stake GBP 1.9b, GD Towers EUR 12.8b, T-Mobile NL EUR 5.7b incl towers 5.0b excl towers (reduced EBITDA AL EUR 30m) (based on broker estimates), own valuation EUR 6b (enterprise value)
      • Targets T-Mobile NL ('Crown Jewel') YE 2024: 900k fixed subs, FMC penetration of branded base >40%, >50% of customer transaction digital
      • GD Towers ('Kingmaker asset') targets 2024: add 6k sites, 15k site extensions, external rev CAGR >3% (3rd party business), lower opex/site; targets GD 2024: rev CAGR >2%, adj EBITDA CAGR >4%, cash contribution AL CAGR >6%
  • AT&T
  • SingTel: Plans impairment charge on Amobee (ad platform), Trustwave (cyber security), Optus (Australia)
  • RTL
  • Vivendi: Reduces ambition for ownership of UMG after IPO 210927 of 60% from 20 to 10% (Tencent to retain 20%), may sell 10% to US-based investor or increase float to 70%; to retain 10% stake for minimum 2 yr; UMG 21Q1: rev EUR 1809m (+9.4%; recorded music +10.8%, music publishing +6.9%, merchandising & other -10.0%), EBIT 322m (+36%)
  • Google: Bloomberg: Waymo plans to raise $4b, considers IPO


  • Amazon
    • The Informationto offer $7-10b for MGM (studio, channel Epix); Variety: to offer $9b (others expect $5b)
    • libary of 4000 films (incl James Bond, Hobbit, Rocky/Creed, RoboCop, Pink Panther franchises) + 17k episodes (incl Stargate, Vikings, Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, Get Shorty, Condor, Fame, American Gladiators, Teen Wolf, In the Heat of the Night), unscripted shows (incl The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Hills)
    • MGM 21Q1: rev $403m (+27%), net income $29.3m
    • Variety: valuation $5-6b + debt, Eon Productions (= Broccoli family) control James Bond franchise, insist in theatrical release, refuse spin-offs
  • NENT Group: Plans to launch Viaplay in NL 22Q1 as streaming ad-free SVOD service
  • WarnerMedia: HBO Max AVOD tier (HBO Max With Ads)
    • to cost 10 $/mo
    • to launch in US early June 2021
    • to exclude day-and-date Warner Bros movie premieres throughout 2021
    • no ads against HBO originals; minimal ad load
    • to produce equal margin to ad-free tier
    • ad types: Brand Block, Pause Ad, Branded Discovery
    • ad-free tier to expand to Latam/Caribbean end June 2021
    • to upgrade HBO-branded streaming services in Europe to HBO Max 21H2
    • Some HBO Max originals to be aired on TBS & TNT from summer 2021
  • ViacomCBS: CBS plans addressable commercials for broadcast TV from 21H2
  • Netflix
    • Established division (events/spectacle team) focused on obtaining franchise rights; currently 90 shows in development based on already established properties across comics, books, manga, video games
    • Rumor: plans expansion into videogames, ad-free, may be bundled with SVOD - Confirms expansion into interactive entertainment
  • Vimeo: Launches enterprise-grade video hub


  • Spotify
    • Launches virtual concert series May/June 2021 (with The Black Keys, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, Leon Bridges, girl in red)
    • Spotify for Artists publishes Fan Study
    • Partners with Storytel (500k audioboks, 1.6m subs) to allow Storytel subs to connect their account through Spotify to access their audiobooks within Spotify’s app (based on Open Access Platform, to add more OAP partners)
  • Amazon: Allows Amazon Music Unlimited subs (10 $/mo for Amazon subs, 8 $/mo for Prime subs, 15 $/mo family plan) free upgrade to Amazon Music HD (originally 15 $/mo); 70m tracks in HD (lossless, 16 bit, 44.1 kHz) o/w 7m in UHD (24 bit, 192 kHz), some upgraded to 3D Audio (Dolby Atmos, Sony 360RA)
  • Apple: To migrate to lossless audio (ALAC; from 16 bit 44.1 kHz to 24 bit 48 kHz and24 bit 192 kHz) & spatial audio (Dolby Atmos) June 2021, price unchanged; total 75m tracks


