Eurobites: Is Netflix set for a UK slump?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: some Brits ditch their smartphones; trade bodies sign up to EU green scheme; is 5G really good for the environment?

  • Is Netflix about to lose 750,000 subscribers in the UK? That's the possibility being mooted by research firm Digital i, which, as the Guardian reports, says Disney's decision to take back exclusive control of some of Netflix's most popular shows – Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother and Sons of Anarchy among them – could hit the streaming giant hard. In its fourth-quarter investor letter, Netflix revealed that its Q4 subscriber totals fell short of estimates – the company was expecting to add 8.5 million subs in the period, but "only" 8.28 million signed up. (See Netflix stock price tumbles on subscriber miss and The Netflix outlook is turning blurry.)

  • A BBC report puts the focus on Brits who have decided to ditch their smartphones to improve their mental health and generally get their lives back. One thirtysomething ad exec, Dulcie Cowling, claims to have reverted to an old Nokia phone that can only receive calls and text messages after looking up at a kids' playground and realizing that every single parent there was looking at their phones rather than interacting with their children or each other. "I thought 'when did this happen?'. Everyone is missing out on real life. I don't think you get to your death bed and think you should have spent more time on Twitter, or reading articles online." Unless they are Light Reading articles, of course…

  • Five industry associations – Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), European Digital SME Alliance, Digital Europe, ETNO and GSMA – have been signed up by the European Commission to the European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) to further the objectives of the EGDC, as set out in its declaration in March 2021. In that declaration, a bunch of CEOs committed to "actively supporting the synergy between the green transition and digitalisation that leads to environmental, societal and economic benefits – the green and digital transformation."

  • In related news, the UK's University of Sussex Business School has published new research that raises questions about industry claims that 5G could help to reduce energy demands. In the study's conclusion, the authors state that "there remains a paucity of publicly available, peer reviewed, fully transparent and up-to-date whole network assessments of the operational energy use of 5G networks," while the "embodied energy associated with network equipment and user devices is neither accounted for nor targeted in much of this literature." The study also warns that continuing to offer consumers unlimited data subscriptions as they move from 4G to 5G phones could stoke energy demands, especially if virtual reality and other data-intensive applications really take off.

  • York, the northern UK city that in normal times is a mecca for foreign tourists seeking an olde worlde fixe, is tackling the thoroughly modern problem of vandalized fiber cabinets – with the help of Virgin Media O2. The city's council has teamed up with the telco to repaint the graffiti-struck cabinets to return them to their original state. New cabinet stickers will also be applied, which the scheme's backers hope will make for faster reporting of vandalism incidents.

    York: Nice cathedral, but have you seen the state of its fiber cabinets? 
(Source: Gary Butterfield on Unsplash)
    York: Nice cathedral, but have you seen the state of its fiber cabinets?
    (Source: Gary Butterfield on Unsplash)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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