Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Outlook 2023: 9 predictions for the Dutch market

1. The multi-gig is not embraced en masse

For now, Delta is the champion of the multi-gig offering (8 Gbps). However, the uptake of services above 1 Gbps is quite low, although it can vary greatly regionally. It seems to be more for the business market for now, although something like the metaverse could also drive demand for bandwidth for consumers. We do not expect KPN and Ziggo to feel the pressure to participate in this early phase of a new trend. It is technically difficult: KPN's XGS-PON network is far from national and Docsis 3.1 requires adjustments to go above 1 Gbps. Even the challenger T-Mobile apparently has no plans. It will be after 2023 before we start purchasing the multi-gig on a large scale.

2. Delta Fiber buys Open Dutch Fiber

If investors have to answer the question 'what is a long-term investment', the answer is 'a failed short-term investment'. This also threatens Open Dutch Fiber. It seemed so easy: quickly install fiber optic networks in the major cities, withdraw customers en masse from KPN (and Ziggo) and then put KPN in front of the block to take over the company. It turns out not to be that easy. KPN builds just as quickly and for less than 1,000 euros per line. KPN will reject a takeover for a multiple of this multiple. Furthermore, it relies on its brand name and offerings to win back customers.

Delta Fiber is different in the competition. There is no overlap with Open Dutch Fiber and a merger is obvious with a deal in shares. EQT, Stonepeak, KKR and DTCP share ownership and with certain rights KKR, for example, can be awarded an elegant exit.

3. T-Mobile faces competition on Open Dutch Fiber

Well, this is an open door, but ODF will eagerly await the arrival of multiple ISPs on its network. It is wise if you have strong infrastructure competition, such as Delta Fiber in its home country Zeeland. According to insiders, the deal with T-Mobile is that the latter has exclusive rights as ISP on every network for a year. That period will end first in Zoetermeer. We count on providers such as Online, Youfone, Kliksafe, Freedom Internet and perhaps even Solcon (KPN) to be eager to join from the beginning of 2023.

4. No fourth MNO

New technology can turn an industry upside down. Fiber optic has generated a large number of new entrants, sometimes locally or regionally, and sometimes with a new business model, such as wholesale-only. Unfortunately, the mobile sector is much more locked down. After the last consolidation (T-Mobile bought Tele2 and Simpel) the number of MNOs went back to three and the largest MVNO disappeared.

In other countries, after such a round, there appears to be room for a newcomer and fourth MNO, such as in Italy (Iliad) and Japan (Rakuten), and soon in Germany (1&1 from United Internet), Belgium (Citymesh Mobile from Cegeka and Digi) and the US (Dish). They rely on various things for this: affordable spectrum, access to a wholesale provider of installation points (such as Cellnex in the Netherlands) and relatively cheap cloud technology (such as that of Rakuten, which is also used by e.g. 1&1).

No one in the Netherlands sees this gap in the market.

5. VodafoneZiggo is selling its pylons

Last May, parent company Liberty Global announced that it was considering selling VodafoneZiggo's mobile sites. It has not come to that, but with major investments on the way, it is now more obvious. The debt position cannot go up any further and if the dividend cannot be reduced, then there is only one option: to sell the 'silver'. Half-sister Telenet preceded VodafoneZiggo in this, but interest rates have since risen further. This means that the buyer cannot so easily load the mast company with debt.

Sales could generate at least a billion euros, money that is badly needed for the 5G auction of Q3 2023 and the content ambitions (interest for the Eredivisie).

6. T-Mobile discontinues its television platform

The television market is changing rapidly. With the arrival of SkyShowtime, a provisional endpoint has been reached where a large number of apps (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, SkyShowtime, Apple TV+) compete for the favor of the viewer. New hardware (smart TV, casting devices) and software (such as Google TV) reduce linear television to 'just another app', supported by NLziet's stand-alone OTT-TV apps (NPO, RTL, Talpa for EUR 8/month) and Canal Digital (an even wider range for EUR 15/month).

For now, broadband customers usually ask for the double play BB + TV but that is shifting. Cord cutting will continue to increase. This makes it expensive to maintain a television platform. The ISP can simply refer to the mentioned hardware, software and streamers. T-Mobile in particular can show itself to be a forerunner in this. An alternative is the Zattoo platform service.

Maybe 2023 is too soon, but T-Mobile wouldn't be the first to take this step.

7. Stacking increases

The SVOD providers mentioned above almost all have a qualitatively and quantitatively excellent offer. With OTT-TV as 'just another app', cord cutting is increasing and budget is freed up for a new subscription. Unless the economic malaise throws a spanner in the works, there will be room for a new subscription.

8. Viaplay buys the Eredivisie rights

The rights to the Eredivisie will soon be released and will be available for a new period of seven years. The return of Bob Iger as CEO of Walt Disney (parent company of ESPN) suggests that costs are being scrutinized. ESPN Netherlands is probably not a core activity, which increases the chances of the rights being transferred to another party. According to reports, Ziggo is a candidate, but the costs may be too high, reportedly EUR 150 million per season. Then Viaplay is the obvious choice.