  • Google I/O 
  • Snap
    • Partner Summit
      • new services
      • Spotlight paid out $130m since launch to creators (5400)
      • reaches 500m MAU
      • demos Spectacles gen 4 for AR creators (currently 200k, supports with $3.5m + $1m with Verizon for 5G-based AR): AR (dual waveguide displays capable of superimposing AR effects made with Snapchat’s software tools), 4 built-in microphones, 2 stereo speakers, built-in touchpad, Connected Lenses (allows multiple people to see and interact with the same scene in AR)
      • launches Ghost (AR innovation lab)
    • Acquires WaveOptics (AR display supplier, powers Spectacles), >$500m
  • Microsoft launches personal (consumer) version of Teams: chat, video calling, share calendars, locations & files (online ( or app for desktop, Android, iOS) 
  • Vodafone UK launches 3 packages for SME around Wix services (website creation tool): Get Selling Online (10.5 GBP/mo excl VAT; create presence, with payments), Peace of Mind Online (13; adds security), Supercharge My Business Online (22.4; adds Microsoft 365)


  • Ziggo launches internet-only tiers: 75/10 Mb/s for 42.50 EUR/mo, 300/30 for 53, 600/40 for 60.50, 1000/50 for 65.50


  • Ookla Speedtest Global Index (April 21): global average FBB 102/54 Mb/s, MBB 53/13 Mb/s; FBB: Singapore #1 (246), S Korea #2 (242), HK #3 (241), Monaco #4 (220), RO #5 (214), NL #25 (153); MBB: UAE #1 (191), S Korea #2 (186), Qatar #3 (181), China #4 (149), KSA #5 (148), NL #9 (107) 
  • GSMA calls on governments to allocate 6 GHz band (5925-6425 & 6425-7125) to 5G (at least 6425-7125 portion, 5925-6425 license-exempt; currently mostly for WiFi) for mobile, smart city, smart industry, smart transport
  • Melita (first in Malta) launches 5G (in existing spectrum), nationwide, with Ericsson
  • Sunrise UPC proposes 5G for Smart Buildings (using MR, AR) for Building Information Modeling (BIM); demos transparent building app from Builcon (MR glasses see through walls, enabling them to detect where pipes, cable routes and ducts run)


  • Platforms
    • EU proposes unified corporate tax regime, based on OECD rules (to be agreed June 2021)
    • US House Dems propose Social Media DATA Act: forces platforms to share data (ad libraries) with researchers and FTC (description of the audience that was targeted, information about how many people interacted with the ad, details about whether the ad was optimized for awareness, traffic or some other purpose); working group within FTC to establish best practices around social media research
  • Apple: lawsuit Epic Games (Fortnite) vs. Apple ongoing

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Netflix: all the originals & licensing announcements of Week 20

Series - scripted
  • Fantasy series Sweet Tooth premieres 210604
  • Animated zombie series Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness premieres 210708
  • Ordered supernatural mystery series Wednesday (Jenna Ortega)
  • Orders unnamed spy series (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Monica Barbaro; 8x60 min)
  • Teen series Elite (Spain) season 4 premieres 210618
  • Zombie series Black Summer season 2 (8 episodes) premieres 210617
  • Apocalyptic series Katla (Iceland) premieres 210617
  • Series Summertime season 2 premieres 210603
  • Swedish coming-of-age series Young Royals premieres 210701
  • Dramedy series Feel Good series 2 (6 episodes) premieres 210604
  • Fantasy series Ragnarok (Noway) season 2 premieres 210527
Movies - scripted
  • Ordered family comedy film Home Team (Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Kevin James)
  • Horror film trilogy Fear Street premieres 210702, 210709, 210716
  • Comedy film Good On Paper premieres 210623
  • Action thriller movie Gunpowder Milkshake (Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Paul Giamatti) premieres 210714
Series - unscripted

