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Channel 4 eyes joining BBC, ITV venture; UK urges stricter rules over tech firms


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Channel 4 eyes joining BBC, ITV venture; UK urges stricter rules over tech firms


* Channel 4 (UK) is interested to be a part of the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITV PLC's joint venture for the BritBox streaming service in the U.K., Deadline reports, citing Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon. The British TV network is also eyeing partnerships with a number of European broadcasters, such as ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Mediaset SpA and TF1 Group.

* The U.K. Parliament's House of Lords has called for regulations to curb big tech companies' powers to extract and use consumer data. The Communications Committee report said self-regulation by online platforms such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. is "clearly failing" and rules designed to protect user rights are out of date.


* Facebook's head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, has warned European Union officials against proposals to secure users' personal messages, saying these are a threat to the tech giant's dealings with online advertisers, The Sunday Telegraph reports, citing documents.

* Sky PLC's Sky Mobile has introduced an updated version of its Watch offering, which now offers unlimited streaming on any Sky app without consuming user data. The feature is available for Sky apps users in the U.K. and in the European Union member states and available content would depend on the user's TV subscription.

* Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said Comcast Corp.'s voice interface would be integrated to the British broadcaster's Sky Q service following the completion of the deal between the companies, Broadband TV News reports. Sky Italia SRL will also utilize the U.S. company's xFI product for its broadband services.

* U.K.-based All3media International Ltd. will integrate its current systems with Spain-headquartered cloud-based asset management company Knox Media Hub SL, Advanced Television reports. Following the integration, All3media's about 11,000 hours of content will be accessible across its regional offices in Europe, Americas and Asia Pacific.


* VICE Media LLC's Vice on TV channel will be available on British Telecom's BT TV, beginning March 11. VICE's content will also be available on the BT player and BT TV app.

* The BBC will offer more live programming and other content on its iPlayer platform and provide a more personalized experience, according to Director General Tony Hall. The company will also make iPlayer content available for at least 12 months from its release date.

* Top executives of British telecom operators could pull out of Phones 4u Ltd., putting the mobile retailer out of business, London's The Sunday Telegraph reports, citing a court claim. The executives reportedly include Vittorio Colao, former Vodafone Group PLC CEO, and César Alierta, former chairman of Telefónica SA, the parent company of O2 U.K.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.-sponsored venture capital firm Samsung Next said it agreed to buy U.K.-based digital food platform Whisk. Financial terms of the transaction were not made public.

* Pact, the U.K. trade association representing the country's TV and film industry, has unveiled a new legal framework aimed to protect ideas and intellectual property shared between U.K. and Chinese co-producers. The new framework, which intends to boost collaboration between producers in the two countries, will be added to the U.K.-China Film & TV Toolkit.


* In the legal dispute over the liability in open wireless local area network, Germany's federal court Bundesgerichtshof in Karlsruhe rejected the revision by Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment Inc. confirming previous judgments. Since 2010, net activist Tobias McFadden has been fighting with the support of the Pirate Party in court for free Wi-Fi in Germany.

* Austrian TV station ServusTV Fernsehgesellschaft mbH could soon be launching its own news in Germany, according to DWDL. ServusTV head Ferdinand Wegscheider also previously proposed greater investments in Germany.


* Canal Plus SA's new subscription video-on-demand service could be called Canal Series and would cost €6.99 per month, Broadband TV News reports, citing leaked details. The platform, which will replace CanalPlay and is aimed at becoming a rival to streaming giant Netflix Inc., will feature content such as U.S. series from CBS Corp.'s Showtime and 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FX Network.

* Presstalis SAS CEO Michèle Benbunan told Le Figaro that the company's capital should now be opened to an industry player. Benbunan said the media distribution company is expected to return to profitability in 2019.

* BFM Tv will broadcast the final of the UEFA Champion's League football tournament, Les Échos reports. Following parent company Altice Europe's convergence strategy, RMC Sport, who owned the exclusive rights, announced that this time the final would be aired by the all-news network.

* Iliad's stock dropped over 5% to €84.56 per share on March 8 after Exane BNP Paribas SA lowered recommendation from "neutral" to "underperformance," Les Echos reports. Iliad's share price has fallen by 31% since the beginning of the year.


* Content production powerhouse Endemol Shine Group has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Keshet International Ltd. over the latter's "2025" program, alleging that the show copied the former's "Big Brother" format, TBI Vision reports. In response, the Israeli producer said Endemol Shine is trying to engage in an "unfounded attempt to sabotage a new original format."

