*Telenor ASA islooking to exit the Russian market. The telco has hired JPMorgan Chase & Coto lead the process of divesting its holding in , reportsSwedish business newspaper DagensIndustri. The value of Telenor's 33% equity stake in VimpelCom is estimatedat US$2.1 billion. The shares would be offered to investors in Russia andglobally. Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke has gone on record as stating that while theNorwegian telco is open to divesting its shares in VimpelCom it will only do soif the sale price valuation is fair.
*German telecoms company Telefonica Deutschland threatens traditional banks bymoving into their core business, FrankfurterAllgemeine Zeitung reports.Telefonica announced it will offer German customers a bank account to go withtheir smartphones, the first large mobile phone company to do so in thecountry. The product, O2 Banking, will be offered in partnership withMunich-based Fidor Bank. Although a number of small startups have crept intobanking`s core business with technological innovations, Telefonica`s criticalmass of customers could make it dangerous to traditional banks, the newspapersaid. After merging the O2 and E-Plus brands, Telefonica is now the number onemobile phone provider in Germany, ahead of its main rivals and Vodafone.
UK AND IRELAND
* U.K. Culture Secretary JohnWhittingdale is looking to require the British Broadcasting Corp. to provide the salaries ofmore than 100 of its biggest talents, TheDaily Telegraph reports.The government is reportedly seeking more transparency as it drafts proposalsto determine the BBC's future. The BBC would be required to provide informationon the specific pay packages given to employees and freelancers making at least£150,000. Those paid through independent production companies would not besubject to the rules. Among other proposals to be set out in a white paper arethe abolishment of the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust; the addition of anew unitary board; further regulation by Ofcom; and the appointment of theNational Audit Office as financial auditor, according to the report.
*British media watchdog Ofcom appointedMairi Kidd and Calum Ferguson to the board of MG ALBA, the body in charge offunding for Gaelic-language TV shows in Scotland. Both appointees will serveunder a four-year term, starting May 1. Kidd is the managing director ofindependent publishing house Barrington Stoke Ltd., while Ferguson is aprofessional soccer player and has experience as a community councilor onLochardil and Drummond Community Council in the Scottish city of Inverness.
*U.K.-based mobile payments firm Bango Plc acquired Danal Inc.'s U.S.-basedcarrier billing services unit BilltoMobile for an initial consideration of $3.5million, according to an emailed statement. Bango will immediately pay $3million in cash, while the remaining $500,000 will be in the form of Bangoshares at 60 pence per share. Bango may pay deferred cash consideration in thefirst quarter of 2017, worth $35,000 depending on the performance of onerevenue stream.
*U.K. equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom is opening a Series A fundinground for investors beginning May 10, according to an emailed statement. Thecompany is expecting to raise £2.3 million during the process, which will beused for business expansion, including the improvement of its equity capitalmarkets. SyndicateRoom is also planning to double its workforce to 44 employeesover the next six months.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA
*Sky plc's attractedalmost 20% of Germany`s younger TV audience last Saturday afternoon thanks toits airing of Bundesliga football matches, Dwdl reports.690,000 viewers in Germany aged between 14-49 tuned in to watch the sportsgames. Competitor Sat. 1 achieved more than 16% of the target audience with itspolice reality TV show "Auf Streife." That compares with rivalbroadcaster RTLGroup`s 7% market share with a repeat of "Deutschland suchtden Superstar," while ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE also achieved a market share insingle digits.
*Germany telecoms company Vodafone Deutschland set the price of its Smart Prime7 smartphone at €149.90, itespresso.de reports.The phone, which supports download speeds of 150 MBit/s and upload speeds of 50MBit/s, is also available for €129.90 when purchased together with a CallYasmartphone tariff. Vodafone designed the Smart Prime 7 in Germany, according toitespresso.de.