9. RTL-Talpa merger called off

Apparently, the authorities (ACM) and the candidates are busy assessing the merger plans of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network. Undoubtedly, concessions play a major role in this, because if France is leading, then the omens are unfavorable.

The big question is whether RTL and Talpa can continue the success of Videoland by working together without a merger. There is still considerable growth, but with the arrival of the major American parties, Videoland's market share is decreasing slightly. If they think they need a full merger for this, then it suggests that they also need the other benefits of the merger in order to survive (they're already losing UEFA rights too): cost benefits from eliminating overlap and revenue benefits from a stronger position vis-à-vis producers and advertisers. However, the latter is a 'no go' for ACM. ACM wants to protect the positions of producers and advertisers.

If RTL and Talpa opt for a limited collaboration in Videoland, the next question is what will happen to NLziet. In France, commercial broadcasters are withdrawing from Salto, comparable to NLziet, now that their merger has been banned. That would mean the end of NLziet. Perhaps that gives the parties extra leverage to push through their merger with ACM: "if we are not allowed to merge, we will stop NLziet".

Originally published here (in Dutch)

Friday, December 09, 2022

Walt Disney launches Disney+ Basic in US

Launches ad-supported tier Disney+ Basic in US

  • 8 $/mo
  • ad-load 4 min/hr (no ads on kids profiles & preschool content; >100 advertisers at launch: Google, P&G, Verizon, Taco Bell, Walmart, etc)
  • all content incl HD
  • max 4 simultaneous screens, max 7 profiles
  • no downloads
  • raises ad-free tier from 8 to 11 $/mo or 110 $/yr
  • bundle prices:
    • Disney+ & Hulu with ads (Duo Basic) 10 $/mo
    • Disney+ & Hulu & ESPN+ with ads (Trio Baisc) 13 $/mo
    • Disney+ & Hulu With Live TV & ESPN+ with ads 70 $/mo
    • Disney+ & Hulu & ESPN+ ad-free (Trio Premium) 20 $/mo
    • Disney+ ad-free & Hulu with ads & ESPN+ 15 $/mo only for existing subs

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

AWS re:invent 2022

AWS re:Invent 2022 (221128 - 221202, Las Vegas):

  • No hiring freeze, keeps building datacenters
  • Plans to be water positive (water+) from 2030 (returning more water to communities than it uses)
  • Signs Descartes Labs; and Wallbox; and Brookfield AM; and Stability AI; and Yahoo; and American Family Insurance
  • Vodafone, Intel, Dish Wireless, Swisscom, Spark, Telenor, Telefónica, T-Systems, JMA Wireless, others demo MEC & RAN solutions
  • Expands partnership with Slalom to develop vertical solutions and accelerators on AWS for customers in the energy, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, public sector, and media & entertainment industries - Expands partnership with Atos (enables Atos customers with large-scale infrastructure outsourcing contracts to accelerate workload migrations to the cloud and achieve digital transformation)
  • Launches tools to connect & analyse data stores - Launches Amazon DataZone - Launches Amazon Security Lake - Launches AWS SimSpace Weaver - Launches 3 new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances powered by 3 new AWS-designed chips - Launches Graviton3E chip - Launches AWS Supply Chain - Launches AWS Clean Rooms - Launches Application Composer (low-code tool for builduing serverless apps) - Launches  AWS AI Service Cards
  • Adds 5 new capabilities for Amazon QuickSight - Adds 5 new Database & Analytics capabilities - Adds 8 new Amazon SageMaker capabilities

Thursday, November 10, 2022

United Internet's and 1&1's 5G roll-out plan updated: FWA first

1&1 (United Internet) presented a new time table (slide 10) for its 5G network roll-out:

  • FWA launch 22Q4
  • Nationwide marketing launch, and end to MVNO sales, 23Q3

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Netflix Q3


  • "After a challenging first half, we believe we’re on a path to reaccelerate growth. The key is pleasing members."
  • "We think our bingeable release model helps drive substantial engagement, especially for newer titles."
  • "Our existing plans remain ad free."
  • To stop providing subs forecasts from 23Q1
  • Strong USD impact 2022E $1b on rev, $0.8b on oper income; oper margin target (19-20%) on track but lower if USD remains above Jan 2022 level
  • Targets FCF: 2022 $1b (+/-  few 100m), 2023 substantial growth
  • Growth rates excluding currency effects:
    • 22Q3
      • Total streamers (223m) +4.5% (lowest ever)
      • ARM ($11.85) +8%
      • Revenues ($7.93b) +13%
    • 22Q4E
      • Total streamers (228m) +2.6%
      • ARM +6%
      • Revenues ($7.78b) +9%
  • Margins
    • Gross margin (after content amortisation) 39.6% (down from a peak 21H1).
    • Marketing expense 7.2% of revenues (roughly at a low)
    • Technology & Development roughly flat at ~8.5% of revenues
    • Operating margin 19.3%
  • Cash flow
    • Cash spent on streaming content $4.52b in Q3, $17.8b TTM (stable for 4 quarters)
    • Cash spending-to-amortisation ratio 1.24x (peaked at 1,75x in 19Q4)
    • Cash spent per net add $1,884 (peak)
    • Cash spent per retained sub $20.4 (longer term roughly flat)
    • Cash & equivalents $6.11b. Last debt issue 20Q2, then bottomed at $5.82b in 22Q2.
  • "We now have 35 games on service (all included in every Netflix subscription without in-game ads or in-app purchases) and we’re seeing some encouraging signs of gameplay leading to higher retention." + 55 games in development
  • Animal Logic acquisition [see 220719] to impact 22Q4 cashflow
  • Plans new game studio in S California
  • Considers cloud gaming service
Password sharing
  • To start charging sharers extra for borrowers from early 2023.
  • Borrowers may create own subscription, perhaps the Basic With Ads tier.
  • Borrowers can migrate their profiles using Profile Transfer.
Main points
  • Back to subscriber growth.
  • Heavy USD impact.
  • Focus on customer: content (originals) & binge viewing.
  • Games becoming more important.
  • Password sharing attacked with charging plan, cheaper tier and Profile Transfer.
  • Margins could be expanded, as scale builds, but games delay the process.
  • Content spending stabilising in absolute terms.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Vodafone selects Altice for open access fiber joint venture

Vodafone selects Altice for open access fiber joint venture (instead of KKR, Brookfield or Deutsche Glasfaser/EQT).

  • Vodafone DE to establish 50/50 JV FibreCo 23H1 with Altice
  • To develop 7m FTTH lines (o/w 80% to housing ass in existing HFC footprint, 20% to neighbouring homes outside current footprint) in 6 yr
  • Total investment EUR 7b o/w 70% debt financed
  • Currently offering 1 Gb/s to >24m homes (incl wholesale on Telekom, ...); to complement node splitiing, Docsis 3.1 (high splitting, max 3 Gb/s), Docsis 4.0
  • Open for wholesale (Vodafone DE anchor tenant without minimum revenue or volume commitment)
  • Construction & maintenance by Geodesia (= Altice)
  • Vodafone DE to receive max EUR 1.2b cash (o/w 120m upfront at closing JV, 487m deferred during roll-out, earn-out max 595m)
Current JV's in Germany:

Friday, October 14, 2022

Netflix's tier #4 coming November 1, 2022: Basic With Ads - Updated

To launch AVOD tier Basic With Ads in 12 countries from November 1, 2022:

  • 221101 in Canada (6 CAD/mo), Mexico
  • 221103 in US (7 $/mo), UK (5 GBP/mo), Australia (7 AUD/mo), Brazil, Japan, S Korea, DE (5 EUR/mo), FR (6 EUR/mo), IT (5.5 EUR/mo)
  • 221110 in ES (5.5 EUR/mo)
  • To provide outlook at 22Q3 (221018), questions:
    • Growth (take-up) prospects
    • Customer satisfaction
    • ARPU impact
    • Cannibalisation. How many will sign-up as new customers vs. current customers downgrading.
    • CPM (current and future, assuming stronger targeting)
    • Will there also be, in time, a 'Standard With Ads' and a 'Premium With Ads' tier?
  • "We're confident that ... we now have a price and plan for every fan."


  • 1 simultaneous device
  • HD/720p
  • No downloads
  • Excludes 5-10% of titles as result of rights restrictions (to be reduced over time)


  • Pre & post roll ads, new movies pre-rolls only
  • 15-30 sec (20 sec in ES)
  • Ad load 4-5 min/hr
  • Targeting at first based on Top 10 by region & genre, later possibly on age, gender, viewing behavior, time of day.
  • Ads sales based on fixed price not auction.
  • Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) service to start measuring 2023, eventually through Nielsen ONE Ads.
  • DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (IAS) to verify viewability & traffic validity of ads from 23Q1.

Comparison to current tiers:

  • To upgrade Basic plan to HD (720p).
  • Current US tiers Basic, Standard, Premium 10, 15.5, 20 $/mo
  • Current US DVD-by-Mail: 10, 15, 20 $/mo for 1, 2, 3 discs concurrently

Monday, October 10, 2022

Why FWA is serious business in Denmark, but not in The Netherlands - Updated

  • DK and NL have high levels of fiber.
  • The 3.5 GHz band was auctioned in DK in 2021, NL will follow 2023.
  • 3 Denmark (Hi3G DK) embarked on heavy investment in network desnification (see graph). They are now marketing FWA-over-5G as an alternative to fiber.
  • MNOs in NL will refrain from this kind of investment: 1. VodafoneZiggo and T-Mobile NL are heavily leveraged, they need to pay large annual dividends and they will stay away from any serious market disruption, 2. In the mobile oligopoly, KPN also pays out large dividends and will not feel challenged.

Delta Fiber projects

Delta Fiber FTTH projects (red flags) avoid the former Reggefiber footrpint (east).

