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Spotify, Universal Music ink deal; Talpa further boosts TMG stake

TOP NEWS

* Swedish-founded Spotify Ltd. and Vivendi SA-owned Universal Music Group inked a long-term global licensing deal that will allow musicians to limit free play on some new albums, according to a news release. Pursuant to the deal, UMG artists may offer their new albums to paid subscribers only for two weeks, with their singles available on Spotify's free service.

* John de Mol's media company Talpa has once again increased its stake in publisher Telegraaf Media Groep NV, to 28.7%, Villamedia writes. On April 3, more than 800,000 shares in TMG were traded on the stock exchange, almost all of which were bought by Talpa, resulting in the price per share to increase to €6.50 from €6.20.

UK AND IRELAND

* ITV Plc's ITV Studios teamed up with South Korean entertainment company CJ E&M to develop an entertainment show for international audiences, TBI Vision reports. The show will have local versions in the U.K. and South Korea.

* Two individuals pleaded guilty and have been sentenced at Leicester Crown Court for being part of a conspiracy to defraud Virgin Media Inc., Broadband TV News reports. Manish Javahar and Bobby Bhairon colluded with Mahesh Tailor, who sold set-top boxes that bypass the subscriptions required from the British operator. Leicestershire police discovered a container with 5,000 set-top boxes during the investigation.

* World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee criticized the U.K. government's intention to weaken encryption, saying that it is a "bad idea," BBC News reports. Lee, who was responding to U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd's call for access to messaging systems, said that allowing authorities to gain access to messages would have serious consequences.

* The Irish government will accept Eir's pledge to connect 300,000 rural homes to a new broadband connection by 2018, which means the targeted area will not be included in the rollout of a state-subsidized national broadband plan, Dublin's Irish Independent reports. The government's acceptance of the pledge could push the rollout of fiber broadband to rural areas past 2021, which is when the project was expected to be completed, the report said.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Deutsche Telekom AG launched StreamOn, a free music- and video-streaming service for MagentaMobil customers in Germany. Select MagentaMobil subscribers can book the service for free starting April 19.

* Ströer Content Group GmbH, which owns T-Online.de, promoted Arne Henkes to director for content, Horizont reports. In the newly created role, Henkes will build a newsroom for T-Online.de and other portals owned by the German group.

* Deutsche Telekom launched StartTV, an entry-level TV plan in Germany, Telecompaper reports. It will be available beginning in May with 100 channels, including 22 in high definition. Customers can also subscribe to another 24 high-definition channels and the EntertainTV mobile service.

* Telefónica SA's Telefónica Deutschland GmbH launched a pilot project in Nuremberg, Germany, to measure air pollution with an app. It is a collaboration between Telefónica Next, Swiss sustainability company South Pole Group, German data analytics group Teralytics and the city of Nuremberg.

* Swiss IT company Netcloud is taking over 100% of Swiss rival uniQconsulting. The companies will continue to operate independently. Details of the deal were not disclosed.

* Sport-streaming services provider DAZN is now also available via Google Inc.'s Google Chromecast, DWDL reports. DAZN and Sony Corp. also recently announced making the offering available on PlayStation 4 as part of a long-term partnership. Alphabet Inc. owns Google.

FRANCE

* Iliad is aiming for a quarter of the Italian mobile market, according to Reuters. An internal source said the French telecom plans to "quickly grab about 10% of the market in the next two to three years through very aggressive offers, with the aim to eventually reach 25%."

* News agency AFP said it signed a long-term partnership with social video creation platform Wochit. Tailored AFP video content will be distributed using the Wochit platform.

* French independent distributor Superights concluded a deal for "Pat the Dog," Satellifax reports. The cartoon comedy was acquired by ABC Cable Networks Group and is set to be broadcast on Disney Channel in the third quarter.

* Valerie Languille has been appointed director of human resources for Canal Plus Group SA. After working with Groupe Caisse d'Espargne, Talents Groupe and Groupe BPCE, she joined Canal Plus in 2011, working with StudioCanal and Pay TV.