Friday, May 21, 2021

NENT Group to expand Viaplay to The Netherlands 22Q1 as SVOD

NENT Group plans to launch Viaplay in NL 22Q1 (press release, presentation, virtual analyst meeting). Competes head-on with Netflix, with live sports.
  • Streaming ad-free SVOD service (no linear TV channels)
  • Exclusive sports content
    • Formula 1 during 2022-2024 o/w 6 races free-to-view per season incl Zandvoort
    • Bundesliga 2021-2029
    • Interested in Eredivisie (currently at ESPN until 2024/25 season)
  • Films & series
    • Viaplay Originals (~40 in 2021)
    • Dutch Viaplay Originals (target 10-15 per yr)
    • International films & series
    • Kids content
  • Targets
    • 6m Nordic subs + >= 4.5m international subs YE 2025
    • Currently in Nordics & Baltics, to launch in PL Aug 2021, US end 2021, NL 22Q1, 4 more markets by YE 2023
    • Group targets 2020-2025: rev CAGR 18-20% (13-15% organic in Nordics)
  • Implications for main competitors
    • Broad selection: Netflix, Disney+
    • Local content: Videoland
    • Sports: broadcasters (incl. Ziggo Sport), potentially Amazon, DAZN

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Google I/O: main announcements

Google I/O 2021: May 18-20

New tools
  • Demos Project Starline (videoconference tech; booth equipped with cameras & sensors for creating holographic (3D) video)
  • Demos LaMDA: AI for natural-language dialogue
  • Launches AI-based Derm Assist (dermatology assist tool) to help spot skin, hair & nail conditions (based on images uploaded by patients)
  • Launches new password tools (Google Assistant will offer a change password button, based on Duplex tech)
  • Updates Google Photos, reaches >1b users, total stored 4 trillion photos/videos; adds Cinematic moments (animate series of static photos), generates pattern-based memories
  • Updates Google Maps, adds Live View feature (AR-based, adds store information & photos)
  • Google Workspace adds Smart Canvas (collaboration, uses AI for language suggestions and idea sharing via Google Meet integration, integrates Docs, Sheets and Slides)
  • Partners with Shopify to integrate Google Search, Maps, Images, Lens, YouTube
  • Google Search launches Shopping Graph: pulls together information from across websites, price reviews, videos, product data (pulled directly from brands & retailers)
  • Launches Vertex AI: platform for developers for enterprise AI/ML
  • Launches TPUv4 (AI chip)
  • Plans commercial quantum computer by 2029 (developed at new quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara)
  • Launches Flutter 2.2 (open source UI development kit)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

RTL and Bouygues to merge their M6 and TF1 units in France

Plans to merge M6 with TF1 (= Bouygues), presentation here:
  • To carve out non-broadcasting activities of M6 into M6 Services, broadcasting activities remain listed (renamed M6 Edition, to be renamed later), M6 Services to merge into TF1, RTL contributes its 48.3% M6 stake
  • M6 shareholders to receive EUR 1.00 dividend, EUR 1.50 special dividend, 1 M6 Edition share, shares in M6 Edition based on 2.1 for 1 exchange ratio
  • Bouygues acquires 11% stake from RTL for EUR 641m
  • Bouygues to own 30%, RTL 16% (free float 54%)
  • Bouygues to have control with RTL as strategic shareholder (long-term industrial partner)
  • To close end 2022
  • Pro forma 2020: rev EUR 3.36b, oper profit 461m
  • Target annual synergies at EBITA level of EUR 250-350m after 3 yr
  • Plans 90% dividend pay-out of FCF
  • Nicolas de Tavernost to be Chair & CEO, Gilles Pélisson Deputy CEO at Bouygues in charge of Media
  • Bouygues to have right of first offer for RTL selling 5% stake
  • To develop SVOD service based on the AVOD services 6play (M6) & MyTF1 (TF1)
  • RTL: "major step in implementing our strategy to create national media champions across our European footprint (...) in-country consolidation creates significant value"
  • Scale advantages, cost savings
  • Complementary portfolios, better positioned for share-of-wallet in fragmenting market place
  • RTL will work on similar deals in other countries
    • Belgium: DPG Media (the vtm channels) could be a partner (combining RTL's Wallon business with DPG's Flemish business, i.e. with limited advantages), or alternatively Mediawan in Wallonia
    • Netherlands: could propose a merger with Talpa Netwerk (the SBS channels, veronica, Net5)

Monday, May 17, 2021

WarnerMedia to merge into Discovery

All documents here.
  • To merge WarnerMedia with Discovery in all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction
    • To transfer WarnerMedia to Magallanes (SpinCo, incl $43b debt, to pay special dividend to AT&T, also $15b debt from Discovery, leverage 5x at closing)
    • To be separated as dividend or exchange offer
    • Next to merge with Drake Subsidiray (= Discovery)
    • AT&T shareholders to own 71% stake, Discovery shareholders 29%
  • To close mid 2022
    • Termination fee if merger not consummated by 230715: Discovery to pay $720m or AT&T to pay $1.77b
    • Supported by John Malone and Advance/Newhouse (together own 44% of Discovery)
  • New Discovery
    • Expect cost synergies 3b $/yr
    • To own 200k hr of programming
    • CEO David Zaslav to be CEO (Jason Kilar remains CEO of WarnerMedia)
    • To deleverage to 3.0x in 24 mo (long-term target 2.5-3.0x)
    • Targets 2023: rev $52b (o/w >15b from D2C), adj EBITDA $14b (pro forma 2020: rev 39b, EBITDA 12b)
  • AT&T adjusts guidance pro-forma
    • Annual capex $24b (to expand 5G to 200m pops YE 2023, FTTH to 30m premises YE 2025)
    • Annual dividend payout ratio 40-43% on anticipated FCF of over $20b
    • Leverage 2.6x at closing, <2.5x YE 2023

WarnerMedia - Discovery merger implications

Bloomberg reported of a merger of AT&T's WarnerMedia with Discovery.
  • Combines broadcast (linear channels) and D2C (streaming), as well as premium content (HBO) with low-end (reality). Also, WarnerMedia is big in factual as well (CNN, providing a solid add-on for Discovery's portfolio) and Discovery adds sports (Eurosport, adding weight to HBO).
  • Deal structure, management unclear as yet.
  • Verizon selling Verizon Media, AT&T spinning of WarnerMedia raises the question: what about the other telco/media marriages? (Comcast, Telenet, Telia)
  • Consolidation: in a crowded market (streaming) where 'stacking' is a big unknown, combining two entities is a good thing. They lose some focus (in terms of brand image) but gain portfolio breadth and scale. After all, we are still seeing newcomers in the D2C space and some even produce 'oroginals' (which is pointless if you don't have a sizeable budget - people will simply churn after seeing the exclusives).
  • Pricing: adding the individual prices for HBO Max ($15) and discovery+ ($7) results in too high a price for many, given competitor pricing and the stacking issue. They may need to focus on volume (market share) rather than price.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Week 19 in Telecoms, Internet, Media