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

GSMA report The Mobile Economy Europe 2022

GSMA report The Mobile Economy Europe 2022

Friday, September 30, 2022

Mobile tower in the style of Dali

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Amazon Devices & Services 2022

Amazon Devices & Services 2022: Launches in US & Canada:

  • eero PoE 6 ($300) and eero PoE Gateway ($650) devices (WiFi) and eero for Pro Installers (free with device) and eero for Business (annual license $300) (services)
  • Blink Wired Floodlight Camera ($100) and Blink Mini Pan Tilt (mount, $30)
  • Fire TV Omni QLED Series (smart TV, with Alexa, Ambient Experience; 65 inch for $800, 75 inch for $1100)
  • Halo Rise (bedside sleep tracker; $140 incl 6 mo free Halo service)
  • Kindle Scribe (10.2 inch) e-reader with pen (Basic or Premium) for taking notes in books; from $340
  • 4 (5) new Echo devices (smart speakers, with Alexa):
    • Echo Dot (gen 5; incl eero mesh WiFi extender, $50)
    • Echo Dot with Clock (incl eero mesh WiFi extender, $60)
    • Echo Dot Kids (Owl and Dragon designs; incl 1 yr free Amazon Kids+; $60)
    • Echo Studio (with spatial audio tech, $200)
    • Echo Auto ($55; can call for roadside assistance)
  • Fire TV Cube (gen 3 streaming media player, incl Alexa, Alexa Comms, WiFi 6; $140), with Alexa Voice Remote Pro ($35)
  • Ring adds radar detection to Spotlight Cam Pro ($230 or $250 with solar), adds Spotlight Cam Plus (from $200)
  • Adds features to Astro (robot, $1000): pet detection, home security
  • Adds smart home features to Alexa

Monday, September 26, 2022

Telenet Capital Markets Day: focus remains on Flanders

CMD From Connectivity to Customer Centricity, 2023-2025

Strategic focus:

  • Telenet growth with simple & personalised offerings:
    • Residential (FMC, In-Home Connectivity, entertainment)
    • E&M (Content, prodco, VR)
    • B2B (Private 5G, ICT, Managed services, security; growth organic & via acquisitions)
  • NetCo (with Fluvius)
  • Transform operating model (based on DigitalBridge and Fluvius transactions)
  • Invest to create value longterm (NetCo EUR 2b, platforms 200m, 5G 300m)
  • ESG a part of all

Confirms outlook 2022:

  • Rev EUR 2.6b
  • expenses 1.7b, capex 0.5b (excl NetCo), opex excl personnel & energy -5% = EUR 20m
  • leverage lower end of 3.5-4.5x range
  • dividend fixed 1 EUR/yr (rising midterm from selling NetCo stake or optimising FTTH, rising longterm from lower capex intensity post FTTH)

To expand outside core into Digital Home, Business & Life:

  • Tadaam (FWA)
  • june (energy)
  • Safespot
  • The Park (VR)
  • Unit-T
  • its me
  • doccle (digital document platform)

Raises Caviar (prodco) stake:

  • from 49 to 70%; management remaining 30%
  • Consolidation from 221001
  • 2021: rev EUR 126m, EBITDA 8.8m


  • target 70% coverage in Flanders by 2029
  • fiber reduces maintenance 40%, power consumption 80%
  • target peak run-rate 430k premises/annum (2025-27)
  • 2022E KPIs: 2.1-2.2m subs (penetration ~60%), blended ARPU ~EUR 22, EBITDA margin longterm ~80%, maintenenance capex longterm <10% of rev
  • 2022E: rev EUR 0.6b, capex 0.1b, leverage 4.9x (longterm 6.0x)
NetCo original announcement (220719):
  • Establish 66.8/33.2 JV NetCo with Fluvius System Operator
  • to migrate from HFC to 'network of the future' (incl FTTH, target coverage 78% by 2038; plans Docsis upgrade in remaining areas, Docsis 4.0 from 2024), target 10 Gb/s
  • total capex EUR 2.0b (most 2023-2029; 650 EUR/home (excl capex for connection) for FTTH for >50% of homes)
  • fully financed (incl towers proceeds EUR 745m), leverage target 5.0x (ie net debt EUR 2.4b)
  • both to contribute current HFC & fiber assets, Telenet to contribute 170 employees (to hire 50 more), Fluvius to contribute lease to Telenet until 2046 (covers 1/3 of Flanders), to end on closing of JV early 2023
  • to be fully consolidated
  • open for additional investors, to provide non-discriminatory open access wholesale
  • to launch with near 60% occupancy
  • net debt Telenet to be reduced by EUR 500m (0.4x) on ending Fluvius lease, to maintain leverage at 4.0x
  • lowers div pay-out floor to 1.00 EUR/yr for 2023-29 (payable in May after AGM) from currently 2.75 EUR/yr
  • capex to drop strongly after 2029
  • plans CMD end Sep 2022
  • current data usage on fixed average 239 GB/mo

Friday, September 23, 2022

Amazon Prime Video and exclusive live sports - updated

Amazon Prime Video and the NFL:

  • The deal ranks as the #2 acquisition in Amazon's history.
  • The US market is ready for streaming-only of live sports.
  • There are lots of synergistic effects: Prime sign-ups, the use of Alexa, Audible sponsorship, partnership for betting, etc.
  • Exclusive live sports is a major content category.
  • Amazon is willing to invest heavily in Prime Video because it drives the Prime membership.
  • Amazon may export the strategy to other countries where scale is sufficient and where the market is ripe for streaming-only (or streaming-first).

