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Vodafone España to lay off 1,200 staff; Canal Plus denies CanalPlay relaunch

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19

Cable networks react to pandemic by cutting SG&A, programming costs

Strong Competition Remains For Thailand Digital Terrestrial TV Channel

ITU: Regulators discuss impacts of COVID-19 on policymaking


Vodafone España to lay off 1,200 staff; Canal Plus denies CanalPlay relaunch

TOP NEWS

* Vodafone España SAU plans to lay off about 1,200 of its 5,000 employees due to market conditions, Advanced Television reports, citing a company announcement. The Vodafone Group PLC unit's planned staff cut is anticipated to take effect in February and March.

* Canal Plus Group SA has dismissed Les Echos' recent report that it will relaunch subscription video-on-demand platform CanalPlay, Advanced Television reports, citing a tweet from the Vivendi SA unit's Chairman and CEO Maxime Saada. The executive said the company is looking into a different SVOD service.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* An adviser at the Court of Justice of the European Union said Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC and other online search engines should limit the geographical scope of the "right to be forgotten" privacy rule to internet searches made within the European Union.

UK AND IRELAND

* Facebook Inc. has teamed up with U.K. fact-checking service Full Fact to help review reported content by the social network's users, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Full Fact will prioritize fake medical news and fake information related to terror attacks and elections.

* Simplestream Ltd. has added features such as download for offline viewing and Chromecast integration in its VOD in a Box technology. The add-ons have been included at no additional cost.

* Investcorp Bank BSC affiliate Investcorp Technology Partners has acquired the SmartSpace business unit of Ubisense Group PLC, a Cambridge, U.K.-based provider of enterprise location intelligence solutions, for up to £35 million.

* U.K.-headquartered KCOM Group PLC appointed Anna Bielby permanent CFO. Bielby has been interim CFO since July 1, 2018.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Austria plans to impose a 3% tax on advertising revenues of internet companies, such as Amazon.com Inc., Google, Facebook and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Reuters reports. The tax will cover companies with global annual sales of about €750 million and annual sales in Austria of about €10 million, the report said, citing the Finance Ministry.

* Perform Group Ltd.'s DAZN eyes to bid for rights to live stream Bundesliga soccer for the 2021-2025 seasons, Digital TV Europe reports. DAZN currently has rights to air UEFA Champions League games and Bundesliga highlights.

* German film production company MMC Studios Köln GmbH has launched a new studio, The Suite, in partnership with post-production company WeFadeToGrey, reports DWDL.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has narrowly averted a sales ban in Germany, reports Handelsblatt. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institutzentrum, Mitsubishi Corp. and Panasonic Corp. had obtained a ban on the sale of smartphones, tablets and notebooks at the district court in Dusseldorf.

FRANCE

* Xilam Group and Groupe M6 are in the final stage of acquiring Lagardère SCA's television division, which includes children's channel Gulli as well as Canal J, TiJi, MCM, and other channels, Les Échos reports. Music channel Mezzo is to be sold separately. Sources set the price at around €200 million, with a decision expected by the end of the January.

* The PC version of Ubisoft Entertainment SA's next game, "The Division 2," will only be released on the Epic Games Store and on the publisher's store Uplay, Le Figaro reports. Epic offers more attractive revenue sharing than market leader Steam.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Belgian operator Proximus has officially announced its transformation plan, saying it will be evolving "from a telecommunications company towards a provider of digital services" to hit the target of an additional gross saving of €240 million by 2022. The provider has confirmed that it will cut the number of employees by about 1,900 in the next three years, as well as recruiting 1,250 people, of which 750 concern additional recruitments for the further expansion of its ICT activities in the various affiliates.

* Dutch provider KPN NV has announced plans to discontinue all of its subsidiaries such as XS4ALL Internet BV, Telfort BV and Yes Telecom Netherlands BV and to merge them with main brand KPN in the long term, reports Telegraaf.

* Martin Holwerda, former director of Aareon Nederland BV, has been appointed as new general director of software company U/ME, succeeding Erik Dokter, reports Computable. U/ME is the company behind the software products Embrace, Umbrella and Qvision, with offices in Groningen, Sneek, and Utrecht and in Germany and Bulgaria.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Ericsson said it booked 6.1 billion Swedish kronor in provisions in the fourth quarter of 2018 as it aims to speed up the restructuring of its business support system business. The planned measures, together with necessary contract loss provisions, will negatively impact the the information and communications technology company's operating income, specifically gross margin, in the quarter.

* Nordic Entertainment Group AB's Norwegian unit and London-based distribution company DRG have teamed up to co-commission nonscripted content, Rapid TV News reports. The shows are intended to be aired on NENT Norway channels TV3, as well as on Viasat Norway channels Viasat4 and TV6.

* A Gothenburg-based LoRa IoT network has been transferred to Nordic IoT Networks. TalkPool AB built the LoRa IoT network in partnership with Tele2 AB in 2017. Nordic IoT Networks was established by an investor group headed by Talkpool.

* Dtac TriNet Co. Ltd., Telenor ASAs subsidiary in Thailand, has settled a legal dispute with CAT Telecom. Dtac will pay Cat Telecom 2.5 billion Norwegian kroner. The settlement relates to network licence disagreements between the two companies.

* Danish political party Socialistisk Folkeparti wants Huawei excluded from all future 5G-related contracts, writes Computerworld.dk. The SF has asked the Ministry of Defence to block use of Huawei equipment in Danish 5G networks on grounds of national security.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Euskaltel SA plans to grow its subscriber base to about 1 million across various regions in Spain, Digital TV Europe reports. The Spanish cable operator eyes to use its Euskaltel brand and unit R Cable y Telecomunicaciones Galicia SA to fulfill its goal.

* Atresmedia. and Mediaset SpA unit Mediaset España Comunicación SA may face antitrust fines of up to €100 million, Broadband TV News reports, citing El Economista. The Spanish broadcasters may be required to pay upto 10% of their 2018 sales, according to regulator Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The National State TV and Radio Co. will introduce its satellite channel Belarus 24 in HD, Telecompaper reports. The Belarusian state-owned broadcaster has tapped the services of media services provider Globecast for the channel launch.

* The Russian Ministry of Communications has recommended to only use equipment of Russian origin to store users' voice and data traffic, which is part of the requirement in the country's Yarovaya Law, Telecompaper reports, citing Vedomosti. If the proposal is approved, the amendment will take effect six months after its publication.

FEATURED NEWS

European 5G roadmap slowed by market fragmentation, industry skepticism: As telecom operators in the U.S. and Asia charge ahead in rolling out 5G wireless networks in 2019, most of their European counterparts are lagging behind amid challenging market dynamics that make investing in costly network upgrades more difficult.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: OTT sports services target niches with an eye towards the future: There has been a proliferation of sports-focused over-the-top services in the U.S. in addition to sports programming by multichannel TV operators, online offerings from some leagues and programming deals with social media platforms.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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