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Spanish broadcasters to launch joint OTT; Telecom Italia board in shakeup

TOP NEWS

* Spanish broadcasters RTVE, Atresmedia and Mediaset España will bring together their content in a joint over-the-top content service in the country, Digital TV Europe reports. The TV platform will be based on the HbbTV standard and is planned to be available to all digital terrestrial television broadcasters in Spain.

* Telecom Italia SpA said the majority of its board members have resigned following the governance challenge launched by activist investor Elliott Management Corp. Three members of the board representing Vivendi SA, which holds a stake of about 24% in Telecom Italia, have resigned, as well as five other board members. A meeting of Telecom Italia shareholders will be held in May to appoint new board members, Vivendi said.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Union has urged social media companies to "guarantee transparent practices and full protection of citizens' privacy and personal data," following the incident of alleged mishandled data on Facebook Inc., Reuters reports. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has also invited Facebook founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain how Cambridge Analytica LLC accessed and used Facebook users' data.

* The EU is also looking to implement stricter consumer laws over social media companies and email service providers, Reuters reports, adding that the proposal is expected to be presented next month. Under the proposed ruling, member states' national consumer authorities can charge fines of at least 4% of the company's annual turnover.

UK AND IRELAND

* Facebook provided an aggregate dataset of 57 billion friendships on the social networking platform to the University of Cambridge laboratory through Professor Aleksandr Kogan, as part of a study on global friendships published in 2015, London's The Guardian reports. The sharing of data reportedly implies a pre-existing relationship between Facebook and Kogan.

* Four senior British lawmakers led by former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband have urged regulators to reject 21st Century Fox Inc.'s proposed takeover of Sky plc, Reuters reports. The group said the deal will allow Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch to influence Sky News' output despite offering concessions to ensure the independence of the news service.

* Ireland's Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has decided to pursue a Phase 2 investigation into The Irish Times' proposed acquisition of Sappho Ltd., which publishes the Irish Examiner. The watchdog, which needs to make a final decision on the transaction by Aug. 1, believes there is a need to further analyze the deal's potential anti-competitive effects.

* Virgin Media launched broadband services with speeds of up to 350 Mbps, which the Liberty Global plc unit claims to be the fastest across Britain.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Microsoft Corp.'s LinkedIn Corp. announced that it is opening an office in Berlin, making it the company's 11th office in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The new office, which will open in the second half of 2018, will be the professional networking company's second office in Germany.

* German trade union Verdi confirmed that it has declined Deutsche Telekom AG's pay raise offer for its 55,000 employees in the parties' third round of negotiations. The union said the offer was not acceptable. While the union requested a 5.5% pay increase, Deutsche Telekom suggested a pay rise of 2% from July this year followed by a 1.7% pay increase in March 2019.

* RTL Group, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE and United Internet AG's brands GMX and Web.de have jointly announced the launch of their European NetID Foundation as part of their alliance for a single sign-on platform.

* United Internet reported a strong increase in full-year results, in line with its outlook, following its merger of telecom operator 1&1 with Drillisch AG, Handelsblatt reports. Revenues rose 10.5% to €4.21 billion, and EBITDA was up 17.3% to €980 million.

* Quickline AG recorded a 13% revenue growth to CHF 276 million in 2017, following strong sales in telephony and internet services. The Swiss operator also announced that it is selling its enterprise business to DataHub Group, which operates a data center in Biel and will add to its connectivity services.

* German operator Exaring AG's IPTV service Waipu.tv has added new channels to its HD channel portfolio, Telecompaper reports. All stations from the ProSiebenSat.1 group are now included in HD quality in Waipu's Perfect TV package.

FRANCE

* The French Senate has created an inter-committee digital group to create a roadmap for the defense of individual and collective freedoms. The digital group will work closely with standing committees and Senate delegations, focusing on cybersecurity, human services and digital health, while highlighting economic issues and the protection of individual and collective freedoms.

