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Comcast takes control of Sky; Netflix eyes more CEE content

TOP NEWS

* Comcast Corp. now holds more than 75% of British pay TV company Sky PLC after completing the acquisition of Sky shares held by 21st Century Fox Inc. Sky will now apply with the U.K. Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange for the cancellation of listing and trading of Sky shares. The cancellation of the shares is expected to become effective Nov. 7.

* Netflix Inc. is seeking partnerships to increase production of content in central and eastern Europe, Broadband TV News reports. The streaming giant in March announced crime drama "1983," its first Polish original.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Google LLC has lodged a challenge against the €4.34 billion antitrust fine imposed by the European Commission over its Android mobile operating system, Reuters reports, citing an email from the Alphabet Inc. unit. The tech giant had said it would appeal the case to the EU's second highest court in Luxembourg.

* European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli is expecting to begin issuing the first round of fines as well as temporary bans on companies that have violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation by the end of 2018, Reuters reports. The GDPR took effect earlier in May.

UK AND IRELAND

* Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon intends to seek more information Google from about the security breach that led to the company's decision to close social network Google+ for consumers, Dublin's The Irish Times reports. Dixon reportedly said she was not aware of the data breach.

* ITV PLC has vacated its headquarters on London's South Bank area, as the British broadcaster prepares to sell the building under a strategy overhaul, The Daily Telegraph reports. CEO Carolyn McCall earlier revealed plans to cut costs as part of ITV's revised strategy.

* The British cities of Cambridge, Leeds and Southend-on-Sea have signed up to become part of Vodafone Group PLC and CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings PLC's planned rollout of full fiber-optic services across the country.

* ITV Studios Global Entertainment named Louisa Forsyth as vice president of global content, scripted. Forsyth joins the ITV Studios Ltd. unit from Sky, where she most recently worked for the pay TV operator's corporate affairs team.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has launched a new digital subscription named F+, which allows unrestricted access to all Faz.net articles for €2.95 per week.

FRANCE

* Altice France inaugurated the Altice Campus telecom-media headquarters, which brings together 7,000 employees in Paris. For the occasion, SFR turned on the 5G service in four ultra-connected buildings within the facility.

* French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs Mounir Mahjoubi said he asked Google for additional information following revelations about a security breach on Google+, La Tribune reports. The Alphabet unit has made the personal data of at least 500,000 users vulnerable and closed the platform on Oct. 8.

* French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said she issued a formal request to Google to blur all prisons and detention centers on Google Maps, RTL reports. Google Earth and Google Maps blurred sensitive sites such as military or nuclear installations but currently has aerial views of some sites including the location of a much-publicized prison escape on July 1.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Belgian operator Coditel Brabant SPRL, which operates under the SFR name and is owned by Liberty Global PLC unit Telenet since 2017, has announced intentions to proceed to the collective redundancy of the majority of its staff in Belgium whereby some 40 employees out of 49 would be affected. The operator said the measures are taken because of the shrinking activities of Coditel following its takeover by Telenet from Altice Europe NV.

* Dutch media company Talpa Holding NV and Vice Media LLC will enter into a strategic partnership from Jan. 1, 2019, under which Talpa will take over the spot sales activities from Vice channel Viceland, Adformatie reports. Vice will remain responsible for its platforms and services such as branded content production and research.

* Luxembourgish TV operator M7 Group SA has launched a new Smart TV app for the Belgian market which will be available on Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. TVs, TotaalTV reports. The app will be available for subscribers to digital TV providers TV Vlaanderen NV and TÉLÉSAT.

* Dutch operator GlasDraad has signed a multi-year agreement with software company GeoStruct for the building and operation of its fiber-optic network, Telecompaper reports. Under the agreement, GeoStruct will provide GlasDraad with a system to manage its network.

* Nordic operator and UCaaS provider SolunoBC has agreed to acquire Dutch cloud service provider CallHosted for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, CallHosted's shareholder is reinvesting into SolunoBC Holding, where SEB Private Equity remains the majority shareholder.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Danish telco TDC A/S has named Allison Kirkby as its new CEO, effective December. Kirkby is being recruited from Tele2 AB in Sweden where she holds the position of group president and CEO.

* Nordic Entertainment Group AB said it is awaiting the Oct. 24 launch of the Google Home and Google Home Mini devices in Scandinavia. NENT's Viaplay streaming service will be compatible with Google Home and Google Home Mini. NENT is owned by Modern Times Group AB.

* XMReality AB has raised 21 million Swedish kronor in a new share issue, the Augmented reality technology company said. The directed share issue targeted a number of investors, including investment firm Spiltan AB.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Spanish producer and distribution company Digital Cornucopia has struck a deal to add documentary, sports and animation TV channel Feelmakers TV to its line-up, Advanced Television reports. The channel will use a multi-language approach and have English subtitles.

* Spanish telecom regulator CNMC is seeking views from the public on the carriage of digital terrestrial TV signals, in a bid to open the sector to further competition, Advanced Television reports. Cellnex Telecom SA currently controls the entire DTT market in Spain.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Viacom International Media Networks is set to launch subscription video-on-demand service Paramount Play in Poland, Digital TV Europe reports. The platform will initially be carried by mobile operator Play and cable operator TOYA Sp.

* Latvian operator Lattelecom Group is set to rebrand as tet in spring 2019, as part of a new business strategy.

* The Lithuanian parliament named Mantas Martišius as the new chairman of the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania. Martišius is currently the watchdog's vice chairman.

FEATURED NEWS

Naspers to unbundle, list MultiChoice; beIN takes on Saudi Arabia over piracy: Naspers plans to separately list and unbundle its Video Entertainment business as MultiChoice Group, while beIN Media launched an arbitration against Saudi Arabia over piracy issues.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Denmark, Lithuania, Norway, Switzerland: Kagan has published updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for four markets.

Economics of Advertising: Q2 sales falter but green shoots emerge for Europe-based agencies: The financial outlook for two of the world's biggest media agencies remains precarious, but the quarter brought potential respite to both groups, which are deep into transformation plans.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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