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Amazon's streaming business purchase; EU on digital tax; US on ASML/China deal


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Amazon's streaming business purchase; EU on digital tax; US on ASML/China deal


* Net Insight AB said it finalized the sale of its streaming business Sye to Amazon for 350 million Swedish kronor in cash. The transaction will enable Net Insight to focus on its core media networks business area. The acquisition was completed on Jan. 3, 2020.

* French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned the U.S. that the European Union is likely to retaliate if it imposes "highly disproportionate" tariffs against the bloc over digital taxes imposed on U.S. companies, such as Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC and Inc., London's Financial Times reports, citing the French minister's letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

* The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump conducted efforts to block Dutch semiconductor company ASML Holding N.V.'s sale of chip manufacturing technology to China, Reuters reports, citing sources. The reported campaign by the U.S. began in 2018 after ASML secured regulatory approval in the Netherlands, two sources said.

* Cyfrowy Polsat SA unit Polkomtel Sp zoo, which operates the Plus network, began the rollout of a commercial 5G network on the 2,600 MHz band. The mobile operator targets to initially launch the next-generation mobile service in seven cities across Poland.


* The Nielsen Co. (US) LLC-owned Gracenote Inc. is expanding its over-the-top services in Europe, bringing its presence to 13 markets in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, Multichannel News reports. Gracenote provides services to streaming companies.


* Sid Gentle Films Ltd. and BBC America (US)-produced series "Killing Eve" has been renewed for a fourth season, prior to the 2020 premiere of the third season. BBC America is jointly owned by the British Broadcasting Corp. and AMC Networks Inc. The BBC also unveiled its 2020 slate in the U.K., which includes a sixth series of police drama "Line of Duty," the next season of "His Dark Materials" and "Last Tango in Halifax," London's The Guardian reports.

* Syco Entertainment Ltd and FremantleMedia UK's Thames are coproducing the second season of "The Greatest Dancer" for BBC One (UK), according to a news release.

* The British Gambling Commission mulls to ban VIP accounts on gambling platforms and businesses, in a move that may hit companies in the industry, Reuters reports. A spokesperson for online gaming company GVC Holdings PLC said the company is working with the regulator for an industry code of conduct.


* Christoph Dichand, publisher of Austrian newspaper Krone, criticized German media group Funke for taking control of the newspaper "carelessly," reports Austrian newspaper Der Standard. Dichand said his family would fight claims made by Funke that they do not own a majority share in the publisher.

* Hannes Ametsreiter, head of Vodafone Deutschland Gmbh, told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that a European solution was necessary to solve the security issue involving Chinese mobile maker Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

* Facebook Inc.'s messaging app WhatsApp Inc. switched off an important chat function for German users following a court ruling in December 2019, reports Focus. The function allowed users to export their chat history.

* German energy company EWE AG will be expanding the glass fibre network in Jever to provide about 1,300 households with fast internet in 2020, reports NWZ Online.


* France Télévisions SA channels France 4 and France Ô will cease broadcasting on Aug. 9 as part of the plan to save costs, Le Monde reports.

* Iliad SA's Free increased its subscriber base by 780,000 in 2019 to a total of about 1.8 million fiber-to-the-home subscribers by Jan. 2, Univers Freebox reports. Free aims to reach 2 million subscribers by 2020 and 4.5 million by 2024.


* Dutch commercial regional broadcaster Coastline FM from Den Helder ceased broadcasting since Jan. 1, due to high costs for airwave distribution, reports TotaalTV. In particular, the amount that the radio station has to pay for the compulsory DAB+ distribution has been an important reason for Coastline FM to discontinue radio broadcasts via FM and DAB+. Coastline can still be listened to online.


* Danish commercial public broadcaster TV2 said it launched its new sports channel TV2 Sport X, both on streaming service TV2 Play and via Danish TV distributors. The channel focuses on international sport, including football games from Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A.

* Saudi Arabian telecom service provider Mobily tapped Ericsson to deploy a broad range of products and solutions, including 5G products from its radio system portfolio, according to a news release. Mobily said the agreement will help accelerate its deployment of digital services and expand internet of things usage.

* YouSee A/S CEO Jacob Mortensen apologized to customers for a technical fault, Børsen reports. Since Jan. 1, about 250,000 customers have been unable to make changes to their TV channels and streaming services. Mortensen said the customers will be compensated for the troubles. TDC A/S owns YouSee.


* Portuguese soccer club Benfica rolled out its own subscription streaming service, Benfica Play, in partnership with Insys Video Technologies, Digital TV Europe reports. The platform offers exclusive content and behind-the-scenes training footage.

* Turkish digital TV provider DigiTürk and Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone Turkey struck a deal to air matches of the Turkey Football League using capacity on the Azerspace-1 satellite run by Azerbaijan-based satellite TV operator Azercosmos OJSCo., Telecompaper reports, citing Trend.

* Spanish operator Telefónica SA will again hike prices for its Movistar-branded fiber and ADSL-only offers, effective Feb. 14, Telecompaper reports, citing ADSL Zone. The move is aimed at luring customers into subscribing to a Movistar Fusion convergent package.


* MegaFon launched a joint venture named Digital Devices, which will focus on retail sales of telecom equipment, Telecompaper reports, citing Prime. The Russian mobile operator will own 85% of the venture, while the remaining 15% stake is equally divided among Khachatur Ponbukhchan and Ilya Sattarov, former top managers at retail company Magnit.

* Ukrainian operators Ukrtelecom and Lifecell LLC are involved in a spat over an interconnect services agreement covering their networks, Telecompaper reports, citing BizLigaNet. Lifecell said the dispute would not hamper the services provided to both telcos' customers.

* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC named Victor Belov its new vice president and chief technology officer, Telecompaper reports. Belov will replace Andrey Ushatskiy, who will be in charge of the technological strategy of the mobile operator's affiliate companies.


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Global Multichannel: Eastern Europe TV Everywhere overview: All the major pay TV operators in the Eastern Europe region have deployed TV Everywhere services for secondary-screen viewing on multiple connected devices.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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