* Rumors of looking to sell iTélécontinue to circulate in the French media, reportsUnivers Freebox. Accordingto Libération, the sale price hasbeen fixed at €200 million. LeBlogTV News reportsthat Matthieu Pigasse and Xavier Niel told Lejournal du dimanche they would not be willing to pay more than €50 millionfor the news channel. iTélé journalists are concerned, suggesting the 24-hour,free-to-air news channel owned by Canal Plus SA has had leadership issues for the pasteight months. Accordingto Pure Media, Jean-Christophe Thiery, the CEO of Canal+, was at iTélé onFriday to reassure employees the company was not for sale, although there wereapparently only 15 people present.
* Asof March 31, the number of SIM cards (excluding MtoM) in France reached 71.8million, according to a studyby ARCEP, France's telecom regulator. This amounts to a population penetrationrate of 108.1%. The number of cards issued has fallen by 295,000 compared to Dec.31, 2015. This decrease is less than one year ago, when it was 360,000 cards.While contract customers continue to grow, prepaid cards are declining, with650,000 fewer this quarter. The number of active cards, 69.6 million, declinedby 230,000 in the last quarter. However, over the past year, the number hasincreased by 1.1 million, showing an annual growth of +0.7%.
*French tech startup Kiwi Box has launched a universal charging station forsmartphones, reportsLe Figaro. The small docking stationcan recharge three to six devices and is aimed at companies looking to offer arecharging service to its customers. In 2016, it hopes to sell 50,000 units fora turnover of €2.7 million, and has a turnover target of €10 million by 2018.The device retails between €89 and €119.
*Instagram plans to ramp up its video content at this year's Cannes FilmFestival in France, reportsLe Figaro. In 2015, over 12 millionpeople posted Cannes-related content to the social media network, acquired byFacebook Inc. in2012, with over 45 million interactions. For 2016, Instagram will featureexclusive content from photographer Greg Williams. It will also have a videochannel where real-time footage will be shared from all over the Festival. Inthe past six months, time spent watching video on Instagram has increased by40%.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM, ANDLUXEMBOURG
*Dutch consumer organization Consumentenclaim has had more than 5,000 peoplesigning up to join the mass claims against telecommunications companies such asKPN NV, T-Mobile andVodafone, newspaper the FinancieeleDagblad writes.The Higher Council in the Netherlands recently decided that certain holders ofan all-inclusive subscription who had been told that their phone was free butnevertheless paid for it, can reclaim the costs of the phone purchase.
*T-Mobile Netherlands concluded a decline of revenue and gross profits in thefirst quarter of 2016, however saw the number of customers with a subscriptionrise, reportsNu.nl. The turnover of the Dutch branch of the company fell to €324 million,compared to €346 million in the same quarter last year. According to T-Mobile,the poor financial figures are mainly due to high marketing costs,restructuring costs and lower revenue from mobile services.
*Shareholders of Belgian telco Mobistar NV have approved the name change of the companyto Orange, accordingto Telecompaper. The rebranding of Mobistar to Orange, which was firstannounced in February, is already underway at its operations, with therebranding of shops and the launch of a new website yesterday. From May 10 amedia campaign will take off. French operator Orange is the majorityshareholder of Mobistar.
*Liberty Global plc'sDutch cable operator ZiggoNV will increase the price of some of its subscriptions from July1, TotaalTV reports.The price increase will only be applicable to subscriptions which werepurchased before the merger between Ziggo and cable company UPC and will be amaximum of €1.95 per month.
*Telia Co AB's SoneraFinland Oy has abolished the condition that only Finnish nationals with anofficial Finnish ID card can purchase mobile handset devices on installmentplans, writesFinnish public broadcaster YLE. Under Sonera's revised policy, all productsoffered for sale by the company are now open for purchase on installment plansto customers of other nationalities. The official Finnish ID card will nolonger be required. Passport documents together with a Finnish social security numberwill suffice for ID purposes. The previous "Finnish nationals" onlypolicy was rescinded following complaints from foreigners resident in Finland.
*MTN Ghana has selected EricssonAB to deploy a new LTE network in Ghana's Greater Accra region,Ericsson said in a company statement.The deployment will enable MTN to offer its 16 million subscribers ahigh-quality mobile broadband service based on HSPA and LTE technologies.Ericsson will, under the agreement, install its multi-standard radio solutionwhich supports GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA, and LTE.
