Film camera

Broadcasting & Media

Traditionally, the broadcasting and media industry consisted of all the companies that created and aired radio and television programmes. However, in light of digitisation, globalisation, and the growing popularity of OTT and streaming content, most major “legacy” players in this industry have now established their own OTT and streaming platforms, such as Disney+ and HBO Max; such platforms and the strategies behind them are likely to help boost these companies’ bottom lines.

Unsurprisingly, the Covid pandemic resulted in a significant drop in revenue for many players in this space due to live events being cancelled, merchandising taking a hit, and movie and television production being suspended.

However, television and radio audiences in many countries grew sharply during the pandemic, presumably due to a demand for news as well as entertainment. Among the biggest winners during the pandemic were OTT platforms: Netflix, for instance, gained 17.8 million subscribers during the first quarter of 2020, while Disney+ managed to snag a stunning total of 50 million subscribers globally, two years ahead of schedule.

QUICK TAKEAWAYS

  • Broadcasting and media companies produce and air news, cover sports events, and create original content, mainly movies and TV shows.
  • After understanding the enormous potential of OTT and streaming services, many companies in this sector have started providing such services.
  • The growing internet and smartphone penetration in regions such as South Asia, Africa, and Latin America has resulted in a massive potential audience for OTT and streaming platforms.
  • With more and more people going online for their news and entertainment needs, it is likely that legacy TV and radio audiences will experience slow or negative growth over the next few years.
  • Additional new avenues that media behemoths are exploring include gaming, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

STATS CORNER

GLOBAL MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT MARKET VALUE AS OF 2021

$2.2 trillion

(Source)

PROJECTED GLOBAL MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT MARKET VALUE BY 2030

$6.7 trillion

(Source)

KEY PLAYERS

[WORLDWIDE, BY REVENUE IN BILLIONS OF USD]

A graph on largest media companies worldwide

(Source

[THE UNITED STATES, BY REVENUE]

Company Name Revenue Generated Revenue Generated Revenue Generated Revenue Generated Revenue Generated
  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
AT&T
(Jan-Dec)
$120.741B $168.864B $171.760B $181.193B $170.756B
Comcast
(Jan-Dec)
$121.427B $116.385B $103.564B $108.942B $94.507B
The Walt Disney Company
(Oct-Sep)
$82.722B $67.418B $65.388B $69.607B $59.434B
Charter Communications
(Jan-Dec)
$54.022B $51.682B $48.097B $45.764B $43.634B
Fox Corporation
(Jul-Jun)
$13.974B $12.909B $12.303B $11.389B $10.153B

(Source: Macrotrends)

  • AT&T (NYSE: T): AT&T is the world’s largest telecommunications company, and had almost the same revenue in 2022 as its larger (by market cap) rival Comcast (120.7 billion USD vs 121.4 billion USD). 
  • Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA): Comcast provides broadcasting services, cable television, home internet, and telephone services through its many daughter companies. It also produces feature films through its subsidiary NBCUniversal.
  • The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS): This company’s subsidiaries include various cable TV networks and film studios. The company is also the parent company of Walt Disney Animation Studios, and continues to operate its flagship theme parks as well.
  • Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR): Charter is the second-largest cable operator in the United States, trailing behind Comcast, with more than 32 million customers in the US.
  • Fox Corporation (NASDAQ: FOXA): With subsidiaries that cover television, news, business news, and sports broadcasting, Fox Corporation is a veritable media behemoth. In addition to producing and licensing content for distribution, Fox also manages the associated infrastructure.

KEY DRIVERS

  • OTT and streaming: OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have inspired several “legacy” media companies to create or acquire competing platforms. Examples include Disney+ (The Walt Disney Company), Hulu (The Walt Disney Company), Peacock (Comcast), and HayU (Comcast). Nevertheless, Netflix and Amazon Prime, both of which have an early-mover advantage, continue to present serious competition to these newer entrants. 
  • Mergers and acquisitions (M&As): There have been several high-profile M&As in this industry over the past two decades. M&As involving already profitable companies or companies with a lot of untapped potential (such as the Marvel Universe, with its library of thousands of characters) can cause significant market movement. For instance, the completion of WarnerMedia’s acquisition by Discovery (with the new entity being rebranded as ‘Warner Bros. Discovery’) resulted in a good up-move in the stock price of 3%.
  • Advertising expenditure: Given that advertising continues to be a significant source of revenue for players in this industry, decreases in the budgets of advertisers can affect revenue and hence the stock price. Such declines may be caused by “[…] increased competition for the leisure time of viewers, such as from social media and video games, audience fragmentation, increased viewing of content through DTC streaming and other OTT service providers, regulatory intervention regarding where and when advertising may be placed […]”, among other things.
  • Emerging markets: In many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, smartphone and 4G penetration has reached a point where a large number of users are now able and willing to consume streaming audiovisual content. As a result, many US-based OTT platforms are encouraging “home-grown” content that can better resonate at a regional level. These countries taken together, represent an enormous proportion of the world’s population and thus represent a massive opportunity. 
  • Franchises: Franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (mainly owned by The Walt Disney Company, with some properties owned by Sony and Comcast), Star Wars (The Walt Disney Company), and Harry Potter (Comcast) have produced record-breaking box-office collections, sometimes in the billions of dollars. It is thus clear that strong entries in well-known and well-loved franchises are likely to be a lucrative source of revenue in the coming years, steadily adding to the parent company’s valuations. In addition, releasing a movie on a streaming platform soon after its theatrical release (a ‘hybrid’ strategy), or releasing a movie only on a streaming platform, are approaches that companies are now taking to hold on to as much profit as they can; this can have a perceptible effect on the stock price as well.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

More and more people throughout the world are turning to platforms like YouTube to get their news, and to OTT and streaming platforms to get their entertainment fix. Such a transition is being initiated or spurred on in emerging markets thanks to faster internet speeds, cheaper smartphones, and broader internet penetration. This means that a potential audience of billions awaits companies that can play their cards right on these fronts.

Traditional TV and radio are likely to see sluggish or negative growth, given that video streaming and podcasts have been replacing them.

Gaming is yet another mode of entertainment that broadcast and media companies have been looking at closely. Over the past couple of decades, games have been becoming ever more profitable, with game revenues rivalling and even surpassing blockbuster movie revenues. 

Lastly, with the Metaverse being touted as the next big thing in several quarters, companies in this industry have also been exploring augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). It remains to be seen whether the promises held out by these new technologies actually pan out.

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