* French telecom company SFR Group said it deployed 1,287 4G sites during the first quarter. SFR's 4G network now has 11,122 active 4G sites in 22 cities.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Dutch business communication solutions provider Voiceworks will take over service provider Xenosite for an undisclosed sum, according to an official statement. According to Voiceworks, the takeover will allow the company to increase its scale and enhance its position as an independent provider.

* Uber Technologies Inc. will expand its services in the Netherlands to Eindhoven, four years after it launched the service in Amsterdam, FD reports. According to Uber, Eindhoven is a strong economical region in the Netherlands.

* The Supreme Court of the Netherlands limited the rights of the Dutch police regarding investigations into suspects' smartphones, stating that the police are only allowed to search a device if it does not go beyond a limited invasion of privacy, according to Nu.nl. Following the decision, a case from 2014 is likely to be reopened to investigate whether the suspect's privacy was too heavily breached.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telenor ASA said that it is running a new experimental multicity pilot Internet of Things initiative in Norway. The pilot network, which will be cost-free to tech startups and students, is set to be launched in Trondheim, Tromsø and Oslo starting May 1.

* The partnership of Ericsson AB and Cisco Systems secured its first deal in Brazil, Ericsson said in a statement. Ericsson-Cisco will supply and install IP routers for Nextel. Cisco will supply the hardware, while Ericsson will deliver project management and services.

* Tele2 Sweden's nomination committee proposed the election of Anders Björkman to Tele2's board, VA Finans reports. Björkman is CEO of OnePhone Holding, which supplies cloud-based B2B solutions for fixed and mobile network operators.

* Telenor ASA's Telenor Norge A/S' move towards higher digitalization will result in new cost-cutting measures, e24.no writes. Telenor plans to close three coastal radio stations operated by Telenor Kystradio in Vardo, Floro and Tjøme in January 2018.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Swisscom AG-owned Fastweb SpA lost an appeal over Enel SpA unit Enel OpEn Fiber's contract to roll out a fiber-optic network in digital divide areas in Italy, Telecompaper reports, citing Cor.com. The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio reportedly found Fastweb's argument as inadmissible.

* Meanwhile, Tiscali SpA and Enel OpEn Fiber have commercially launched fiber-optic services in Cagliari, offering download speeds of up to 1 Gbps, Telecompaper reports. Enel OpEn Fiber plans to cover 65,900, or 80%, of residences in Cagliari by March 2018.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Czech parliament gave initial approval on a bill imposing higher fines for telecom operators in a bid to improve the latter's services, Reuters reports. Under the proposal, which still needs to undergo two more readings in the Lower House before being endorsed to the upper chamber and the Czech president, erring operators would be fined up to 10% of their net revenues, which could be doubled for repeat offenders within two years of the first offense.

* Former TVN SA CEO Piotr Walter is about to join Wirtualna Polska as a member of its supervisory board, Telecompaper reports, citing Media2.pl. Wirtualna Polska will adopt a resolution on his appointment at the April 26 shareholders meeting. Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. owns TVN.

* IBM Corp. opened an IBM Budapest Lab in Hungary, designed to ramp up the company's cloud video offerings, Telecompaper reports. The new facility will continue and expand the work of the previous Ustream R&D Center, as the company predicts cloud-based video to become a $105 billion industry by 2019.

FEATURED NEWS

£11.7B Fox-Sky deal grapples with critics, regulatory hurdles: 21st Century Fox is facing public scrutiny in Britain following the company's proposed £11.7 billion takeover of pan-European pay TV giant Sky.

Virtual reality still years away from mass-market adoption: As monetization of virtual reality platforms is still a few years away, companies with established models stand a far better chance at staying the course, vTime's Julian Price told MIPTV delegates in Cannes, France.

Google VR exec: Consumer engagement a major challenge: Consumer engagement is a major challenge for virtual reality platforms, according to Google Daydream executive Greg Ivanov. His comments follow underwhelming demand for VR, with headset sales falling short of projections.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Global markets update — South Africa, Greece, Romania and Bahamas: Kagan's Global Multichannel analysis for South Africa, Greece, Romania and Bahamas has been recently updated.

Stefanie Eschenbacher, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.