* Microsoft Corp.'s venture capital arm M12, formerly called Microsoft Ventures, is set to buy a stake in U.K. kid-technology startup SuperAwesome, Sky News reports. The deal is reportedly expected to be confirmed in January 2020.
* U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned the U.K. about allowing Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. into the country's 5G telecommunications networks, London's Financial Times reports. O'Brien said such a move would be a security threat to British secret intelligence services, MI5 and MI6.
* Russia tested its own independent internet, which could serve as an alternative to the global internet in the country, BBC News reports, citing the Russian government. The Russian Ministry of Communications said ordinary users did not observe any changes amid the test, with the results to be presented to President Vladimir Putin.
* Australia's Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. is axing European sports network Eurosport from its channel lineup due to declining viewership, according to TV BlackBox. Eurosport will stop being available to Foxtel subscribers from Jan. 31, 2020. The changes come after Foxtel renegotiated its content supply agreement with Eurosport owner Discovery Inc.
UK AND IRELAND
* Disney removed more than half of its TV box sets from Sky Ltd.'s streaming service, ahead of the expected launch of its streaming service Disney+ in the U.K. by end-March 2020, London's The Guardian reports.
* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd.-owned video app TikTok is considering setting up a new global headquarters in either Ireland, London or Singapore, Dublin's Irish Independent reports, citing sources mentioned by Bloomberg News.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Bayerischer Rundfunk Director Ulrich Wilhelm said Europe has "lost its digital sovereignty," he told the German public broadcaster. Wilhelm noted that social media platforms such as Facebook Inc. and Google LLC's YouTube are not a viable alternative to reaching more audiences.
* Altice France SA's SFR deployed 4G+ services in 588 communities, 4G services in 10 others, and 324,745 fixed high-speed broadband connections in 263 municipalities within November.
* The wording of a court ruling against France Télécom, now Orange, in a moral harassment case exposes the group to a potential €2 billion in claims, Les Échos reports. All of 130,000 employees working in France between 2007 and 2008 have a right to claim without having to prove prejudice, with compensation ranging from €10,000 to €45,000 each.
* Yubo founder Sacha Lazimi said the French live video platform expects to reach 250 million users worldwide by 2022, Les Échos reports. This target is equivalent to 10 times its current subscriber base.
* The BFM Business channel returned to the Freebox, in addition to Altice Group's replay services, Univers Freebox reports. Iliad SA's Free stopped airing Altice's free-to-air channels in April amid a carriage fee dispute.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Dutch streaming service NLziet increased the image quality on its NPO Extra channels to 720p HD, Telecompaper reports. The enhancement applied to the NPO 1 Extra, NPO 2 Extra and NPO Zappelin Extra channels.
* The Dutch government published the Decree on Security and Integrity of Telecommunications, which outlines the possible exclusion of suppliers from local networks based on evidence or suspicion that the company wants to undermine networks, Telecompaper reports. The government is also reportedly working on another measure that would require foreign takeovers in the telecom and ICT sector to be evaluated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
* Telia Co. AB is not pleased with further delays to the 5G auction in Sweden, which was originally planned for March 2018, Dagens Industri reports.
* Spotify AB may face regulatory penalties in Indonesia if it is found guilty of not paying local taxes, Kompas reports. Johnny Plate, minister of communication and information technology, said the government is currently drafting a law to tax over-the-top companies and is expected to complete the legislation in the first quarter of 2020.
* Indian state-owned telecom operator BSNL made partial payments to clear its outstanding dues to gear suppliers such as Nokia Corp. and Ericsson, The Economic Times reports, citing an industry source.
* The Norwegian Media Appeals Board ordered the Norwegian Film Institute to pay 9.5 million Norwegian kroner to Norwegian HBO series "Beforeigners," Dagens Næringsliv reports. The institute first gave production company Rubicon TV support of 9.5 million kroner, but later withdrew the support after learning that Rubicon had transferred rights to the series to HBO Nordic before it was finished. The appeals board found that the withdrawal was unjustified.
* Trannel International Ltd. lost its lawsuit against the Norwegian government, Dagens Næringsliv reports. The global gaming company sued the state over the legality of various measures introduced by the Norwegian Gaming Authority to inform and enforce the prohibition on offering, and marketing lotteries and gambling that are not authorized in Norway.
* Portuguese publishing group Cofina SGPS SA will pay a lower amount for its acquisition of a 94.69% stake in broadcaster Grupo Media Capital SGPS SA, Telecompaper reports, citing a statement. The revised deal will see the acquisition price at €123.29 million, based on an enterprise value of €205 million. The deal originally valued the whole of Media Capital at €255 million.
* Telefónica SA sold 2,029 towers in Ecuador and Colombia to Phoenix Tower International LLC for about €290 million. The sale is part of the Spanish company's strategy to crystallize the value of its infrastructure amid the recent creation of Telefónica Infra.
* The Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that a government order to ban online encyclopedia Wikipedia violated freedom of expression, Anadolu Agency reports. The country's communications ministry blocked Wikipedia access in April 2017 over articles and comments that allegedly linked Turkey to several terrorist groups.
* Discovery Italia Srl is launching the HGTV – Home & Garden TV channel on Feb. 2, 2020, Broadband TV News reports, citing a statement. The channel will be available free-to-air on Italy's digital terrestrial TV network, replacing Motor Trend.
* Polish mobile operator P4 Sp zoo, doing business as Play, is launching 5G services in the tri-city area of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot on Jan. 7, 2020, Telecompaper reports, citing Telepolis.pl.
* Mobile operator Bite Latvia targets to deploy a 5G base station on Kipsala island in Riga, Latvia, at the start of 2020, Telecompaper reports, citing CEO Kaspars Buls' statement to Db.lv.
* Kazakh company DSFK acquired a majority stake in Russian operator Almatel, Telecompaper reports, citing Comnews.ru. DSFK is controlled by businessman Vladimir Kim, who also owns 80% of AlmaTel Kazakhstan.
* Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are opposing a Russian law that requires preinstalling Russian software on smartphones to be sold in the country, Telecompaper reports, citing Vedomosti. Representatives of the three countries claim the law violates several regulations, including a Eurasian Economic Union agreement on the sales of services.
Data Dispatch: 'Star Wars' set to dominate Christmas box office: The Walt Disney Co. is set to maintain a firm grip on the box office during the five-day Christmas frame, as "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" enters its second weekend.
Global Multichannel: Future of TV Advertising Global conference: Linear vs. OTT, addressable ads: The value of content and the importance of collaboration on addressable TV advertising were focal points of discussion at The Future of TV Advertising Global event held Dec. 10-11 in London.
Economics of TV & Film: Premium networks original emphasis imperative to OTT: Original production has boomed thanks to increased focus from networks and streamers, but premium networks seem to have more patience than most.
Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Marieke Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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