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FCC approves Altice-Cablevision deal; EU to say no on Three-O2 deal

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


FCC approves Altice-Cablevision deal; EU to say no on Three-O2 deal

TOP NEWS

*The FCC approvedNetherlands-based AlticeNV's proposed acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp. Granting the parties'applications serves the public interest, the FCC said in a . The Commission added thatthe deal is "unlikely to result in any significant public interestharms" and could provide benefits of increased broadband speeds and moreaffordable options for low income consumers. On April 20, the Executive BranchAgencies, comprising of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department ofHomeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense, told the FCC that theyhave no objection to the proposed merger. The transaction is still awaitingapproval from the state of New York and New York City, Reuters reports.

* EUcommissioners are expected to vote against CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s plannedpurchase of TelefónicaSA's British mobile unit O2, during their weekly meeting scheduledfor May 4, The Wall Street Journal reports,citing two people familiar with the matter. The decision is reportedly a formality,which will back EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager's firm opposition to theproposed deal. Hutchison earlier said it is prepared to challenge a regulatory veto on the deal.

PAN-EUROPEAN

*Amazon has launched Pan-European Fulfillment by Amazon, a new service that willenable third-party merchants to ship their products to any Amazon warehouse inEurope, The Seattle Times reports.Merchants will be charged with a fulfillment fee based on the country where theitem is sold, according to the report.

UK AND IRELAND

*Amazon.com Inc. isplanning to begin its Amazon Fresh service in the U.K. in May, The Guardian reports.The e-commerce giant is reportedly trialing fresh food deliveries out of itseast London hub, and will roll out deliveries in the coming weeks. The launchcomes after Amazon partnered with Morrisons to allow Amazon Prime Now andAmazon Pantry customers to access fresh and frozen products from the Britishsupermarket chain.

*Music streaming service Soundcloud launched a subscription-based version calledSoundcloud Go in the U.K. and Ireland, BBC News reports. Theservice reportedly costs £9.99 per month, and has a download function foroffline listening. Users in both countries will still be able to access thesubscription-free Soundcloud version, inclusive of advertisements, according tothe report. Soundcloud Go will later be expanded to other European territories.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA

*German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE announced a revenue growth of22%, to €802 million for the first quarter of 2016, reportsReuters. Operating profits grew 12% to €170 million, largely driven by itsdigital business. Subsidiary travel booking sites such as weg.de and Verivoxproved particularly successful. Ad-sponsored online videos were lessprofitable, according to the report.

*Servus TV, the TV channel founded by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz andheadquartered in Salzburg, has announced it is to close, accordingto Handelsblatt. The companyannounced it was no longer profitable. The market and advertising situation hasreportedly not signaled a positive trend, the company said in a press release. Theclosing will affect 260 members of staff losing their jobs.

*Vodafone GroupPlc's's Vodafone Deutschland earlier cut EU roaming charges for Redtariffs for private and business customers in April. Now, the company has donethe same for CallYa smartphone customers using prepaid tariffs, reportsGerman newspaper Telecom Handel.CallYa customers can now use their included units within the EU free of charge.That includes calls, messages  and onlinefeatures.

FRANCE

*France Télévisions will launch a video-on-demand service to subscribers, reportsLes Echos. The French public nationalTV broadcaster said the service will be available from March 2017. Subscriberswill be able to access series, documentaries, children's programming and films.The broadcaster reportedly hopes that the premium offering will enable FranceTélévisions to develop and diversify its sources of income. The broadcaster isalso advocating relaxing the ban on public channel broadcast advertising in theevenings; advertising revenue it says could amount to a potential €100 millionthat could be put into production development.

*French media mogul Vincent Bolloré may be trying to sell itélé, according to reportsin Mediapart andUnivers Freebox. The 24-hour, free-to-air news channel owned by could be purchasedby SFR and BFM TVowner Patrick Drahi, although this would likely be blocked by France'scompetition authority. Other possible buyers could include French press groupGroupe Le Monde or media fund investors Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse andPierre Bergé. Neither Canal+ or Vivendi SA have confirmed the reports. itélé reportedlylost €16 million in 2014, €20 million in 2015 and €24 million in losses areexpected in 2016.