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Telenor Capital Markets Day 2022 - highlight: potential sale of 30% stake in Norway FTTP network

A CMD with apparently remarkably little noteworthy:


  • New structure: Telenor Nordics & Telenor Asia
  • To become leader in Nordics in telecom & infra (to establish infra as separate business), security, IoT
  • To partner in Asia (or IPOs) to build scale and become #1 in several markets
  • To focus on 4 business areas: 1. Leading Nordic telco, 2. Strong Asian entity, 3. Leading Nordic infra co, 4. Adjacent business (current portfolio net asset value NOK 10-15b)

Outlook 2023-25:

  • Nordic SR growth LSD-MSD (incl DD growth for new services)
  • Nordic EBITDA growth MSD (annual opex redux 1-3%)
  • Growing dividend
  • Net debt/EBITDA 1.8-2.3x
  • Cumulative FCF from Telenor Asia NOK 12b
  • NPV synergies Asia NOK 20-25b
  • FCF to cover dividend in 2025
  • Norway copper-switch-off 2023, saves NOK 0.7b
  • Infrastructure business:
    • fiber (600k HP in NO; potential sale of 30% stake, proceeds partially for SBB)
    • datacenters
    • towers (26400 sites o/w 21700 fully owned; plans structural transaction)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

VodafoneZiggo: is an IPO doable?


  • Market cap: EUR 13.14b
  • Net debt at 22Q2 (incl. leases): EUR 6.21b
  • EV: EUR 19.35b
  • Adj. EBITDA AL TTM: EUR 2.38b
  • Multiple: 8.13x


  • Assumed multiple: 8.13x
  • Adj. EBITDA TTM: EUR 1.91b
  • EV: EUR 15.53b
  • Net debt at 22Q2 (incl. leases): EUR 13.28b
  • Market cap: EUR 2.25b


  • Assumed market cap: EUR 0
  • Net debt at 22Q2 (incl. leases): EUR 13.28b
  • EV: EUR 13.28b
  • Adj. EBITDA TTM: EUR 1.91b
  • Multiple: 6.95x
VodafoneZiggo requires a multiple of (way) over 7x for an IPO. Otherwise, looming for Liberty Global and Vodafone Group is a sale of VodafoneZiggo for EUR 1 (and the buyer taking over the unit's debt), similar to:
  • T-Mobile sells Sprint fiber assets to Cogent for $1.
  • ProSiebenSat.1 buys Warner Bros. Discovery out of Joyn for €1.
In Belgium, all listed majors (Proximus, Telenet, Orange Belgium) are currently valued at around 4x. A higher multiple in the Netherlands is plausible (no newcomers, fibre upgrades are carried out, regulation is not a worry) vs. Belgium (uncertainty over Orange/VOO deal, two newcomers in mobile, questions over how Telenet will go nationwide). VodafoneZiggo's multiple would likely be somewhere betwen KPN (8x) and 'Belgium' (4x).

Not selling the unit carries the risk of underinvesting and undermining the longer term value. Alternatively, heavy investments could pay off. Or possibly any hidden value in assets, such as the HFC network (assuming that Ziggo will lease it back) and the mobile base stations, could be monetised.

All in all, any sale is currentky unlikely. Cash flow generation is sufficient to pay all the bills, including dividends. The longer term risks are:
  • falling revenues, from dropping market shares (esp. from Delta and ODF overbuilding) and/or
  • rising costs, from interest (or even promotions)

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Calendar: events before Q3 reporting - Updated

  • 7 Sep: Apple Far Out
  • 8 Sep: Disney+ Day
  • 8 Sep: Microsoft concessions to CMA (UK) due for Activision Blizzard deal
  • 9 Sep: Walt Disney D23 (through Sep 11)
  • 9 Sep: IBC (through Sep 12)
  • 13 Sep: Hearing US Senate of Peiter Zatko (Twitter whistleblower)
  • 14 Sep: Amazon Accelerate for sellers (through Sep 15)
  • 14 Sep: Universal+ launches in Africa
  • 20 Sep: Telenor analyst day
  • 20 Sep: SkyShowtime launches in Nordics (NO, SE, DK, FI)
  • 24 Sep: Netflix TUDUM
  • 26 Sep: Telenet analyst day
  • 26 Sep: Sinclair launches Bally Sports+
  • 28 Sep: Vodafone Social Contract investor briefing
  • 28 Sep: Google Search On (Maps, Shopping)
  • 28 Sep: Amazon Devices & Services 2022
  • 29 Sep: Telefonica Metaverse Day
  • 6 Oct: Google Pixel hardware event #MadeByGoogle
  • 11 Oct: Meta Connect (metaverse, AR, VR)
  • 12 Oct: Microsoft Fall 2022 Event (Surface)
  • 15 Oct: Razer Con
  • 17 Oct: Twitter vs. Musk trial
  • 25 Oct: SkyShowtime launches in NL, PT
  • 27 Oct: consultation Spain ends for 26 GHz auction

Monday, September 05, 2022

SkyShowtime coming - what we know so far


  • 50/50 JV of Comcast (NBCU, Peacock, Sky) and Paramount (formerly Viacom CBS)
  • Focus on 22 European countries:
    • Iberia
    • Nordics
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • CEE: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, CZ, HU, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, RO, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia
  • Other European countries: 
    • Sky footprint (UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy), offers Peacock
    • Paramount+ footprint (current obligations, such as France, Belgium, Greece, Baltics)
  • 220920 Nodics
  • 221025 NL, PT

210818Plans SVOD launch 2022 in 22 Europe countries: ES, PT, Andorra, Nordics (DK, FI, NO, SE), NL, PL, CEE (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, CZ, HU, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, RO, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia), 90k HH, to offer premium & original content from Sky Studios, NBCU, Universal Pictures, Peacock, Paramunt+, Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon; to include scripted dramas, kids & family, key franchises, premiere movies, local programming, documentaries/factual content, total >10k hr; complement to recently announced Paramount+ partnership with Sky in UK/IE, IT, DE/CH/AT
220111Appoints Monty Sarhan (Comcast, Epix (MGM), ViacomCBS) CEO
220202Received all regulatory approvals
220310Appoints Francesca Pierce CFO, Jen McAleer CBO (Brand), Richard Howard CMO (Marketing), Josh Snow CPO (Product), Henriette Petersen RGM N Europe, Gabor Harsanyi RGM C&E Europe; plans launch 2022 with 10k hr of content from Paramount & Universal (new & library), Showtime (scripted series), Paramount+, Sky Studios, Peacock, local originals, Nickelodeon & DreamWoks & Illumination (kids & family programming); ultimately for Albania, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, CZ, DK, FI, HU, Kosovo, Montenegro, NL, N Macedonia, NO, PL, PT, RO, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, ES, SE
220613Appoints Jon Farrar (formerly BBC) Head of Programming
220614Plans launch autumn (mid Aug) 2022
220814Plans launch 2022 (Sep in NL)
220904Plans launch 220920 in DK (DKK 69), FI (EUR 7), NO (NOK 79), SE (SEK 79), next (22Q4) in NL, then (22Q4-23Q1) in ES, PT, Andorra, CEE (Albania, Bosnia &Herzegovina, BG, Croatia, CZ, HU, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, PL, RO, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia)

Friday, September 02, 2022

Netflix's AVOD tier - what we know so far - UPDATED

  • 220419 (22Q2): plans cheaper AVOD tier in 1-2 yr; 2 acquisitions (Scanline, Boss Fight Entertainment) cash cost $125m;
  • 220510 (NY Times) plans to launch cheaper AVOD tier 22Q4
  • 220608 (rumour) considers offer for Roku
  • 220614 (rumour) talks with Roku, Comcast on handling ad sales for ad-supported tier
  • 220621 (rumour) talks with Google, Comcast (incl FreeWheel for tech, NBCU), Roku, DoubleVerify to develop ad-supported tier
  • 220630 (NY Times) talks with rights holders over ad placement (WSJ): renegotiates content deals with Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures Television
  • 220713 (statement) Partners with Microsoft for ad sales on AVOD tier [see 220419] (WSJ) based on Microsoft's Xandr unit; plans AVOD service in >10 countires (incl Canada, UK) end 2022
  • 220719 (22Q2) plans AVOD tier early 2023 (may lack some content that was not renegotiated for ads)
  • 220803 (WSJ) to charge advertisers $80 per 1000 views (SMI) may charge $25-45 CPM
  • 220827 (Bloomberg) AVOD tier to cost 7-9 $/mo, ad load 4 min/hr (not in kids programming or in original movies), to launch 22Q4
  • 220831 (WSJ) seeks $65 CPM from advertisers [see 220803], AVOD tier to launch 221101, to cap spending to 20m $/brand/yr, to sell 15 & 30 sec ads before & during programs
  • 220901 (Variety) to launch AVOD tier 221101 (before Disney+ AVOD 221208) in US, Canada, UK, DE, FR, advertisers commitment minimum 10m $/annum, targets 500k subs YE 2022, will not serve ads based on geography (except by country), age, gender, viewing behavior, time of day; frequency cap for individual ads 1 view/hr & 3 views/day, $65 CPM is soft (negotiable)
  • 220914 (WSJ): plans to launch AVOD Dec 2022 in US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, S Korea, Australia, UK, FR, DE, ES, IT; expects 40m AVOD subs end 2023 (o/w 13.3m in US), 4.4m YE 2022 (o/w 1.1m in US)

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

yallo (Sunrise UPC) launches free stand-alone ad-funded OTT-TV service

yallo (Sunrise UPC subbrand) launches yallo Free TV:

  • free streaming service with ads (during recordings and channel switching, skippable after 15 sec), (all) 270 channels
  • also for non-subs (stand-alone)
  • "offers everything needed for occasional television viewing"
  • available for Apple TV, select Android devices (yallo TV Box), iOS & Android (smartphones & tablets), web (browser)
  • with personalisation & TV casting (max 30 hr/mo) & DVR (excludes series; deleted after 14 days) for registered users
  • ad placements via Goldbach and Wilmaa Free
  • Sub-brand yallo is expanded further.
  • Acknowledges occasional TV viewing (but with some upselling possible to regular yallo TV service). Significant limitation in casting.
  • Interesting ad strategy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Why an 'internet traffic tax' doesn't stand a chance - updates

A number of large European telecom companies want the large internet platforms to contribute to the costs of the growing data traffic. They translate this into a contribution to infrastructure investments. The market offers no solution because they claim to have no bargaining power to force lower traffic costs. Imposing higher subscription rates on end users is not an option for the telecom companies either, and so they end up with politicians. They want a contribution to the costs from the large platforms, which would take the form of an 'internet traffic tax'. Armed with a number of reports, a lobby has been launched in Brussels and BEREC and the EC are working on regulations. However, on closer inspection, the basis for introducing such a tax is lacking. The chances of an internet traffic tax therefore seem minimal.