  • Orange
    • Reuters: plans to acquire TDF (= Brookfield Infrastructure, APG Asset Management, PSP Investments, Arcus Infrastructure Partners, Credit Agricole; 19k RTV & mobile towers, fiber in FR), rumored value EUR 5.9b; to merge with Totem
    • Orange ES plans 485 (15%) job cuts
  • Telefonica: Sells 4 datacenters (2 in ES, 2 in Chile) to Asterion for 20% stake in Nabiax (manages 11 datacenters already) to be held by Telefonica Infra (Asterion retains 80%)
  • Tele Columbus (Morgan Stanley): Raises EUR 475m from capital increase for Fibre Champion strategy
  • AT&T: Bloomberg: plans to merge Warner Media with Discovery (Liberty Media (John Malone) 30%); Discovery CEO David Zaslav to be CEO, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar to lead D2C business
  • Vimeo: Spin off from IAC 210525, symbol VMEO
  • Amazon
    • Brand Protection Report 2020: invested $700m, employed 10k people to protect stores from fraud & abuse; prevented 6m attempts, seized 2m products, blocked 10b listings, counterfeit complaints over <0.01% of all products sold
    • Plans to raise debt, 8 tranches - Raises: 0.250% Notes due 2023 ($1b), 0.450% Notes due 2024 ($2.5b), 1.000% Notes due 2026 ($2.75b), 1.650% Notes due 2028 ($2.5b), 2.100% Notes due 2031 ($3b), 2.875% Notes due 2041 ($2b), 3.100% Notes due 2051 ($3.25b), 3.250% Notes due 2061 ($1.75b); all maturing May 12, total $18.5b - Prospectus supplement; gross proceeds $18.437b, net proceeds $18.395b, underwriting discounts & commissions $42m (10 manager banks, 6 co-managers) - 8K filing: to finance or refinance, in whole or in part, green or social Eligible Projects
    • CEO Jeff Bezos sold shares 210507-10; started with 51,731,171 + 34 shares = 51,731,205 shares, ended with 51209269 shares [sold 521,936 shares at average ~3250 $/share = $1.70b]     
    • To hire 75k employees in US for fulfillment & transportation, minimum wage 17 $/hr, sign-up bonus max $1000
  • Redwood Software: Raises EUR 315m from Turn River Capital


  • Deutsche Telekom: 21Q1; raises guidance 2021
  • Telefonica: 21Q1, FTTH in Spain reaches 25651 premises (take-up 29%), 5G covers 80%; shut down 769 copper exchanges in Spain (of total 8532), targets full fiber replacement by 2025; to close 3G in Spain 2025
  • Telefonica Deutschland: 21Q1
  • United Internet: 21Q1; confirms outlook 2021
  • 1&1 Drillisch (United Internet 75.1%): 21Q1; to start 5G roll-out 21Q3; maintains outlook 2021: SR EUR 3.10b, EBITDA 650m (incl initial 5G costs 30m, excl 34.4m positive impact from adjusted MVNO deal)
  • BT: 20/21Q4; plans FTTP JV to add 5m HP, raises target to 25m premises by 2026; Openreach plans copper switch-off at 77 locations (700k premises) from 220429, total 297 locations (2.9m premises)
  • Walt Disney: 20/21Q2; to launch Star+ SVOD service in Latam 210831


  • Fixed
    • IDATE for FTTH Council Europe report FTTH/B Market Panorama in Europe (EU39 at Sep 2020, bottom-up rerearch): 182.5m HP (52.5% coverage from 92% in Belarus to 5.6% in Belgium) o/w 39% incumbents, 57% altnets, 4% munis/utilities; 81.9m HA (44.9% take-up, from 70.7% in Iceland to 1.3% in Belgium); Homes left to be passed in EU27+UK from 34.7m in UK to 45k in Malta; total ~400 initiatives
    • Ofcom (UK): average BB speed 2020 80 Mb/s (+25%)
    • Proximus orders ultra dense vectoring (2MX6) from Nokia: raises # connections per cabinet (Proximus has 28k street cabinets) from 200 to 300 (later 400), bandwidth doubles from 17 to 35 MHz, power usage lower
  • 5G
    • Ericsson ConsumerLab 5G report (survey of 31k in 26 markets): 5G users spend 2 hr/week more using cloud gaming, 1 hr/week more on AR apps compared to 4G users
    • Omdia for Orange report on 5G impact (economy, employment, emissions) in FR, ES, PL, BE, RO by 2030: value creation EUR 407b (o/w 25% in manufacturing), adds 420k jobs, avoids 33 Mt of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (equals city of Berlin) 


