Opinion: A card-carrying Mancunian on confirmation bias among London’s media elite

16 March 2015 | analyst insight

LIBERUM OPINION: Ian Whittaker, Liberum Media Analyst

Email Ian or call him on: +44 (0) 20 3100 2089 

FEW north of Crouch End will be surprised to know that there is a massive gulf between how the British consume television and use their iPads and what London’s media elite think they’re doing. 

And that leads to some warped views of what’s actually going on.

Ian Whittaker

London media execs are as likely to visit the moon as Barnsley and believe the ‘provinces’ to be populated by red-trousered "Kippers". 

They are also sure that they understand the habits of the rest of the country because their teenage children spend every waking hour on Snapchat and FaceBook, with zero interest in Coronation Street. 

I was reminded of this confirmation bias when I looked at a fascinating survey by Thinkbox, which probed the media habits of the media elite and the normal - my emphasis - population. 

Your average metropolitan media luvvie assumes that Joe Public watches 1 hour and 43 minutes of live TV a day and that only 49% of all TV viewing is live.

In fact, it’s 4 hours and 12 minutes and 89% (the figures are from 2013 but unlikely to have changed significantly). 

We are watching as much live TV now as we did 10 years ago. 

Elsewhere, nearly four-fifths of the media elite use Twitter compared with the rest of the population at less than 20%.

Now it’s true that Thinkbox has skin in the game here as it is the trade body for the commercial TV broadcasters in the UK.

But its findings are important for two reasons. 

First, it suggests that the agencies' insistence on the relentless rise of digital and the need to shift advertising budgets away from TV to online is premature. Linear TV may be around for a lot longer than people expect (in the U.S. it remains by far the dominant form of video viewing). 

A statistic often missed is that while live TV viewing in the UK may be down from 2010, it is almost exactly the same as it was a decade ago, which suggests that the fall from recent years may be a reversal of the spike in live TV viewing we saw during the recession.

Second, advertisers risk shifting their budgets prematurely into a medium that is unproven and where there are major issues around fraud and transparency of pricing. 

It is almost a mantra amongst some advertisers to talk of the amount of money they are shifting to digital/online and that being digital automatically boosts sales. That is wrong. 

The key question is what works. On that score, linear TV has a future.

We're hiring for an Operations Clerk

13 March 2015 | people

We are seeking an Operations Clerk to join our settlements team.

> Download the full job spec and contact details here

You will assist and support in the account set-up process, perform timely and accurate daily and monthly reconciliations between internal and external systems, and ensure that all transactions made by the front office are cleared or settled correctly and on time.

The ideal candidate should be reliable, thorough, and process-driven, with an interest in Financial Services.

You should either have previous experience in a corporate environment, or strong academics (GCSE’s and A Levels).

Full training for this role will be provided.

You will report to the Settlements Manager.

Opinion: That empty chair: A broadcaster backdown for good, honest commercial reasons

11 March 2015 | analyst insight

LIBERUM OPINION: Ian Whittaker, Liberum Media Analyst

Email Ian or call him on: +44 (0) 20 3100 2089

Ian Whittaker

Commercial factors will, I believe, force the UK’s broadcasters to give up their provocation to use an empty chair where an absent David Cameron should sit in the televised election debates. 

(Full background to this ongoing story is here

For the BBC, the obvious risk is over Royal Charter renewal and the structure of the licence fee. The bulk of the Conservative party and press already thinks the Corporation is a hotbed of metropolitan, Oxbridge lefties who hate Tories.  

Assume the Conservatives form the next government. In a bid to quell restive backbenchers in the run-up to a divisive and challenging EU referendum in 2017, the government may throw them a BBC bone.

Less commented on, though, is the risk for the commercial broadcasters.  

The government has just launched a review into whether the main commercial channels (ITV, Channel 4 and Five) can charge pay-TV operators for carriage of their channels. This may be a huge and very profitable source of new revenues for the broadcasters and a major cost for operators such as Sky.

So for the commercial broadcasters to empty-chair Cameron risks their positions in this debate.

The Conservatives would, of course, claim that whatever decision is  taken was impartial.

But Archie Norman, ITV's Chairman and ex-Conservative Party Chairman, has the sufficient political nous to know the risks.

Channel 4's bosses, meanwhile, would have the extra consideration of fuelling what it would see as an unwelcome privatisation debate.

But the broadcasters are standing together on this issue, no?

Well, the platforms tend not to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good (ITV CEO Adam Crozier recently blamed its weak performance in audience share partly on the BBC).

There is too much temptation for one broadcaster to break ranks.

There will be two other considerations for the broadcasters.

