McMafiaThe BBC reported a record 328 million programme requests on iPlayer in January, marking “the best month on record” for the catch-up service.The BBC said the number of shows accessed on the iPlayer in January was up 10% compared to the same month in 2017, with an average of 10.6 million daily requests for TV content in January this year.BBC crime drama McMafia was the most popular show of the month, with episode one of the series streamed 3.4 million times. Three other episodes from this series were among the top-10 most requested shows in January.The other top 10 most-requested shows of the month were episodes of the dramas Silent Witness and Hard Sun, as well as three episodes of long-running soap opera Eastenders.“2018 has got off to a flying start, thanks in no small part to a range of gripping BBC dramas. McMafia, Hard Sun and Silent Witness dominate our most popular programmes on iPlayer for January, as does the always strong-performing EastEnders,” said Dan McGolpin, controller of programming and daytime for the BBC.“It was also impressive to see the wildlife series Big Cats make this month’s top five performing series with an average of over 1 million requests per episode. It’s been a great start to the year, and we’re aiming to build on that success in the coming months.”Last month the BBC said that 2017 was the “best year ever” for the iPlayer. Company stats revealed that viewers streamed 272 million programmes per month on average in 2017, with total requests growing to 3.3 billion – an 11% increase on the previous year.
TV ad measurement company iSpot.tv is seeking to bolster the adoption of its TV advertising analytics technology with an additional US$30 million of investment capital.Sean MullerThe new money brings investment in iSpot.tv to US$57.8 million since the company started to offer real-time TV advertising analytics at scale in 2012.iSpot, which delivers actionable analytics to a wide range of US brands, says it has grown its annual subscription base to more than 200 blue-chip brands, and increased revenues 100% or more year-over-year for five years running.It says this rapid market adoption is down to iSpot’s ability to measure TV advertising with digital precision and help brands definitively attribute TV ad exposures to business outcomes.“We have entered a new era of TV advertising measurement that looks a lot more like digital, except on a medium not hampered by digital’s fraud challenges,” said iSpot founder and CEO Sean Muller.“The most important thing isn’t exactly how a TV ad gets on a screen or what programme or service it runs against. What matters is which factors are driving actions from customers. We’re helping brands take ownership of these insights to make greater impact on their business.”iSpot says it has built the consistent and actionable measurement required to support a shift from GRPs (Gross Rating Points) and rough estimates of age and gender to an audience and business outcome-based approach.Companies endorsing its approach include T-Mobile. “We trust iSpot and have partnered with them to push the envelope on how our TV advertising investment is deployed and how its effectiveness is measured,” said T-Mobile EVP marketing Nick Drake.
Orange saw solid growth in TV, mobile and fixed broadband in the quarter to March, but this did not translate into strong revenue growth in what CEO Stéphane Richard described as a “particularly challenging competitive context, notably in our two principal countries of France and Spain”.Stéphane RichardOrange had 9.658 million TV customers at the end of March, up from 9.097 a year earlier.In France, the operator had 7.103 million, up from 6.867 million, while in Spain, Orange’s TV subscriber base grew from 641,000 to 705,000. Elsewhere in Europe, the operator’s TV base grew from 1.589 million to 1.85 million year-on-year.Richard said that convergence “continues to be an engine for growth and loyalty for the Group” and highlighted the strong performance of Orange France in signing up customers to its fibre broadband service, with 168,000 new customers taking fibre in the quarter.Given the competitive environment, Orange is increasingly focusing on ways to mitigate costs. Last week the operator signed up to a network-sharing agreement with Vodafone in Spain, covering fibre and 5G. The group expects this project to generate savings of about €800 million over four years, including €100 million this year.Orange posted revenues of €10.2 billion for the quarter, down 0.1% on a comparable basis, with adjusted EBITDA standing at €2.6 billion.“Orange reported Q1 results this morning which were very much in line with our expectations and those of consensus. The outlook for French telco companies has improved recently as we’ve seen nascent signs of a ceasefire in the price war which began five years ago. Given the recurring nature of revenue at Telcos the industry has assumed high levels of debts over recent years. This means that if we see positive inflections in pricing which may have a small effect on revenues this will translate to a large effect on profits,” said Freddie Lait of Latitude Investment Management.“Orange as the market leader will need to maintain price discipline in order for pricing power to return to the market, and we will be interested to hear management comments on this during the call. Convergence continues to be a strong point of differentiation for Orange customer retention rates. For investors one of the key benefits of investing in Orange compared to incumbent peers is that during this phase of industry turnaround Orange are decreasing capex while others continue to need to spend more. All in all we believe Orange is incredibly well positioned to benefit from renewed pricing power and any possible consolidation in the French market, all while their investments in customer service and their network continue to bear fruit.”
By Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay – Fondation de l’École polytechnique (FX), CC BY-SA 2.0Telecom tycoon and founder of Altice, Patrick Drahi, has made a shock move into the art world by purchasing London auction house Sotheby’s for £2.9 billion (€3.37 billion).This marks the first time in 31 years that the historic company has been privately owned.“I am honoured that the board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer,” said Drahi, who founded Altice and serves as chairman. “Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world. As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family.”Drahi has a current net worth of approximately US$7.9 billion (€7.05 billion). He was ranked by Forbes in 2015 as the 60th-richest person in the world and the third-richest person in France.The mogul said that the takeover would be funded through financing arranged by French bank BNP Paribas and equity provided by his own funds. Reuters reports that Drahi will not be selling shares in his Altice Europe business, but would be cashing in a small stake in his Altice USA division. Drahi continued: “This investment will further demonstrate the anchoring of my family in the United States, a country where we have been very welcomed since the successful acquisitions of Suddenlink in 2015, Cablevision in 2016 and just recently Cheddar.”