  • Netflix: Considers adding bonus materials to orginals for N-Plus (production outtakes, cast interviews, bloopers, related video, podcasts, do-it-yourself content, user-generated music play lists)
  • Amazon: Launches MiniTV in India: free AVOD, in-app (web-series, comedy shows, content around tech news, food, beauty, fashion etc)
  • Google
    • YouTube: Launches YouTube Shorts Fund in US, India, to pay out $100m in 2021-22; Shorts adds functionality
    • Google Play launches Entertainment Space: feature (section in home screen) for Walmart tablets, to expand to Lenovo, Sharp, other Android tablets (one-stop, personalized home for all favorite movies, shows, videos, games, books, with recommendations)
  • Walt Disney
    • 20/21Q2 (per 210403): Disney+ (incl Disney+ Hotstar) net adds 8.7m to 103.6m; ESPN+ net adds 1.7m to 13.8m; shortened 45 day theater window for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (210903, Marvel) & Free Guy (210813, 20th Century), some films to go to Disney+ directly, some day&date in theater & Disney+ for Premier Access ($30; Cruella on 210528, Black Widow on 210709, Jungle Cruise (Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt) on 210730); to launch Star+ (incl Disney and ESPN content) in Latam 210831 as stand-alone SVOD service
    • Hulu (Walt Disney, Comcast): 20/21Q2: reaches 41.6m subs (+2.2m), SVOD +2.4m, Hulu With Live TV -200k to 3.8m
  • NBCUniversal (Comcast): Rotten Tomatoes (= Fandango) launches streaming service The Rotten Tomatoes Channel (24/7 loop of 100 hr of inear video), distr via Roku Channel, Peacock, XUMO
  • WarnerMedia (AT&T): Average usage of HBO Max 2 hr/day
  • Pinterest: Plans in-app live streaming event (trial) 24-25 May 2021 with 21 creators (with moderators, max 5 guests, unlimited viewers): fashion design, cooking, health, etc
  • Regulatory


  • Facebook: Diem digital currency abandons Swiss license applications, moves to US, partners with bank Silvergate to issue a dollar-backed stablecoin
  • Twitter: Developing Twitter Blue premium service, 3 $/mo with extra features: Collections (save & organize favorite tweets into collections), Undo Tweet (wait 5-30 sec before sending), possibly also Scroll (ad-free), Revue (newsletters)
  • Apple: Plans expansion in advertising (App Store, Apple News+, Stocks app) - Counterpoint Research: new ads rev stream based on iOS 14.5 could be $60b (Apple ads replacing 3-rd party ads from Facebook & Google)
  • Google tests feature for Chrome: Desktop Sharing Hub or Chrome Sharing Menu: generating a QR code, sharing to devices, casting a tab and other actions that revolve around sharing the current page to another person or device from a centralised location
  • Regulatory

