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Netflix, Orange renew distribution deal; Yandex to launch online video service

In this monthly Eastern Europe Video Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Eastern European markets.

TOP NEWS

* Orange SA renewed its content distribution deal with Netflix Inc., allowing Orange customers across the globe to have access to Netflix's catalog of films and TV series, Netflix said Sept. 14. The partnership includes Orange's units in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with Orange Polska SA the first to benefit. Other rollouts will follow in 2018.

* Yandex LLC is eyeing a new paid online video service by the end or shortly after the end of 2017, Telecompaper reported Oct. 3, citing Vedomosti. According to sources, the Russian search engine company is currently in talks with copyright holders for potential carriage rights deals.

Content and carriage deals

* Russian broadcaster SPB TV secured global rights to video-on-demand content produced by the China Daily website, the online arm of its namesake newspaper. To be produced in English, the content will be made available on SPB TV's over-the-top platform as well as on the Belt and Road app, China Daily reported Sept. 27.

Service launches

* Telekom Austria Group's Belarusian unit Velcom will be providing a mobile over-the-top service through TV sets and set-top boxes supporting Android TV, Telecompaper reported Sept. 27. The service will be operating under the Voka TV brand and will offer 60 channels and online cinema services. Telekom Austria Group is a unit of América Móvil SAB de CV.

* Polish direct-to-home platform nc+ is launching a 4K-ready set-top box in the first half of November, Broadband TV News reported Sept. 25. The 4K Ready - UltraBOX+ device will enable nc+ subscribers to watch sports events in 4K quality, as well as access video on demand and the nc+ GO TV service.

* Bosnian telecom operator m:tel rolled out its m:TV net service, Telecompaper reported Sept. 17. The offering, which provides access to several channels, a subscription video-on-demand service and other online videos, is available to users with a permanent internet connection of more than 4 Mbps as well as a modem or router with a free local access network port.

More news

* The Hungarian government is considering whether to charge Netflix for its operations in the country, Broadband TV News reported Oct. 10. Ferenc Kery, president of the Hungarian Cable Communication Association, said the government could set aside funding from such a charge for infrastructure development projects in the country.

* Nc+ has blocked more than 1,500 illegal clips or streams of the UEFA Champions League games in the first eight months of 2017, Broadband TV News reported Oct. 5, citing Wirtualne Media.

* Vodafone România is planning to step up its focus on video services, Broadband TV News reported Sept. 26, citing Business Review. CEO Murielle Lorilloux said the Vodafone Group Plc unit may also roll out its own TV service that will offer on-demand content.

* Russian media and telecom regulator Roskomnadzor permanently blocked 234 digital piracy websites, Advanced Television reported Sept. 20, citing the watchdog's head, Alexander Zharov. The Moscow City Court has originally blocked about 3,700 websites with pirated content, but has unblocked about 2,500 of them after deleting the said content.

* Nc+ is airing all games from the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League for the 2017-2018 season, Telecompaper reported Sept. 13. Viewers will be able to watch the games on the Canal+ and nSport+ channels, as well as on the nc+ GO platform and canalplussport.pl. Meanwhile, nc+ sublicensed rights to one of every Wednesday games and the finals of the UEFA Champions League to Telewizja Polska SA.