*Norway's media industry has implemented savings-based cuts amounting to over 2billion Norwegian kroner since 2014, reportsNorwegian online business news site e24.no. It is estimated that the Norwegianmedia sector will shave a further 1 billion Norwegian kroner off its operatingbase by 2020. The industry could lose 500 jobs due to cutbacks in 2016. TV2plans to reduce costs by 350 million Norwegian kroner. This may lead to 150 joblosses. SchibstedASA, Polaris Media, Discovery Communications Inc., Aller-Dagbladet,Discovery and NHST-Dagens Næringsliv are also planning to implement costsavings measures.
*Elisa Oyj is continuing its tender offer for the Finnish tele-operator Anvia Oyat a price of €2,000 per share, the company said in a statement.The Finnish telco issued a tender offer to all shareholders in Anvia on Feb. 8,2016. This was based on a €2,000 per share valuation. Elisa, which is thebiggest shareowner in Anvia, will continue the tender offer under the sameterms until May 19, 2016. Finland's competition and consumer authority approvedElisa's acquisition of Anvia in 2015.
* Vodafone Spain wants nationalantitrust watchdog CNMC to pressure Telefónica SA into opening up Formula 1 rights torivals, Digital TV Europe writes,citing local reports. Telefónica is reportedly refusing to share F1 coverage torivals until July, a timetable which the Vodafone Group Plc unit cannot accept.
*The Greek government is expecting to receive the first bids this week for theTV license auction, Advanced Television reports.Parties seeking to operate a private TV station in the country are reportedlyrequired to submit opening bids not lower than €3 million. Mega Channel ownerTeletypos SA is contesting the minimum bid requirement, calling it exorbitant,according to the report.
*Telekom Slovenije ddis still interested in acquiring Telekom Srbija ad Beograd, Broadband TV News reports,citing Blic. Former Telekom SlovenijeChairman Rudolf Skobe reportedly said the company would have to keep up withthe global trend of ownership consolidation. Telekom Slovenije, in partnershipwith U.S. investment fund Apollo failed to acquire a majority stake in the Serbianincumbent telco in 2015, after the Serbian government deemed all bids were toolow.
*The Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting fined broadcasters FTVPrima and Nova operator CET 21 for separate broadcasting infractions, BroadbandTV News reports.FTV Prima reportedly received a 200,000 Czech koruny fine for airing an episodeof TV show "The Pied Piper on Cool" in March 2014, which wasallegedly unsuitable for minors, while CET 21 was fined 100,000 koruny for anauthorized broadcast of a lottery advertisement in August 2015.
: Synacor shares got a majorboost after the company announced it had won an agreement to offer portalservices to AT&T customers. In other news, Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos soldover 1 million shares in company stock.
: The newest CaptainAmerica title is set to break the box office without any debut competition overthe weekend.
: The Foxes'first-ever, top-flight U.K. title have stoked U.S. audiences during the 2015-16campaign. But will ratings continue to rise as the club sheds its underdogstatus next season?
: CNN WorldwidePresident Jeff Zucker told media buyers that video channel Great Big Story willbe increasing its video production output across various forms and will growits distribution base via deals with connected TV and social platforms.
: SNL Kagan presents a roundup of recent programmingnews from various TV networks, including a new scripted series,"Genius," on NatGeo and Disney XD's premiere of "LEGO Star Wars:The Freemaker Adventures."
: AMC Networks reported first quarterearnings on Thursday, May 5, with total company net revenues increasing 5.7% to$706.6 million.
: Scripps Networks Interactive, the parentcompany to cable networks such as HGTV and Food Network, reported first-quarterearnings on May 5, with the company reporting a 24.1% year-over-year increasein total operating revenue.
: Over-the-top content, artificialintelligence in the Internet of Things, augmented reality and virtual realitywere hot topics at Digital Hollywood 2016.
Amanda Kelly, PatrickWinters, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. TheDaily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external linksmay require a subscription.