Netflix: all the originals & licensing announcements of Week 19

Series - scripted
  • Series LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS volume 2 (8 episodes, duration 4-15 min) premieres 210514, ordered season 3
  • Series Lupin season 2 (France; Omar Sy, 5 episodes) premieres 210611
  • Coming-of-age drama series Ragnarok (Norway) season 2 premieres 210527
  • Anime series Eden premieres 210527
  • Dramedy series Sex/Life premieres 210625
  • Animated series Masters of the Universe: Revelation (part 1: 5 episodes) premieres 210723
  • Dramedy series The Chair (David Benioff & DB Weiss; Sandra Oh, 6 episodes) premieres 210827
  • Series La Casa de Papel/Money Heist (Spain) season 5 (final) production completed
  • Orders comedy series Uncoupled (from Darren Star; 8 episodes)
  • Orders Bridgerton spin-off series from Shonda Rhimes
Movies - scripted
  • Dramedy FATHERHOOD (Kevin Hart) premieres 210618
  • Action thriller movie Xtreme (Spain) premieres 210604
  • Orders Enola Holmes sequel movie (Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill)
  • Ordered installments 2 & 3 of Knives Out movie trilogy (#1 released by Lionsgate; Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monae, Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn)
  • Coming-of-age movie Skater Girl (India) premieres 210611
  • Orders animated movie Ultraman (Japan)
  • Animated movie Wish Dragon (licensed from Sony) premieres 210611
Movies & series - unscripted

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Week 18 in Telecoms, Internet, Media


  • KPN: Bloomberg: EQT/Stonepeak offered to add EUR 4b to capex, to merge with Delta Fiber, to offer >3 EUR/share; now willing to offer more    
  • TIM: Reuters: government Italy abandons network merger plan with Open Fiber; TIM denies
  • MasMovil (KKR, Cinven, Providence): Sells 51% stake in rural FTTH network (1.1m HP in >1000 towns) to Onivia (= Macquarie), rumored price EUR 390m incl option for 100k HP more; to acquire Lycamobile España
  • Cordiant Digital Infrastructure: Acquires towerco (660 for mobile & RTV) from České Radiokomunikace from Macquarie Asset Mgt; acquires fiberco Norway
  • Orange Belgium: Orange expands stake to 76.97% (46,191,064 shares) as 14,368,307 shares (23.94%) tendered
  • Verizon: Sells 90% of Verizon Media (Yahoo, AOL) to Apollo Global Mgt, $5b ($4.25b cash, $750m in prefs), to close 21H2; to be renamed Yahoo, Guru Gowrappan remains CEO - Moody's: no impact on ratings or outlook
  • Vivendi and Mediaset waive all litigation & claims, Dailymotion settles with Mediaset (RTI, Medusa), pays EUR 26.3m, Vivendi to reduce mediaset stake by 19.2 pp in 5 yr (for 2.75-3.10 EUR/share), to hold 4.61%; Fininvest (Berlusconi, 44%) to raise stake by 5 pp at 2.70 EUR/share
  • Canal+ Polski (Vivendi, Liberty Global, TVN): Suspends IPO plan (IPO price max PLN 60)
  • Amazon
    • CEO Jeff Bezos sold shares 210503-04; started with 53,209,269, ended with 52,470,237 shares [sold 739,032 shares at average ~3350 $/share = $2.48b]
    • CEO Jeff Bezos sold shares 210505-06; started with 52,468,037, ended with 51,731,205 shares [sold 736,832 shares at average ~3300 $/share = $2.43b]


  • Liberty Global: 21Q1; guidance 2021: return to rev growth (overcoming regulatory headwinds), to capture GBP 15m costs in 21H1, adj EBITDA stable, OpFCF decline LSD
  • VodafoneZiggo (Vodafone, Liberty Global): 21Q1 prelim, COVID-19 impact: rev -13m (roaming/OoB, VR, handset sales), adj EBITDA -3m (roaming, handset, personnel, marketing); maintains guidance 2021: adj EBITDA growth 1-3%, capex/sales 19-21%, cash distribution EUR 550-650m
  • Sunrise UPC (Liberty Global): 21Q1
  • RTL: 21Q1; maintains outlook 2021: rev EUR 6.2b, adj EBITDA EUR 975m (incl streaming startup losses EUR 150m)
  • ViacomCBS: 21Q1; Paramount+ net adds 6m; total streaming subs 35.9m; Pluto TV reaches <50m MAU; Paramount+ to premiere 1 film/week from 2022, to double originals spending in 2021; Paramount+ to lower price of AVOD tier form 6 to 5 $/mo from June 2021; Paramount+ plans expansion to Australia/NZ 210811 (to rebrand 10 All Access), 9 aud/MO, 20k
  • Cegeka: 2020: rev EUR 640m


