* Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai has struck a preliminary deal to buy a 54% majority stake in Imagina Media Audiovisual S.L. for US$1 billion, Jaume Roures, founder and chairman of the Spanish sports media rights group, told Reuters. The deal, which values the Mediapro parent at €1.6 billion, would require the Chinese government's approval, given the crack down on overseas media and sports investments in recent months, he said.
* Tata Teleservices' board approved a proposal to raise as much as 200 billion Indian rupees through the issuance of preference shares, non-convertible debentures or inter-corporate loans. The regulatory filing did not state the purpose of the fundraising, but the move comes close to the recent announcement that Bharti Airtel Ltd. is acquiring Tata Teleservices. Manoj Sinha, India's telecom minister, said the merger will be good for the country's telecom sector, which is reeling under a debt of 5 trillion rupees, according to The Economic Times (India).
* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat has started censoring its users in time for China's National Party Congress, preventing users from changing their nicknames, profile photos and taglines until the end of October, TechCrunch Asia reports, citing WeChat expert and ChinaChannel blogger Matthew Brennan.
* Chinese microlender Qudian Inc., which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate Ant Financial Services Group, raised US$900 million after pricing its U.S. IPO at $24 per American depositary share, Reuters reports. The microlender sold 35.63 million new shares, while shareholders including Kunlun Group and board directors Li Du and Yi Cao sold 1.88 million existing shares.
* The Busan International Film Festival Asian Film Market attracted 1,583 participants from 45 countries and facilitated 645 business meetings, Yonhap News Agency reports. Under the deals made at the event that ended Oct. 17, action film "The Outlaws" will be exported to Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, while upcoming fantasy drama film "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" will be distributed to 12 countries.
* Fox Networks Group Asia partnered with U.K. media services provider Arqiva Ltd. to provide a 4K content stream of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship, the first streamed 4K content offering of FNG Asia, in the region.
* Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon International Ltd. acquired rights to South Korean studio Dream Factory Co. Ltd.'s "Zelly Go," a non-dialog slapstick series from Spain's Imira Entertainment, covering 150 territories, including Southeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand.
* Viacom is launching a new Nickelodeon linear channel in Japan through local over-the-top and mobile platforms in the country. The new channel will roll out in the first quarter of 2018 on NTT DOCOMO's dTV-Channel.
* NTT DOCOMO, a mobile unit of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., is partnering with leasing giant ORIX Auto Corp. to release a smartphone app for car-sharing by the end of this year.
* Yahoo Japan Corp. will launch a free live streaming service, Yahoo Shopping Live, for online shopping companies which allows vendors to explain and promote their products via its exclusive app, The Nikkei reports.
* Naver Corp. has joined hands with YG Entertainment Inc. to build a global music service platform, Yonhap News Agency reports. YG's affiliate YG Plus and Naver will expand their music database to include various genres, including K-pop, and provide streaming services through Naver Music.
* Naver signed a partnership with Kakao Corp. to jointly promote Kakao's mobile games based on Naver's webtoons including "Lookisim for Kakao" and "Noblesse for Kakao" through Kakao's mobile messenger Kakao Talk, The Korean Economic Daily reports.
* Free over-the-top TV service Pluto TV secured US$8.3 million from investors during a funding round led by the venture capital arm of Samsung Group. Pluto TV received US$5 million from Samsung Venture Investment Corp. in the funding round, according to an Oct. 17 news release.
CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
* JD.Com Inc. is launching a retail marketing initiative with Tencent that will see the Chinese companies share data in order to more accurately target consumers. The e-commerce giant will combine its online and offline shopping data with user information from Tencent's social media platforms, which include the messaging app WeChat, to create a shopping database to offer brands insight into consumer behavior in China and allow them to fine-tune marketing efforts.
* John Zeng, president of Wanda Film Holding Co. Ltd., was appointed interim CEO after Jack Gao quit Legendary as its CEO, The Wall Street Journal (China) reports.
* Baidu Inc. will launch its first batch of self-driving cars as soon as 2018, The Paper reports. The car is set to be a last-mile solution, according to Baidu and its partner, Xiamen-based vehicle manufacturer King Long.
