* Astudy commissioned by Channel 4 (UK)'s board found that is the most likelyU.K. buyer for the broadcaster, TheGuardian (London) reports.The study reportedly refuted reports that Channel 4 can be sold for £1 billionand pegged the "realistic maximum price" from £400 million to £500million. According to the report, Channel 4 is "comfortablysustainable" as a state-owned, commercially funded company.
*Germany's Axel SpringerSE's Axel Springer Digital Ventures GmbH sold Smarthouse Media GmbHto Adesso AG in a deal worth €24 million. Smarthouse, whose founders alsoparticipated in the sale, is a provider of online financial applications. TheAxel Springer unit said in a news releasethat the sale is part of its strategy to focus on its journalistic brands andmarketing and classified ad models. Smarthouse Media operates over 300 portalson the basis of its own product solutions. Digital Ventures was a majorityowner of Smarthouse Media for over 15 years.
UK AND IRELAND
* Paramount Pictures an exclusive deal with U.K.-basedCG feature animation studio Locksmith Animation to develop and produce a seriesof animated films. The ViacomInc. unit will first work with Locksmith Animation on three titles,which the Elisabeth Murdoch-backed company has been developing since 2014. Thefirst theatrical release is planned for 2020. Under the deal, the two studiosalso agreed to develop other projects over time.
*British media regulator Ofcom approved the change of control of the Channel 3license for Northern Ireland, which resulted from 's of 's media assets,including UTV Ltd., according to a published report.Ofcom said the change of control is unlikely to be prejudicial to theCommunications Act.
*Ericsson AB is openinga new broadcast and media services hub in MediaCityUK in the Greater Manchestertown of Salford, as the company strengthens its TV and media operations in theU.K. The new facility will be operational starting the first quarter of 2017,and will cater to clients such as the BritishBroadcasting Corp. Ericsson also said that it extended its lease ofits Broadcast Centre in London.
*BBC Studios head of factual Natalie Humphreys and "Strictly ComeDancing" boss Katie Taylor are both leaving the broadcaster, according to separateBroadcast reports.The moves follow the departure of Mark Freeland, who decided not to take up thenew role of BBC Studios head of scripted comedy and drama.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA
*Sixt Leasing, a subsidiary of car rental firm Sixt, a subsidiary of car rentalfirm Sixt, took over German automotive portal autohaus24 from Axel Springer, accordingto Handelsblatt. Up until now, Sixtand Axel Springer each owned 50% of autohaus24. Financial details of thetransaction were not disclosed.
*German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE will launch a new documentarychannel called kabel eins Doku during the second half of 2016, reportsMeedia. Heading the channel will be Thorsten Pütsch, former senior vicepresident of new channel development at ProSiebenSat.1. Channel programmingwill focus on history, real crime, nature and technology.
*Sky Deutschland GmbHunit Sky Media received a marketing order for Zee.One, the country's first freeBollywood channel. According to a news releaseposted on OnVista, the exclusive marketing mandate expands Sky Media'sportfolio in the areas of special interest and genre TV. Zee.One producesBollywood entertainment and is available via cable and satellite. SkyDeutschland is a unit of Skyplc.
*Deutsche Telekom AGincreased profits 4.7% to €17.6 billion for the first quarter 2016. Accordingto Handelsblatt, much of the growthis being attributed to strong results from T-Mobile US Inc. The company exceeded analystexpectations.
*Gameloft lost its appeal to suspend a hostile takeover by , reportsReuters. Vivendi, which holds 29% of Gameloft shares, launched an unsolicitedtender offer on March 21. France's market regulator AMF set May 27 as thedeadline for Vivendi's bid for the French video game developer and publisher. Aseparate complaint against a declaration of compliance related to Vivendi'stakeover bid is still ongoing.
*Vivendi categorically denied reports it is seeking a buyer for its 24-hour newschannel iTélé, Le Point reports,citing Mediapart. Vivendi is reportedly looking to sell , whose possible buyersinclude SFR and BFMTV owner Patrick Drahi, Groupe Le Monde or media fund investors Xavier Niel,Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre Bergé. A takeover by Drahi seems unlikely, but analliance with Xavier Niel to provide content to or with Matthieu Pigasse toproduce content for France 5 and VICE Media Inc. could be more logical, according to thereport.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM, ANDLUXEMBOURG
*Belgian operator Proximus concluded a poor first quarter, reportsDe Tijd. Sales fell 3.3% to €1.34billion. The disappointing performance of subsidiary BICS, supplier ofinternational telecoms, led to a lower result. Proximus reportedly said itstill expects to achieve modest growth in earnings and revenues for the fullyear.
