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James Murdoch retains Sky chairmanship; Viasat World eyes OTT for expats


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James Murdoch retains Sky chairmanship; Viasat World eyes OTT for expats


* About 51.5% of Sky plc investors voted to reappoint James Murdoch as chairman of the British broadcaster, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Murdoch, who is also the CEO of 21st Century Fox Inc., has faced criticism for holding dual posts amid Fox's planned Sky takeover.

* International entertainment group Viasat World Ltd. is planning to launch a new over-the-top platform aimed at Russian-speaking communities outside Russia. Speaking at Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest, CEO Irina Gofman said that the new direct-to-consumer service will be called TV1000 Russian Kino and will be offered to Russian expats in the U.K., Israel, Germany, France and the U.S. In Germany and the U.K. the service will be available via Inc.'s Amazon Channels.


* AMC Networks International named Marco Frazier to the newly created post of senior vice president, international distribution - digital and new platforms. Frazier, who will be based in Italy, is credited for the launch of company-owned networks across the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. AMC Networks International is a unit of AMC Networks Inc.


* Apple Inc. has received an approval for its planned €850 million data center in Ireland, Reuters reports. High Court judge Paul McDermott has dismissed appeals against the approval of the project, making way for the planned facility.

* U.K. regulator Transport for London is expected to defend its decision not to renew Uber Technologies Inc.'s license to operate at the British capital when the ride-hailing company files for an appeal on the regulator's ruling, Reuters reports. Uber has until Oct. 13 to file for an appeal and will be allowed to operate in the capital until a decision on the appeal has been made.

* Christen Ager-Hanssen, the second-largest investor in Johnston Press plc, is expected to request for a shareholder meeting to seek the ouster of Camilla Rhodes as the company's interim chairman, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Hanssen is expected to make an attempt to replace Rhodes and demand other board changes.


* MGM Worldwide Television Distribution and production company RedSeven Entertainment agreed to form a multiyear joint venture to coproduce and distribute nonscripted content in Germany. The venture will see the two companies jointly producing local versions of MGM's unscripted formats and pitching them to German broadcasters.

* Latest quarter results reveal that Sky Deutschland GmbH increased consumer subscriptions by about 90,000 in Germany. The weaker growth may be due to the video-on-demand service losing its Bundesliga streaming rights. EBITDA in Germany grew £23 million representing an increase of 35%.

* Harald Wahls, CEO of Axel Springer SE unit Media Impact, may be leaving the company, according to information obtained by German media magazine Meedia.

* Leading industrial companies in Germany do not wish to rely on the top three mobile service providers Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone Group Plc's Vodafone Deutschland Gmbh and Telefónica SA's Telefónica Deutschland GmbH. Zentralverband der Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie has demanded that the German Bundesnetzagentur allow its members to build their own private 5G networks, Wirtschaftswoche reported, citing Handelsblatt.


* Roku Inc. announced that it will launch its streaming player Roku Express in France, with the device expected to be available online later this month. Customers in France will be able to access more than 3,500 streaming channels, including movies and TV episodes, through Roku Express.

* The Paris offices of beIN Media Group LLC's beIN Sports were raided on at the request of Swiss justice authorities, Pure Médias reports. Criminal proceedings for alleged corruption and fraud in relation to World Cup media rights were opened against the head of beIN Media Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and FIFA's former Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.

* Rodolphe Belmer has been appointed vice chairman of the supervisory board of Mediawan SA, the media SPAC co-founded by Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton. He will hold office until April 2021.


* Intelsat SA and Globecast struck a multiyear deal expansion for the continued distribution of two France 24 (US) channels as well as the broadcast of a new Spanish-speaking HD channel via Intelsat 21, according to a news release.

* VodafoneZiggo has announced it will open its new headquarters in the center of Utrecht in the Netherlands in October 2018. The new office, which could host about 1,400 employees, will be located at Hoog Catharijne shopping center.

* Eurofiber BV has introduced a new online platform to connect over 30 data centers in the Netherlands. The platform, DCspine, will offer a Terabit network between the data centers, following an increasing adoption of cloud applications and the demand for data center interconnectivity.

* Liberty Global plc's Ziggo NV is facing delays in its project to increase internet speeds in former areas of UPC, the provider with whom Ziggo merged in 2015, writes TotaalTV. The increase was announced on Oct. 2, but the provider now faces problems with old network packages that cannot be adapted to the speeds.


* Modern Times Group MTG AB said that Hulu LLC has acquired the U.S. streaming rights to its original series "Veni Vidi Vici." The series originally premiered on MTG's Viaplay AB streaming service in April. It will make its debut on Hulu in December.

* The founders of Spotify AB have devised a strategy to retain power over the music streaming service even after it gets listed, DI Digital reports. At an extraordinary general meeting held in October, Spotify's board was given the right to issue up to 35 million certificates, worth between 0.5 and 1 share per certificate. However, this issue will not be allowed if it causes the combined ownership of founders Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek to fall below 5 %.

* U.S. investor Bill Maris, known for founding Google Ventures in 2009, has invested $15 million in Swedish-founded music tech company Kobalt, Breakit reports. Maris will also join the company's board.


* Telecom Italia SpA said that it notified the Italian government of changes in its ownership, after Vivendi SA assumed de facto control of the telco. The notification was made in accordance with the "golden power" decree that grants the government special powers over strategically important companies. However, the telco believes it need not issue a notification and would continue to defend its arguments on the issue before competent courts.

* Spanish broadband operator Adamo launched its gigabit fiber internet service in some parts of the country's Cantabria region, Telecompaper reports, citing Redes Zone. The service was activated in a tech park near the city of Santander and will shortly go live in eight localities across Cantabria.


* Telia Co. AB has agreed with the Latvian government's demands that the latter should own a majority stake in the new operator formed by the merger of fixed line operator Lattelecom Group and mobile operator LMT, Dienas Bizness reports. Telia Company presently owns 60.3% of LMT and 49% of Lattelecom.

* SPI International/FILMBOX and Ukrainian cable operator Volia teamed up to launch an online video-on-demand service, Filmbox OnDemand, according to a news release. The platform offers a selection of American and European films that can be accessed across multiple screens.

* Alex Froment-Curtil is stepping down as CEO of Vodafone Hungary to join Vodafone Egypt as CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2018, Telecompaper reports. Parent company Vodafone Group is in the process of appointing Froment-Curtil's successor.


Sky maps out major headwinds for year ahead: Sky reported a strong start to its financial year but noted challenges to growth including the spiraling cost of Premier League soccer rights, the ongoing slump in the U.K. advertising market and intensified competition from BT and EE.


Conference Chatter: European broadcasters team up to tackle growing digital threat: A speaker at Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe said "the time has come" for broadcasters to work together to tackle digital challenges head on.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.