In May, consultancy firm AXON published a report for ETNO, the association of European incumbents, in which it made the case for an 'internet traffic tax'. The GSMA added a report written from the mobile operator's perspective and Analysys Mason also contributed.

Communication Chambers tore down the case for an internet traffic tax. We recommend reading the report. Nevertheless, BEREC saw reason to open a consultation, until July 22, and the EC announced a regulation before the fall, the Connectivity Infrastructure Act, which addresses the subject. In the meantime, there is a lot of lobbying for an internet traffic tax, in which the parties know that they are supported by the aforementioned reports. What is striking is that the operators generally make a very different sound towards the financial world (something Communications Chambers also delicately points out), as recently again with the quarterly figures. In a large number of cases, these provided room for raising expectations for 2022.

Argument 1: cloud

The telecom sector has a love-hate relationship with the internet platforms. The platforms have greatly undermined the role of traditional telephony and television, but in return, the telecom companies have been able to develop internet access as a business, which has certainly benefited them. Some telecom companies (not coincidentally, for example, Google Fiber) have even completely stopped with traditional services in order to significantly reduce the cost base. They simply refer their customers to OTT services as an alternative to their 'managed services' of yesteryear. Also in the field of virtualization and cloud-native the ties with the majors are close (including BT with both Google Cloud and AWS).

The decentralization of content and applications has major consequences for costs. The internet platforms, notably Google, Microsoft and Amazon, have built global cloud networks (incl. CDNs and submarine cables) to bring their servers physically closer to the end customer. They have done so without asking the telecom companies to share in the lucrative revenues of the Internet access market.

Governments have embraced the internet and broadband to make many services, including government services, more efficient - with all the associated benefits. The fact that the internet platforms earn a lot of money with this is independent of that. Similarly, Philips has become rich by selling electrical appliances with the advent of the electricity network - without the utility companies sharing in the revenues.

It is irrelevant that much of that money ends up with a handful of internet majors. It is a result of the 'winner takes all' effect. According to Sandvine, Google, Meta, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft account for 57 percent of internet traffic. In other words: social networking, video and gaming even represent 70 percent. However, without that concentration among the internet majors, the situation for the telecom companies would be the same, but they would not be able to target those ‘darned majors’.

Argument 2: impact

In addition, the question is what the impact of such a tax would be. An additional source of income increases the free cash flow and thus the scope for paying dividends. It is by no means guaranteed that the telecom companies would increase their capex budget. At the same time, internet platforms would see their costs rise, which could curb investments and, moreover, would increase their prices (advertising and subscription rates, CPE prices). Ultimately, the consumer pays for the costs and the shareholder has the last laugh.

One concern is how the tax would relate to other laws and regulations. Net neutrality would be jeopardized if such a tax were imposed only on large platforms (or certain types of traffic, such as video). Rising costs for consumers can also have a negative effect on digitization, which is something that Europe is strongly aiming for. The great success of the Internet companies is to some extent applauded by the EC, although it would have been preferred if the proceeds were divided among more than just a handful of majors.

Politicians would rather let the market do its job than intervene again, after the DSA (where platforms are defined as 'gatekeepers') and the DMA (where special rules apply to the VLOPs, the 'very large online platforms') a long period of negotiation through the Brussels trilogue.

Argument 3: costs

The arguments for an internet traffic tax are largely based on the costs of the rapidly growing data traffic. The substantiation is weak: these costs (per unit) have been falling sharply for years, while the results of the telecom companies only show growing margins. Unsurprisingly, it is not specified which part of the opex consists of traffic costs and how this cost item develops.

Somehow, the telco majors make a leap from the cost of data traffic to the cost of upgrading their networks – which is strictly a different matter. The first point where their arguments fail.

In addition, mobile operators earn directly from increasing traffic: more use forces consumers to take out a larger and more expensive subscription. In the fixed-line segment, of course, the situation is different. We are used to unlimited use with pricing based solely on speed. Heavier usage doesn't necessarily lead to a need for a higher-speed subscription. If cost were a real problem, then competition would not be an argument for not implementing a price increase. After all, all ISPs suffer from higher costs.

We can further ask the question: what is logical, what is justified? Telecom companies have the right to investigate whether they can develop a two-sided business model, in which not only the end user (the consumer) pays, but also the supplier (the internet platforms). This will not work without politics, because if telecom company X threatens to let the services of, for example, Meta Platforms go 'dark' because of the rising costs, telecom companies Y and Z immediately jump into the hole because there is no question of rising costs at all.