First, the Conservatives look to be edging into a sustained lead (ahead by 2 percentage points with YouGov this week) as Labour's Scottish problem appears to worsen. Betting on the Conservatives winning the most seats has tightened considerably over the last 24 hours.

Second, no one really seems to care about the debates. It is seen as a typical media elite debate that ‘luvvies’ and political hacks relish yet no one in the real world gives a damn about. Lord Ashcroft's findings seem to support this.

The broadcasters will sound tough for a few days to save face and then back down, blaming the PM and/or voter apathy on the issue.

1-0 to Cameron

Election-focused Liberum UK Consumer Survey shows tempered optimism

10 March 2015 | Mentions of Liberum

(LONDON) British householders have tempered their optimism on the outlook for property prices but continue to plan for house moves and improvements, Liberum’s lastest quarterly survey of UK consumers suggests. 

“We’ve also highlighted sentiment ahead of the UK general election in May and it helps illustrate why the outcome remains so up in the air,” said Liberum Media Analyst Ian Whittaker, who leads the survey. 

“The good news for the economy? Few are putting off their spending plans ahead of the election. And fewer people think they're the 'squeezed middle',” he noted. 

Click on the image below to get PDF infographic

Consumer Survey March2015

The survey, which has run for more than five years, highlighted support from potential voters for improved spending on care for the elderly and council housing. 

The Brexit referendum outcome is finely balanced but Scotland must remain part of the UK, those polled across the country said. 

Increased support for David Cameron as Prime Minster sharply outpaces that for Ed Miliband, with UKIP’s Nigel Farage markedly falling away compared with the previous survey. 

Our poll, carried out in January, shows a wobble on overall confidence of the British consumer, with net positives as a percentage of all answers falling 3.3 percentage points to 6.6%, fuelled in part by concerns over job security and the softer property price trend. 

By comparison, the average score in the 18 months to October 2014 was 11.6%. 

“The January data feels like a blip to us given lower fuel costs and improving employment prospects,” Whittaker said. 

1,003 respondents were asked their views in January/February 2015. The respondents were evenly distributed by gender (males: 49%, females: 51%), across age groups and throughout the social classes (A-B: 27%, C1-C2: 48% and D-E: 27%).

Follow or Contact Liberum

Twitter: @LiberumToday

LinkedIn: Liberum @LiberumIanW

Press Enquiries: Redleaf Polhill

Emma Kane 
George Parrett
Karl Wiseman 

+44 (0)20 7382 4747

We're hiring for an Administrator in Investment Banking

18 February 2015 | People

We're seeking an efficient, motivated administrator to provide comprehensive administration support to the London-based Investment Banking team.

> Click here for the full job spec and where to apply.

Reporting to the Investment Banking Assistant, the ideal candidate should have experience in a corporate environment in a PA, administration or client services position.

Working in a busy office, they should have excellent time management, communication and organisational skills, as well as being highly accurate and hardworking.

This is a great opportunity to work for a successful and collaborative department in an innovative Investment Bank.

Key Responsibilities

  • Organising travel (flights, hotels, car) and visas for ad-hoc trips and roadshows
  • Invoicing, retainers and expenses – working closely with the finance team
  • Diary management and maintenance of corporate client calendar
  • Phone cover within the team
  • Client take-on procedures
  • Correlation & preparation of Investment Banking information for Board Meetings
  • Preparation of presentations, pitch documents & placing letters
  • Assisting with various client and marketing events including Awards dinners
  • Preparation of client reports
  • Assisting with the development of peer analysis information
  • Support on corporate client and deal roadshows
  • Taking minutes at various meetings
  • General office assistance.

XLMedia plc names Liberum Joint Corporate Broker

12 February 2015 | Corporate Brokerships

XLMedia PLC (Ticker: XLM LN), a global digital publishing and marketing company that directs traffic to online gaming operators, has named Liberum as Joint Corporate Broker. 

The business has a market capitalisation of £130m and is listed on AIM.

XLMedia attracts players through online marketing techniques that include proprietary websites and then seeks to channel high-value traffic to gambling operators. 

It generates revenue through the fees paid by the gambling operators. XLMedia takes a cut of the lifetime revenue those players provide operators. 

XLMedia recently acquired a business to help it move into customer acquisition for social gaming apps. 

The company floated on AIM in March 2014.  Its next results are in due in March 2015.

Company website:

Follow or Contact Liberum

Twitter: @LiberumToday

LinkedIn: Liberum 

Head of Content: Adam Smallman @LiberumSmallman

Press Enquiries: Redleaf Polhill

Emma Kane 
George Parrett
Karl Wiseman 

+44 (0)20 7382 4747