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Netflix tests higher pricing in Italy; Rakuten TV to expand across Europe

In this Southern Europe Video Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

TOP STORIES

* Netflix Inc. has been testing a new price of about €18 per month for its premium tier in Italy, Bloomberg News reported, citing Smartworld. The streaming giant, however, clarified that the price change is just an experiment at this point. The test is being done to "better understand how members value Netflix" and "not everyone will see this test," according to a statement from the company cited in the report.

* Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. is planning to offer its movie streaming service, Rakuten TV, in 42 countries in Europe, Reuters reported March 14, quoting Rakuten TV founder and CEO Jacinto Roca. Rakuten has teamed up with television manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Philips and Hisense Electric Co. Ltd. to let users watch its movies in HD by using a remote control. Roca expects the service to become available on more than 80% of the smart TVs in living rooms around Europe.

OTHER STORIES

* Vodafone España SAU extended its distribution agreement with SPI International Inc./Filmbox for the Spanish operator's continued provision of the Funbox UHD channel to its subscribers, Digital TV Europe reported March 14.

* Telefónica SA won the rights for the digital distribution of CRTVE.es, the streaming service of Spanish public broadcaster RTVE, Advanced Television reported March 13. The deal also covers technical services for RTVE's video-on-demand service, as well as the hybrid broadcast broadband TV technology used in the LOVESTV platform that is co-managed by RTVE, Mediaset SpA unit Mediaset España Comunicación SA and Atresmedia.

* Vodafone España launched its Vodafone TV service on 2017 and later models of Samsung Electronics' smart TVs, Digital TV Europe reported March 8.

* Perform Group Ltd. rolled out its sports streaming platform DAZN in Spain, Digital TV Europe reported Feb. 27. Following the launch, DAZN agreed to exclusively broadcast tournaments of the Women's Tennis Association on the new service beginning in April, Telecompaper reported March 7. The livestreaming agreement for WTA will run until the end of 2019.

* A court in Rome has ruled that Facebook Inc. is liable for hosting unauthorized links from Mediaset on its platform, Telecompaper reported Feb. 21. The suit was referring to a 2012 incident where links to content from Mediaset's Italia Uno channel was shared by an anonymous user on a Facebook page.

* Italian public broadcaster RAI will begin broadcasting content in 8K resolution in 2020 starting with the Tokyo Olympics, Advanced Television reported Feb. 20.

* Telefónica's pay TV platform Movistar+ secured exclusive broadcast rights to football games from Italy's Serie A and France's Ligue 1, Rapid TV News reported Feb. 20. The games have been airing on Movistar+'s #Vamos channels.

* French media group Vivendi SA is planning to extend the reach of its video-on-demand app MyCanal to a global audience, Digital TV Europe reported Feb. 18, citing Chairman and CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine.

* Gestmusic Endemol SA, a unit of Endemol Shine Group Ltd.'s Endemol Shine Iberia, has been tapped to produce prime-time music entertainment format "The Best Song Ever Sung," Rapid TV News reported Feb. 18. The show will be aired on Spanish public broadcaster TVE.