Modernizing networks is business-as-usual for telecom companies. It ensures a capex-to-sales ratio of at least 15 percent, with peaks above 20 percent in times of technological change. If they find their returns insufficient, then they should try to raise their rates. After all, it is their customers, the end users, who are using the content and applications of the platforms and cause the data traffic. The platforms merely provide these and do not cause any traffic by themselves. Or the telcos could stop offering 'managed services' to drastically reduce their costs; they can easily refer to Meta, Microsoft, Google, Netflix and NLziet for equivalent services.

As Ad Scheepbouwer said when he left KPN as CEO in 2011, "The solution is not to have Google pay. (Then) we should have invented Google ourselves".

  • The internet majors could demand reciprocal funduing for content, applications and infrastructure, possible even an equity stake in the networks that they would subsidise.
  • Talk of any 'level playing field' makes no sense. There isn't one. Telcos provide infrastructure and get handsomely rewarded for that. It is up to everybody else to benefit from this - not least enterprises and governments  that aim for digital transformation.
  • Plume Consulting report (2011): "Rather than worrying, the increasing demand for Internet content is good as it supports revenue growth and broadband investment; Telecom providers' costs are not ballooning because of data growth; Content and application providers do not cause traffic; Content and application providers invest considerably in distribution infrastructure and technologies and do not 'free ride' on networks; Investment in next generation broadband would not necessarily increase, and may even decrease, if content and application providers were required to pay for users to enjoy their apps and services".
  • Netflix response (2014): "Netflix isn't 'dumping' data; it's satisfying requests made by ISP customers who pay a lot of money for high speed Internet; Netflix believes strong net neutrality is critical, but in the near term we will in cases pay the toll to the powerful ISPs to protect our consumer experience; ISPs sometimes point to data showing that Netflix members account for about 30% of peak residential Internet traffic, so the ISPs want us to share in their costs. But they don't also offer for Netflix or similar services to share in the ISPs revenue, so cost-sharing makes no sense; Interestingly, there is one special case where no-fee interconnection is embraced by the big ISPs -- when they are connecting among themselves. They argue this is because roughly the same amount of data comes and goes between their networks. But when we ask them if we too would qualify for no-fee interconnect if we changed our service to upload as much data as we download -- thus filling their upstream networks and nearly doubling our total traffic -- there is an uncomfortable silence. That's because the ISP argument isn't sensible. Big ISPs aren't paying money to services like online backup that generate more upstream than downstream traffic. Data direction, in other words, has nothing to do with costs".

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Fiber Joint Ventures in Europe

CountryJVTelcosEnergy coInvestors
GlaspoortKPN 50%APG 50%
Open Dutch FiberKKR, DTCP
Delta FiberEQT 50%, Stonepeak 50%
EurofiberAntin 80%, PGGM 20%
Fiberklaar (Flanders)Proximus 49.9%, Delta Fiber 50.1%
Unifiber (Wallonia)Proximus 49.9%, Eurofiber 50.1%
TBA (German area)Proximus <50%Ethias >50%
TBA (rural)ProximusSynaton (Engie)FPIM, AG
TBA (Flanders)Telenet 67%Fluvius 33%
Orange ConcessionsOrange 50%Consortium (3 banks) 50%
IFTFree (Iliad) 49%InfraVia 51%
Xp FibreAltice 50.01%Allianz/AXA/OMERS 49.99%
SDFASTBouyguesVauban Infra
Glasfaser NordwestTelekom DEEWE
GlasfaserPlusTelekom DE 50%IFM Investors 50%
Unsere Grüne GlasfaserTelefonica DE 50%Allianz 50%
Deutsche GigaNetzInfraRed Capital, DWS, Axos Capital
Westenergie BreitbandE.ONIgneo
Vattenfall EurofiberEurofiberVattenfall
Liberty Networks GermanyLiberty Global 50%InfraVia 50%
TBAGeodesia (Altice), Deutsche Glasfaser
FiberCopTIM 58%, Fastweb 4.5%KKR 37.5%
Open FiberCDP 60%Macquarie 40%
FiberCo (Światłowód Inwestycje)Orange PL 50%APG 50%
FiberForcePlay (Iliad) 50%InfraVia 50%
NexeraInfracapital (= M&G) 86%, Nokia 14%
Swiss Fibre Net (SFN)Didico, DANETewb, ewl, St Galler Stadtwerke
CityFibreAntin, WSIP (Goldman Sachs, Broad Street), Mubadala, Interogo
Community FibreWarburg Pincus, DTCP
Axione FibreBouyguesVauban Infrastructure
SIROVodafone 50%ESB 50%
Fibre Networks Irelandeir 50.01%InfraVia 49.99%
National Broadband IrelandAsterion 80%, Granahan McCourt 6%, Tetrad 13%, mgt 1%
Bluevia FibraTelefonica ES 30%, Telefonica Infra 25%Crédit Agricole & Vauban Infrastructure 45%
OniviaMacquarie, Aberdeen Standard, Daiwa, Arjun Infrastructure
LyntiaAXA & Swiss Life 67%, Morrison & Co 33%
FastfiberAltice 50.01%Morgan Stanley 49.99%