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La Liga eyes OTT service; Italian broadcasters bag sports rights

In this monthly 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 video initiatives in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

TOP NEWS

* Spanish soccer league La Liga intends to launch an over-the-top sports channel in August, Advanced Television reported Feb. 16, citing league President Javier Tebas' interview with Expansion. The free streaming channel will include live and on-demand content of various matches and highlights.

* A number of Italian broadcasters, such as RAI, Mediaset SpA, Sky plc unit Sky Italia SRL and Discovery Communications Inc.'s Discovery Italia Srl, have sealed deals to air sporting events, Advanced Television reported Jan. 31. Sky Italia, which owns the Italian rights to the UEFA Champions League, has cut a deal with RAI; Mediaset acquired rights for the 2018 World Cup in Russia; Sky Italia obtained rights for the Formula 1 World Championship from 2018 to 2020; and Discovery Italia has renewed its agreement to air the Six Nations rugby tournament until 2021.

OTHER NEWS

* Greek operator Forthnet SA ended its partnership with SuperLeague, which organizes the country's top-division soccer, Telecompaper reported Feb. 14. The termination takes effect in the 2018-2019 season.

* BeIN Media Group LLC added a multichannel feature to its beIN Connect over-the-top platform in Spain, Rapid TV News reported Feb. 13. Subscribers will be able to watch up to four games simultaneously online via desktop on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers.

* Spanish broadcaster Atresmedia aims its push into in-house series production with more fictional content via its themed channel Atreseries and its U.S. version, Rapid TV News reported Feb. 9.

* Mediapro plans to produce a Serie A-themed network that is targeted to be distributed to various pay TV platforms, Rapid TV News reported Feb. 8. The network is targeted to air all the live Serie A games, together will other additional content.

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone Turkey will include eight channels from SPI International Inc./FILMBOX in its mobile service Vodafone TV. The channels include FilmBox and FilmBox Art House, FightBox, Fast&FunBox, DocuBox, FashionBox and 360 TuneBox. SPI's digital service Filmbox On Demand will also be available on Vodafone Turkey's service.

* Italian soccer league Serie A has agreed with Mediapro's approximately €1.05 billion offer to acquire rights to broadcast its matches for the seasons from 2018 to 2021, Reuters reported Feb. 5. Serie A will notify the Italian antitrust authority of the agreement to officially assign the rights to the broadcaster.

* OTE's Cosmote TV has secured exclusive television broadcast rights for Germany's Bundesliga soccer league until the 2020-2021 season. The deal renewal will allow Cosmote Sport channels to broadcast all 617 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches, including each league's playoffs and Supercup, the company said Jan. 31. The matches will also be available on Cosmote TV Go and Cosmote Replay TV services.

* British broadcaster Sky targets to deploy an all-IP version of its pay TV service in Italy in April, Digital TV Europe reported Jan. 26. The service, which will be made available via the Sky Q platform and first debuted in the U.K. in 2016, will eventually be rolled out in Austria and other key markets.

* Pay-TV giant Sky will be adding Viacom International Media Networks' MTV España HD to its live over-the-top portfolio in Spain, starting Feb. 5, Rapid TV News reported Jan. 25. Sky previously entered into agreements with the Viacom Inc. unit to broadcast its other channels, such as Comedy Central (US) and Nickelodeon.