Copper switch-off

  • KPN: KPN NetwerkNL switched off copper access lines (40k) in Amsterdam IJburg, Bennekom, Bergeijk, Eersel, Eibergen, Zwolle Stadshagen 210401 (Project KoperUit), KPN Wholesale ended MDF-access, WBA/VULA over koper, WLR/CPS, WEAS over koper, ILL 2 Mbit/s services (small number of copper lines remain, with VULA, WBA, WEAS), adjust migration process for speedier transition to fiber; large scale copper switch-off from 2023
  • TIM launches copper switch-off, first in Trento

FTTH Netherlands



  • Vodafone: Expands Google GCP partnership: to build data platform Nucleus (incl Dynamo system to drive data); combined 1000 employees in US, UK, ES; developed >700 use cases to deliver new products & services quickly across markets, support fact-based decision-making, reduce costs, remove duplication of data sources, simplify & centralise operations
  • Ericsson launches Ericsson Wireless Office subscription service (pay-as-you-go) in US, from 100 $/employee/mo: virtual workspace (office-in-a-box, Workspace as a Service), cloud-based (removes the dependency of in-house IT expertise, physical installments, devices), 5G-ready, automates desktop provisioning and software license management, embedded security framework, cloud storage; distr deal with Telarus for marketing; technology based on StratusWorX acquisition
  • SPI International: Launches linear channel FilmBox in NL, first distr partner Canal Digitaal (Canal+) (first in DTH at channel 14, IPTV to follow)
  • Cinemark partners with 5 majors (Warner Bros Picture Group, Walt Disney Co, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Ent (previouslu Universal Pictures [see 200116])) on shorter theatrical window
  • Facebook Workplace (software for internal business social network to communicate with employees) reaches 7m paid subs, adds features (live Q&A, Microsoft 365 integration, Google G Suite integration)
  • Twitter
    • Acquires Scroll (software platform to read content only from multiple participating subscriptions, without ads, 5 $/mo; also Nuzzel, email newsletter of top stories shared in Twitter feed), to develop subscription service, to close down Nuzzel
    • Content deals with NBCU, MLB, Genius, Billboard, Tastemade, NHL, Vice Media Group’s Refinery29, Riot Gams
    • Launches Tip Jar to make donations to creators using Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal, Venmo (on Android: also Spaces), Twitter takes no cut
  • Snap: Plans to launch Creator Marketplace, allowing creators to partner with marketers

Streaming video


FTTH coordination: ACM report (Update markstudie uitrol van glasvezel in Nederland)

  • positive on accelerated fiber roll-out (at current tempo nationwide by 2030), worried about some duplication (disruption from digging, deters some investors), considers geographic coordination with munis & operators & MinEZK (suggests co-investment)
  • ACM has no power to prohibited roll-out (but will act on anti-competitive behavior)
  • duplication improves competition
  • ACM considers new access regulation (replacing WFA, complementing KPN's voluntary wholesale offering)
  • estimated 20k rural addresses will not have fiber (operators are not applying for state support for white spots)
  • ACM suggests SOK (samenwerkingsovereenkomst = convenant) on trench depth, locations of cabinets & PoPs, muni may want to prevent cherry-picking, reciprocal access conditions can't be forced by ACM), operators have limited interest in trench sharing
  • KPN and T-Mobile NL positive on cooperation

Net neutrality: New York AG report: US ISPs flooded FCC with fake comments ahead of abolishing NN regulation (2017)

WFH: Google: Googlegeist (annual employee survey; total 110k in 170 cities in 60 countries): 70% positive about WFH, 15% negative - Expects 20% of employees to work from home permanently, 40% to work from normal office several days a week, 20% to work from other offices