*Clubmobiel, the operator of Ajax Mobiel, Feyenoord Mobiel and PSV Mobiel, hasshut down, industry website GSM Helpdesk reports.All Club Mobiel customers of have been migrated to provider Simpel. Clubmobielhad about 4,500 customers in the Netherlands, which was not enough to beprofitable, according to the report.
*Danish telecom group TDCA/S is likely to suffer financially after the "forcedmarriage" between TV and internet was dissolved in Denmark, an analyst toldMediawatch. For years, TDC has been able to force customers to buy cable TV ifthey wanted an internet connection installed, but the government changed thelaw. Several companies are now offering internet only deals, and analystMichael Friis Jørgensen at Alm. Brand Bank said that this will negativelyaffect TDC.
*TDC continues to see a decline in both revenues and earnings, Berlingske Business reports.In the first quarter of 2016, TDC's revenue fell 5.9% compared to the sameperiod in 2015, to 5.83 million Danish kroner. EBITDA fell 10% to 2.23 millionduring the same period. At the same time, the group saw an increase insubscribers, but an increasing number of customers opt for cheap mobilesubscriptions and TV packages.
*The Norwegian government put out a tender for license for commercial publicbroadcaster, which is presently held by TV2, Dagens Næringsliv reports.The invitation is being criticized by the opposition parties, as the licensecontains fewer content requirements than before. The new license holder will still have to beheadquartered and maintain a news desk in the city of Bergen, but will nolonger have to contribute to supporting Norwegian film and television production.The agreement will apply for the period covering Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31,2019. TV2 has not yet given any comments on the new invitation.
*Vodafone Group Plcunit Vodafone Espanais set to launch a new 4K-compatible set-top box that includes access toTiVo Inc., AdvancedTelevision reports.Users of the cloud-based STB will also be able to access up to 120 TV channels,a video-on-demand service and the Netflix Inc. app, among others.
*Portuguese state broadcaster RTP is launching an Ultra HD channel in time forthe UEFA Euro 2016 championships in France, Telecompaper reports.The channel will air eight soccer matches from June 10 to July 10. , and -owned 's MEO will distribute thenew channel.
*Spanish broadcaster MediaProGroup of Cos. struck a five-year syndicated loan agreement worth€306 million with eight banks, Telecompaper reports.The loan facility will allow Mediapro to restructure its funding and settleabout €253 million of previous loans, according to the report.
*Starman AS'Lithuanian unitCgates UAB acquiredlocal cable operator Remo Televizija for an undisclosed sum, Telecompaper reports,citing Vz.lt. Remo Televizija has about 130,000 pay TV-subscribing householdsand 90,000 internet customers in the towns of Elektrenai and Kaišiadorys.
*Vodafone unit Vodafone Romania launched a new prepaid brand dubbed Cartelaverde at the end of 2015, Telecompaper reports,citing Ziarul Financiar. The product,which offers unlimited calls and texts for €5 monthly, is aimed at consumerswho do not use mobile data services. Vodafone Romania had a prepaid brand namedIndygen, which bowed out of the market in 2015 after two years of operations.
*Orange Slovakia is offering 2 GB of data to its mobile TV users until July 31to cover the ice hockey championship, Telecompaper reports.The Orange SA unitalso launched an upgraded version of its Orange TV app, which is available ondevices powered by AlphabetInc.-owned GoogleInc.'s Android and soon on Apple Inc.'s iOS.
: With Apple sentiment souring lately, apanel of Hollywood executives and investors at Digital Hollywood discussed thecompany's video opportunity and whether it can save Apple from the pangs ofmaturity.
:Although short on details, CEO Mike Hopkins told media buyers at Hulu's upfrontthat it plans to launch a live, over-the-top streaming service next year. Thecompany also emphasized its commitment to adding more content, includingoriginal series, and the debut of a documentary film unit, showcasing atheatrical about The Beatles.
: The clock phase of the FCC's reverse auctionof spectrum is set to begin at the end of the month. But a number of questionsremain.
: Condé Nast Entertainment executives told media buyers thatthe company is committed to producing more millennial-targeted premium video,including virtual reality fare, and that it will expand its distributionfootprint via a deal with Comcast.
: In this monthly feature, SNL Kagan provides aroundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online videoinitiatives in different Latin American markets.
: Pandora climbed to the top of the list of newmedia companies with the biggest gains in short interest in the first half ofApril.
: Netflix witnessed a shortinterest drop of 354 basis points between March 31 and April 15 to 8.06% ofoutstanding shares.
: Alphabet has been weighed down byexpenses and currency headwinds, but the sell-off may be overstated.
:NBCUniversal Media LLC's announced acquisition of DreamWorks Animation was thetop deal of the month across the media, new media and communications sectors.
: In the fourth week of April, we registeredbroadcast deal volume of only $2.7 million.
Amanda Kelly, Anne Freier,Kees Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dosehas an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links mayrequire a subscription.