A market in crisis, with a decline in revenues and also in investments, which in any case remain high in relation to turnover (25%), but with a constantly decreasing denominator. The photograph of the TLC sector that emerges from the Agcom report to Parliament is undoubtedly gloomy. The presentation made by the president of the Authority Giacomo Lasorella portrays the contours of the sector which, in the field of communications, generates the greatest concerns.
Tlc market in transformation
«The regulator's action was strongly conditioned by the uncertainty relating to the possible transformation, which is still in progress, of the structural and ownership structures of the dominant operator», affirms the Agcom president. The debate on the sale of the Tim network is therefore obviously a determining variable in a market that is nonetheless showing structural changes: the merger of the retail activities of Linkem and Tiscali or the entry of new operators «in previously unattended market segments: Iliad and PostePay on the fixed network". Furthermore, "in the last five years, lines using FTTC and FTTH technology have gone from 36% to almost 70% of total accesses, even if, as in the past, significant differences remain between the North and the Centre, on the one hand, and the South and the Islands on the other»
Decline in revenues, margins and investments
However, the numbers of the TLC crisis are eloquent: "Resources have further reduced in electronic communications, -3.3% compared to 2021, above all due to the decline in revenues in the mobile telephony segment". And again: «The overall value of the sector is now around 27 billion euros, however for 2022 there will be a decline in the ratio between gross margin and revenues. The reduction in available resources has also had negative effects on the trend in investments: in relation to revenues, in 2022, investments remain above 25% but are reduced by a significant amount in absolute terms: -7.3%, going from 7.49 to 6.95 billion euros». Ultimately, "last year the corporate reorganization processes produced a reduction in direct employees in the sector, estimated at around 1,000 units, for a total of around 56,000 employees at the end of 2022". Those of the TLCs are critical numbers accompanied by an activity passed through the increase in wholesale tariffs for passage to the Tim network and the launch of market consultation for the years from 2024 to 2029.
The difficulties of traditional publishing
Even in the media, however, there is a particular moment to deal with, of change but also of crisis, albeit not generalised. Because, explains President Lasorella, "in this market the structural decline of the publishing sector is confirmed - daily and periodical press - and the stability of the television sector, together with the growth in revenues from the radio sector". At the same time, "further growth was recorded in the revenues, offer and number of subscribers of Video on demand services offered on internet platforms".
The "construction site" in the media
The construction site of the measures is open: they range from the regulation on the preliminary procedures for the verification of the positions harmful to pluralism in the context of the Integrated Communications System (Sic) with resolution no. 265/22/CONS to the "adoption of guidelines and regulatory provisions aimed at guaranteeing the prominence of audiovisual and radio media services of general interest, and accessibility of the automatic numbering system of digital terrestrial television channels" with resolution no. . 14/23/CONS. In the latter case, the idea of urgency comes from the consideration that the prevalence of on-demand services risks becoming unsustainable if, even initially, the screens of smart TVs were to direct towards Vod services.