* KPN NV continues the transition of its Digitenne service from broadcasting standard DVB-T to DVB-T2 in the Netherlands, implementing the new standard in the Zeeland and Noord-Brabant provinces between March 12 and 19, TotaalTV reports. Also non-Digitenne KPN broadcasts of the NPO channels will reportedly be moved to DVB-T2.

* Ziggo NV announced a civil lawsuit against the man who was convicted for illegal card sharing in a Dutch court last week, Tweakers reports. The man was sentenced to six months of conditional imprisonment and 240 hours of community service, but was acquitted from the €750,000 fine that Ziggo claimed based on missed revenues.

* Channel operator Broadcast Partners will work on coverage optimizations of the DAB+ network of Belgian public broadcaster VRT NV, Media Magazine reports. Broadcast Partners on March 5 took over operation of the network from operator Norkring after winning a public tender last year.


* Swedish prosecutors are appealing a district court's decision acquitting former Telia Co. AB CEO Lars Nyberg of bribery charges in relation to the telco's entry into Uzbekistan, Reuters reports, citing the country's Prosecution Authority.

* The distribution of shares in Nordic Entertainment Group AB will proceed on March 29, Modern Times Group announced. The first trading of NENT's class A and class B shares are now scheduled to take place on Stockholm's Nasdaq Exchange on March 28.

* Ericsson has formed an education-orientated next-generation partnership with UNESCO. The project is focused on the joint development of a new digital learning program that would scale up the youth's skills on artificial intelligence.

* Smart Eye AB Vice Chairman Lars Olofsson has bought 25,000 shares in the company for about 2.4 million Swedish kronor, writes Dagens Industri. The Gothenburg-based Smart Eye develops digital eye-tracking solutions for e-commerce platforms.

* Norway's Progress Party will oppose any government plan to tax digital services, writes The party contends a digital tax would result in double taxation and businesses fleeing Norway.


* Mediaset España Comunicación SA is preparing an April debut for its international distribution arm Mediterráneo SA, in response to increasing global interest in Spanish content, TBI Vision reports. Ghislan Barrois will become the CEO of Mediaset España's new division, with Ana Bustamante stepping in as managing director.

* Vivendi SA is "extremely concerned" by the report of Telecom Italia SpA's statutory auditors, which noted irregularities on the governance of the Italian operator and its board. Majority of the board's members were nominated by activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd., and Vivendi is pushing for the election of independent directors on the board at the March 29 shareholders' meeting.

* Vodafone España SAU has launched its TV service on 2017 and later models of Samsung Electronics' smart TVs, Digital TV Europe reports.

* Spanish operators MásMóvil Ibercom SA and Euskaltel SA have teamed up with retail chain Phone House to create Medbuying Technologies Group, a joint venture that will focus on centralizing purchases of smartphones, routers and telecom accessories, Telecompaper reports. MásMóvil and Phone House's parent entity Dominion will each own 45% of the venture, with Euskaltel holding the remaining 10%.

* Federico Rigoni is stepping down as head of the Italian and southeast Mediterranean unit of Swedish technology giant Ericsson, Telecompaper reports. Roberto Bussolotti will take over Rigoni's post on an interim basis, effective April 1.


* Vivendi is eyeing the launch of its video-on-demand service myCanal in Poland, Broadband TV News reports, citing Wirtualne Media. Details are reportedly unclear as to whether myCanal will be offered on a stand-alone basis or as a replacement to the nc+ Go platform operated by Vivendi unit nc+.

* The O2 TV service, operated by O2 Czech Republic as, has secured broadcast rights to the U.S. Major League Baseball games, Telecompaper reports.

* Moldovan operator StarNet struck a deal to distribute seven international HD thematic channels from the global portfolio of Spi International Inc./FilmBox, Rapid TV News reports. The channels include FightBox HD, Gametoon HD and DocuBox.

* Thousands of Russians rallied against proposed tougher internet restrictions in the country that seek to stifle foreign meddling in national affairs, Reuters reports. The bill, which has passed the Russian parliament on the first reading, is proposing the intrastate routing of web and traffic data as well as the creation of a national domain name system.

* Telia unit Telia Lietuva AB named Arūnas Lingė as its new head of finance, effective March 25. Lingė will replace Laimonas Devyžis who has stepped down, according to a statement.


The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: Apple jobs in San Diego; Huawei lawsuit against US: Stories about Apple adding 1,200 jobs in San Diego and Huawei's lawsuit against the U.S. government facing long odds are among the editor's top story picks for the week ended March 8.


Technology: Global Q4'18 smartphone shipments decline YOY despite holiday sales boost: Fourth-quarter 2018 shipments, boosted by holiday sales, increased sequentially but still declined 4.8% year over year.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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