* Turkey's competition authority has begun exploring whether the algorithms used by Google LLC in its searches and targeted advertisements broke the country's competition laws, Reuters reports. The probe will look into Alphabet Inc., Google, as well as its units Google Reklamcilik ve Pazarlama, Google International LLC and Google Ireland Ltd.
* STV Player, the video-on-demand service owned by broadcaster STV Group PLC, will be made available to Scottish subscribers of Sky Ltd., formerly Sky PLC, as part of a new strategic partnership. The five-year deal will also allow Sky customers in Scotland to watch STV's regional variant channels in full HD resolution.
* Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal International Networks Ltd. has acquired drama series "Departure" from Red Arrow Studios International, TBI Vision reports. The conspiracy series will premiere in various markets in Europe in 2019, such as in the U.K. and Germany, via Universal TV, and in France, Spain and Poland via 13th Street. Red Arrow Studios is the global production network of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE.
UK AND IRELAND
* The British Broadcasting Corp. is seeking views from the public on its planned changes to the BBC iPlayer. The public broadcaster is proposing to extend the availability of programs on the video platform for at least 12 months after their first showing, to add series boxsets for selected titles and to include more BBC archive content.
* Bloomsbury Publishing PLC unit Bloomsbury Digital Resources has struck separate sales agreements with Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. and the Manchester University Press. The deals cover sales of the publishers' digital products, including e-books across a range of topics.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. acquired Berlin-based streaming analytics startup Data Artisans GmbH for €90 million, EU-Startups reports. Data Artisans' platform offers a streaming solution for companies to power their large scale-applications for real-time analytics, machine learning, search and content ranking, and fraud detection.
* German publishing group Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Morocco's Saham Group SA have combined their respective customer relationship management businesses, with both companies becoming equal shareholders in the newly created company.
* Central and eastern European media company Ringier Axel Springer Media AG has launched a new digital publishing system. The Ring Publishing system bundles solutions for the creation and publication of content via multiple channels in a single platform.
* Bouygues Telecom SA carried out a "full-scale" experimentation of 5G in Lyon. The operator said it made the first call in real 5G conditions over a compatible mobile device, via a partnership with Ericsson and Qualcomm Inc. unit Qualcomm Technologies Inc.
* Banijay Group SAS' distribution arm Banijay Rights Ltd. said it has sold the rights for the 11-episode U.S. revival of reality format "Temptation Island" to Canada's Bell Media Inc. The show, which will premiere in late January in the U.S., will be simulcast in Canada via E! Entertainment, the CTV networks and their digital networks, and on CTV's subscription video-on-demand service Crave.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Talpa TV-owned commercial channel Veronica has acquired the rights to UFC fights in addition to its sports rights for UEFA Champions League soccer and Glory Kickboxing. The exclusive rights cover all live UFC events and more than 100 hours of content.
* Dutch internet service provider Solcon BV has implemented new pricing for Fox Sports, as revealed by parent company KPN NV, Telecompaper reports. The price of a premium sports subscription has increased to €9.99 from €7.50 per month, while the international package has increased to €12.99 from €12.50.
* Finland's Teleste Corp. will deliver optical network products to Liberty Global PLC unit Telenet under a new deal. The supply agreement includes optical transmitters and optical nodes that are expected to facilitate delivery of new broadband services under the DOCSIS 3.1 standard.
* Telenor ASA has started a mobile data collaboration with Google. The cooperation aims to launch a digital solution that will make it easier for Telenor subscribers using Android devices to better manage mobile data usage and price plans.
* Iliad's Italian unit plans to invest an additional €1 billion on build up its network in the medium term, Telecompaper reports. Iliad Italia is also investing about €1.2 billion for 5G-ready frequencies, the report said, citing CEO Benedetto Levi's statement to La Repubblica.
* Italian mobile virtual network operator SIMpiu, which uses Telecom Italia SpA's network, has discontinued its operations since Dec. 30, 2018, Telecompaper reports, citing Mobile World. Another MVNO on the TIM network, Ringo Mobile, will also be shutting down this year, according to a separate Telecompaper report, citing Mondo Mobile Web.
* The European Commission has granted approval to the Greek Superfast broadband project, which involves a €50 million voucher scheme to help boost the number of consumers getting fiber broadband services with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps. The program is aimed at bridging the digital divide while also limiting unfair competition in the sector.
* PPF Group NV is withdrawing its plan to acquire Bulgaria's Nova Broadcasting Group AD for about €185 million from Modern Times Group AB, the latter said. The Czech investment company's move follows a decision by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition to reject the proposed deal due to competition concerns. MTG is now in talks with other interested parties for Nova's sale. Meanwhile, MTG also said it has received a credit line worth 1 billion Swedish kronor from Nordea Bank Abp.
* Pinebridge Investments has sold part of its shares in Romanian operator Akta to Clever Media AB, Broadband TV News reports, citing Ziarul Financiar. Prior to the recent report, PineBridge had been reportedly looking for a buyer of its majority stake in Akta.
* Apple Inc. has recommenced its sale of refurbished iPhone X devices in Russia, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. The smartphone maker offers repair warranty for the refurbished devices, which are estimated to be 25% cheaper than brand new smartphones.
M&A Replay: T-Mobile, Tele2 complete Dutch merger; Volaris buys Nokia's IP video business: Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Netherlands closed its acquisition of Tele2's Dutch unit, while Canada-based Volaris Group completed the purchase of a majority shareholding in Nokia's IP video business.
The Program Guide: Netflix scores 5 wins at Globes; 'Vikings' to end after season 6: Netflix scored five wins at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, including best foreign film for "Roma" and best TV comedy for "The Kominsky Method." History's drama series "Vikings" will conclude after its 20-episode sixth season.
Technology: Global smart home survey: 36% of service providers offering smart home services: Facing stiff competition from do-it-yourself retail gear and emerging business models tied to products such as Amazon's Echo and Google Home has not stopped traditional service providers from introducing smart home services or planning launches.
Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.
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