* Shanghai Media Group Pictures, Holy Mountain Films and Australia's AMPCO Studios, along with other producers and broadcasters from France and Germany, are jointly producing an international drama series called "Farewell Shanghai." An extended Chinese version will be made for the Chinese market.
* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has launched two new mid-tier smartphones, Nova 2i and Honor 9i, targeted at Malaysia and India.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. entered into a first output pay-TV features deal with Sony Pictures Television Inc., Indian Television reports. Zee will gain first access to Sony Pictures' blockbusters and upcoming releases in India.
* Sunil Buch, ZEEL's chief executive of Zee Live and Zee Talent and head of corporate brand and communications, has resigned from the company, Indian Television reports.
* STAR India Pvt. Ltd.'s video streaming platform Hotstar will exclusively live-stream this season of the Paytm Ranji Trophy cricket tournament, starting from the qualifier matches, Indian Television reports.
* India Today Group Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie has appointed his daughter, Kalli Purie, who currently serves as the company's group editorial director for broadcast and new media, to be the vice chairperson of the group. The group CFO and the new group CEO, upon appointment, along with all the heads, will report to Kalli Purie, Television Post reports.
* Shellhut and Tiny Island Pictures, a joint venture between Singapore's Tiny Island Productions and Thailand's Shellhut Entertainment, is set to sign an agreement with Shanghai Media Group unit WingsMedia to produce 10 feature films worth about US$250 million, The Straits Times reports.
* Indonesian telco PT Mitra Komunikasi Nusantara Tbk plans to raise 1.2 trillion rupiah for its subsidiaries, Indo Telko reports.
* SES Networks, a satellite operator, entered into an agreement with CompuDyne, a Malaysian telco solution company, to provide mobile broadband service in Malaysia, according to an SES press release. CompuDyne will lease SES' satellite capacity for DiGi.Com Bhd., a Malaysian telco.
* ZTE (Thailand) Co. Ltd. entered into a strategic partnership with Siam Commercial Bank Public Co. Ltd. (SCB) over funding for the ZTE Corp. unit's telecom projects in Thailand, RYT9 reports.
* Indonesian telco PT XL Axiata Tbk introduced the virtual assistant Maya for its digital services, Gatra News reports. XL's customers can interact with the chatbot through Twitter, email, and live chat on XL's website.
* An anonymous source said that they asked Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to investigate LINE Corp.'s LINE Mobile because its overseas cloud service collects customers' registration information, including their Thai national ID cards, RYT9 reports.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ will be co-producing an international crime comedy called "Straight Forward" with Sweden-based Modern Times Group's MTG Studios. The eight-part series will premiere exclusively on Viaplay. France-based Banijay Group's production companies, Screentime New Zealand and Mastiff A/S in Denmark will be working together to produce the series.
* SKY Network Television Ltd. joined a global drama-commissioning consortium, Atrium TV, comprising top telcos and OTT platforms such as Viaplay, Deutsche Telekom AG, Telefónica SA's Movistar+ and France's Orange SA.
CAPITAL Letters: Telecom, media, tech entrepreneurs a big part of America's wealthy list: Telecom, media and tech billionaires account for almost one-third of an estimated $2.7 trillion of aggregate wealth and 17% of the total 400 wealthiest Americans, according to an analysis of Forbes' annual ranking of the richest Americans.
Charter CEO says lack of OTT security 'impacting video in a dramatic way': Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said at the Cable-Tec Expo 2017 that he believes programmers are playing a larger role in enabling the cord-cutting trend than most people realize.
Q&A: Accenture exec: Cable and wireless converging on the connected home: With Alphabet and Amazon already chasing the smart-home customer with their intelligent personal assistant services, Raghu Puri, managing director at Accenture, believes cable and wireless operators must step up to compete for the connected home.
Economics of Networks: VSP, OTT competitors weigh heavily on cable network industry economics: The cable network industry remains under pressure from new competitors selling skinny bundles.
Nozomi Ibayashi, Nicole Shiwon Kim, Frances Wang, Wil Hathaway and Kevin Osmond contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription.