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EU digs deeper into Hollywood pay TV deals; Telefónica chairman to step down

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EU digs deeper into Hollywood pay TV deals; Telefónica chairman to step down

TOP NEWS

* EU antitrust regulators quizzedHollywood studios and U.K.'s Skyplc over pay TV deals, as part of an antitrust probe oncross-border access to online film content, Bloomberg News reports,citing a questionnaire sent to the companies. The EU reportedly wants detailsconcerning film revenue, length of theatrical run of movies and the time ittakes to reach 80% of total box office sales per territory, among others.Studios interviewed were 21stCentury Fox Inc.'s 20th Century Fox, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, , 's Warner Bros.,Comcast Corp.'sNBCUniversal MediaLLC and SonyCorp.'s Sony Pictures, according to the report.  

*Telefónica SAExecutive Chairman César Alierta is stepping down after holding the positionsince 2000, the company announced.He will remain on Telefónica's board and keep his post as executive chairman ofthe telco's charitable arm Fundación Telefónica. Alierta proposed theappointment of COO José María Álvarez-Pallete as new executive chairman at theboard's April 8 meeting.  

UK AND IRELAND

* British Broadcasting Corp.'s backed SouthAfrican production company Rapid Blue with an investment. Based in South Africa,Nigeria and Angola, Rapid Blue produces original productions and internationaltelevision formats for South African, African and international audiences,according to a news release. The investment, financial terms of which werenot disclosed, will help BBC Worldwide expand in the region and meet the demandfor local content for the African market, in addition to taking African contentto the world. Rapid Blue will continue to produce programming for BBC Worldwide,alongside existing and new distribution and production partners.

*VICE Media Inc.bought a controlling stake in British production company Pulse Films, Variety reports.The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to helpPulse bolster its scripted output across movies and TV. Pulse Films was foundedby Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford in 2005.

*British Telecom'sEE Ltd. launchedRecordings To Go, a new feature that lets EE TV subscribers transfer recordedcontent from their EE TV box to mobile devices, the Daily Mirror (U.K.) reports.Via the EE TV app, users can reportedly manage their recordings while on thego, while saved content on mobile devices can be viewed without timelimitations. The move follows the recent launch of Sky's Sky Q home entertainment system, whichalso allows mobile viewing of recorded content.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA

*Rainer Heneis, director of marketing and operations at ConstantinMedien-Gruppe's Sport1 Media GmbH, decided to leave the company in a few weeks'time. Accordingto DWDL, Heneis joined Sport1 Media3.5 years ago. He did not confirm whether he was moving to another company.

*German telecoms provider DeutscheTelekom AG plans to restrict access to on mobile devicesshortly, reportsHandelsblatt. The move affectscustomers who have booked the music streaming option, which costs an extra €10per month and offers consumers a Spotify premium account. Deutsche Telekom willrestrict all data usage on mobile networks from April 28, according to thereport. Until now, customers with Spotify accounts were exempt from such restrictions.

*German multinational software firm SAP SE unveiled plans to launch a newsegment involving big data, reports Werben& Verkaufen. Chief Information Officer and Chief Process Officer IngridHelen Arnold said that through the new service, the company will help clientsbuild data-based business models.

FRANCE

*The Paris High Court has found several clauses in the terms and conditions onthe subscription contract of Iliad SA's Free to be abusive, Challenges reports.In a decision issued March 29, the court deemed that a number of Free'scontractual clauses, such as the impossibility to request paper invoices whensigning up, or excessive cancellation fees, are illegal and should cease and beremoved from contracts with immediately. Free reportedly told Agence France-Pressethat it intends to appeal and that several of the clauses cited are no longerincluded in their terms and conditions.  

*France Télévisions is preparing to add a paid option to its catch-up TV offer,CB News reports,citing Director of Programming Caroline Got's interview with La Lettre del'Audiovisuel. Got reportedly said that the broadcaster will update its replayTV platform  Pluzz with the new servicein early September. The broadcaster is developing the system, and aims to addat least 15,000 titles, at least 3,000 of which will be new. It is one of twomajor projects of the group, along with the launch of a public news channel,also scheduled for September .

*Crowdfunding mobile app Tilt is now available in France, Les Echos reports.The Silicon Valley startup targets small groups with a focus on a studentclientele. France showed the fastest adoption rate compared to the eight othercountries where Tilt operates – twice as fast as the British market. OlivierBuffon, CEO of Tilt France and UK, said that the French understand the conceptinstantly because it is already in their culture to frequently pitch in for agift or join together to make a group donation for a project.

*Print-only French weekly Le 1 brokeeven several months ago and is publishing its 100th issue, Le Figaro reports.Excluding publicity, the paper, which takes a didactic approach to news, can beread in less than one hour. Le 1reaches 50,000 readers per week of which 14,000 are subscribers, and publishesfour special editions per year. The concept may be ripe for export as daily La Stampa has expressed an interest inreplicating the format in Italy.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM, ANDLUXEMBOURG

*Vodafone Netherlands is objecting to conditions set by the Dutch government forthe auction of the frequencies currently used for terrestrial channels,Tweakers reports.The conditions are so strict that only current provider KPN can comply. Newentrants do not have a chance, Vodafone reportedly said.

*Tele2 Netherlands HoldingNV activated Voice over LTE on its Dutch 4G/LTE network,Telecompaper reports.Tele2 is the first Dutch operator who effectively activated VoLTE. KPN,Vodafone and T-Mobile also plan to offer VoLTE services on their 4G networks in2016.  Tele2's new service usesT-Mobile's mobile phone network, according to the report.

*Liberty Global plc'sDutch cable unit ZiggoNV launched a special sports app for Dutch viewers, reportsMedia Magazine. The app, which is available to users of the Horizon Mediabox,enriches sports broadcasts on channel 14 with additional information andstatistics. The Sport Experience App allows the sports enthusiast to crawl intothe game, Ziggo director Peter Dörr reportedly said.

*KPN NV and expandedtheir digital TV offering for Dutch consumers, Media Magazine reports.Vodafone added three foreign channels and many regional channels to its basicpackage, while KPN addedthree HD channels to its basic package.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

*Swedish streaming service Spotify raised $1 billion in convertible debt frominvestors, The Wall Street Journal reports.The investors are private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer InvestmentGroup and clients of investment bank Goldman Sachs. The deal will be closed bythe end of the week. According to the report, the lenders are guaranteed sharesin Spotify at a 20% discount in the company's planned IPO.

*Swedish music streaming service SoundCloud is launching a subscription servicein the U.S., the company said in a press release.The new service is called SoundCloud Go, and will cost $9.99 per month. It willbe launched in other countries at a later date. Until now, SoundCloud has beena free service, but the plans for a subscription service have been known for ayear. The company has been working to get agreements with the major recordcompanies in place, in order to be able to launch the service. SoundCloud Gowill offer 125 million songs from 12 million artists.

*The offer for Norwegian tech company Opera Software ASA from a group of Chinese IT companiesis fair from a financial point of view, Opera adviser Carnegie said, accordingto Dagens Næringsliv . The Chineseinvestors, led by IT companies Kunlun and Qihoo, offered to acquire all issuedand outstanding shares in Opera Software.

*Mobile company »3« launched Wi-Fi calls in Denmark, Berlingske Business reports.The service allows mobile customers to use wireless networks at home for callsand text messaging.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

*Vivendi SArepresentatives on Telecom ItaliaSpA's board are backing EI Towers SpA's for a holding in towers companyINWIT, Telecompaper reports,citing La Repubblica. The Vivendiboard members reportedly prefer EI Towers' offer as it would allow the Italianoperator to keep a larger share of INWIT. In contrast, the bid from the CellnexTelecom-F2i consortium would enable Telecom Italia to retain only less than 15%of INWIT.

EASTERN EUROPE

*Four Russian broadcasters: First Channel, VGTRK, Gazprom Media and teamed up to setup a TV advertising alliance, Broadband TV News reports,citing Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.The broadcasters will own a 25% stake each in the joint venture, which willreportedly account for more than 80% of TV advertising in Russia. According tothe report, CTC MediaInc. is also expected to join the venture.

*Bulgarian MP Delyan Peevski withdrew from completing the of local TV station Kanal 3,Broadband TV News reports.The update comes seven months after the New Bulgarian Media Group Holding,reportedly owned by Peevski and his mother Irena Krasteva, requested thatthe  Commission for the Protection ofCompetition approve Elite Media Bulgaria's sale of Kanal 3 to NBMGH. Peevski alsodenied having any interest in NBMGH.

*Telekom Srbija adBeograd's future remains in limbo after the failed of its majority stake inDecember 2015, Broadband TV News reports,citing RTS. Serbia's Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications RasimLjajic reportedly said that the company may either tender for professionalmanagement or for a minority stake.

*Telewizja Polska SAwill no longer make its content available to other services via ad-based videoon demand from mid-2016, Broadband TV News reports,citing Wirtualne Media. TVP Board Member Maciej Stanecki said that the Polishpublic broadcaster would honor existing VOD deals with on-demand providers likeVOD.pl and Ipla.tv until they expire in mid-2016. Stanecki also said that TVPwill focus on developing its own on-demand service Vod.tvp.pl.

FEATURED NEWS

:In this monthly feature, SNL Kagan provides a roundup of news related toover-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in differentAfrican and Middle Eastern markets.

: Travel Channel wantsto make a splash with viewers by bringing a host of new series, specials andbeach-themed episodes to the dial.

: Men earn an average 6.6%more than women in U.S. media, entertainment, arts and recreation industries,according to a new study on gender pay disparities.

: The 2015 paypackage of Verizon Communications Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam is among thosehighlighted in the latest installment of The Pay Check.

: A majority of mobile bank appusers taking part in SNL Financial's second annual Mobile Money survey reportedhaving less than $10,000 in their combined checking and savings accounts. Abouttwo-thirds of survey takers with more than $10,000 deposited indicated interestin switching banks for a mobile app that includes features they cited asmissing in their current app.

FEATURED RESEARCH

: The roughly $50 billionin digital ad revenue generated in the U.S. in 2015 was spread across thousandsof sites and services but the U.S. digital ad landscape has increasingly becomedominated by just two companies: Google and Facebook.    

: February's big story is not oneof the five million-dollar deals, but the sale of no fewer than 246 FMtranslators.

: February was a very important month for TVnetworks and advertisers alike as it featured some of the most-watched liveevents of 2016, including the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Grammys.

: Whilerevenues reported by 24 radio and TV broadcasters increased year over year by4.7% and 4.3% in the fourth quarter and full year 2015, respectively, cash flowmargins declined for both categories following the decrease in political adrevenue.

: Netflix retained theNo. 1 spot on SNL Kagan's list of top U.S. video subscription services in 2015,but the estimated annual gains in Amazon's customer count shifts the spotlightonto the No. 2 provider.

Sylvia Edwards Davis, AnneFreier, Kees Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. TheDaily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external linksmay require a subscription.