* SFR Group SA's name will not be changed to Altice France, Univers Freebox reports. CEO Alain Weill said that with a strong brand like SFR, it is not the time to change the name, especially as Altice NV is separating its European and American activities.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Dutch over-the-top services will be available for Dutch customers who are temporarily in the Caribbean, after geoblocking within the EU is abolished May 1, TotaalTV reports. Several of the Caribbean islands are part of the Netherlands or France, forcing European providers to offer their services in these areas as well.

* Proximus, VIVES II and SRIW Group will together invest €3 million in Belgian internet startup Tessares, Proximus said. The investment is expected to accelerate international growth and development of Tessares' new products and services through R&D investments.

* The Dutch parliament will reconsider approval of the new intelligence and safety law, after a national advisory referendum resulted in a close win for voters against the new law, Nu.nl reports. The proposed law has been a source of controversy in the Netherlands, as it will give intelligence services more freedom in intercepting digital communications.

* KPN NV will stop using FM ether frequencies for several radio stations and will focus on DAB+, TotaalTV reports. Until the network is completely ready for DAB+, KPN will continue to provide DVB-T.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Norwegian media group Egmont AS is still interested in acquiring Danish commercial public broadcaster TV2 if the government decides to sell it, Egmont CEO Steffen Kragh told Børsen. Egmont, which owns Norwegian broadcaster TV2, has both the necessary capital and experience to make a success of the Danish broadcaster, Kragh said.

* Telia Co. AB unit Telia Sweden said it is launching a mobile version of its streaming platform Telia Play. The platform offers live streaming of 15 TV channels, as well as several streaming services and a movie store.

* Telenor Norway said streaming service Nettkino, which offers brand new Norwegian films, will be made available on the Telenor ASA unit's T-We app. Nettkino offers Norwegian films which are nearing the end of their cinema run, and make them available for streaming for three months.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Telecom Italia may consider selling a stake in Netco, the soon-to-be-separated network company, and to file for a public listing once the business becomes fully regulated, Reuters reports, citing two sources. The Italian operator will file a final proposal to the Italian communications regulator in the coming days.

* The Turkish parliament has approved a bill that would allow the country's Radio and Television Supreme Council to regulate online content, Reuters reports. Broadcasting companies that intend to stream online content would need to gain a license to do so, under the bill.

* Movistar will be launching new in-house programs, original TV content and additional live transmissions on its Movistar eSports TV channel, Advanced Television reports. Telefónica SA's pay TV unit also plans to offer international events in Spanish and a new magazine program focused on eSports.

* Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy revealed Plan 300x100, a €525 million broadband project that targets to provide fiber optic broadband access to all localities and about 95% of the population by 2021, Telecompaper reports. The government targets to provide fast broadband to about 85% of each region by 2019 and to eventually reach 100% penetration by 2021.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Messaging platform Telegram has filed an appeal with the European Human Rights Court over an 800,000 Russian ruble fine that a Russian court imposed on the company, Telecompaper reports, citing Vedomosti. The fine was inflicted on Telegram after it refused to disclose encryption keys to Russia's Federal Security Service.

* O2 Czech Republic as expects to receive about €47.2 million in dividend from its unit O2 Slovakia sro as part of the latter's 2017 profit, Reuters reports.

* Rostelecom PJSC expects revenues of 375 billion Russian rubles in 2022, Telecompaper reports, citing CEO Mikhail Oseyevski's statement to Comnews.ru. The anticipated revenue would represent a 4% to 5% growth from the company's 2017 revenues.

FEATURED NEWS

Hires and Fires: Meredith to cut 1,200 jobs; FremantleMedia CEO to join YouTube: Meredith has cut about 200 positions, with 1,000 more to be slashed over the next 10 months. FremantleMedia CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz is stepping down to join Google unit YouTube as head of operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Hires and Fires Europe: FremantleMedia CEO stepping down; Tricolor TV chief quits: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a biweekly rundown of executive and board changes in the European media and communications industries.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: 2018 France survey summary report: VOD viewing continues to grow: Viewing of video-on-demand content is on the increase in France, due in large part to a surging subscription VOD market.

Daniela Latini, 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.

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