*Iliad SA's FreeboxTV's basic package has been improved, according to a statement. TheFrench telecom now offers new replay services and access to eight new TVchannels, with new VOD available in full HD. The company's replay catch-up TVservice now covers 70 channels and includes Teva and Paris Première. Freeoffers over 500 television channels, including more than 230 in the basicpackage and more than 170 accessible in HD. Its new eight TV channels are OKLMTV, Toonami, Aerostar TV, Echorouk TV, Numidia TV, Kentron TV, Telim andMaTélé. Its latest VOD offerings includes "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

*Orange SA has issueda nine-year fixed rate, €750-million bond, according to a statement.On the back of "very strong demand," the French telecom priced theissuance with a coupon of 1.00%. BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB, Goldman SachsInternational and ING acted as book runners. No public offer of thesesecurities will be made elsewhere. The bonds will not be distributed in the U.S.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM ANDLUXEMBOURG

*The Dutch company Talpa Media Holding has fully acquired radio station Radio 10from RadioCorp, reportsBroadcast Magazine. Talpa already owns popular station Radio 538. Theacquisition is in line with plans of Talpa and TMG, comprising Sky Radio andRadio Veronica, to merge their radio activities and start a joint radiocompany. Two other stations of RadioCorp, 100% NL and Slam!, will be sold toAustrian Karl Habsburg, one of the owners of RadioCorp.

*Finnish media group SanomaCorp. has increased its profits in the Netherlands and Belgiumduring the first quarter of 2016, reportsDe Telegraaf. Particularly titleslike Libelle, vtwonen and Lindaperformed well. The TV channels of SBS attracted relatively more viewers andadvertising incomes increased. The operating profit was €7.4 million, 28%higher than a year earlier.

*Telfort Netherlands has implemented several changes to its roaming bundles, reportsTelecompaper. The internet bundle for the EU now offers 125 MB per month(previously this was 100 MB) for €5. The prepaid internet day bundle for the EUnow has 50 MB (previously 15 MB) for €2.50. Provider AH Mobile has doubled itsroaming bundles.

*The Dutch Ministry of Defence is working on a testing facility and trainingcenter where cyber attacks can be simulated, reportswebsite Tweakers. The test facility will be developed in Soesterberg by defensecompany Thales. The Ministry of Defence and Thales signed a contract for threeyears.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

*Norway's largest commercial television channel TV2 is planning to cut costs by350 million Norwegian kroner, business daily Dagens Næringsliv reports.This means that the channel will have to cut the number of employees, but TV2has not said how many. In 2009, TV2 went through cost-trimming measures of 150million kroner.

*The Norwegian government has decided to invite to tender for commercial publicbroadcasting on May 4, media news site Kampanje reports.The present agreement between TV2 and the government expires on Dec. 31. Thenew agreement will expire on Dec. 31, 2019, and will include demands for newsproduction and headquarters in Norway's second-largest city, Bergen. State aidis not included in the agreement.

*The Swedish public prosecutor has decided to end an investigation of possiblecorruption by Swedish telecom group Telia Co. AB in Azerbaijan, business daily Dagens Industri reports.The prosecutor did not find any proof that illegal bribery had occurred. Lastyear, Sweden's public broadcaster SVT revealed that Telia gave a portion of itssubsidiary Azercell to a partner linked to the presidential family inAzerbaijan. The transaction had a value of approximately 6 billion Swedishkronor. Telia is still being investigated for possible corruption in Uzbekistan.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Portuguese media group MediaCapital has renewed its carriage agreement with 's pay TV platform MEO,after months of delay, Telecompaper reports.The deal will allow MEO to broadcast national channel TVI, as well as thematicchannels TVI24 and TVI Ficcao.

*The Italian government is proposing to move the deadline for transferring useof the 700 MHz band to mobile internet services to 2022, Advanced Television reports.The frequencies must reportedly be vacated in conjunction with the adoption ofthe new digital terrestrial television standard, which is the DVB-T2 with HVECcodification, in order to minimize costs. The European Commission wants TVchannels in member states to abandon the 694-790 MHz frequencies by 2020.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Ukrainian operatorIntertelecom partnered with online cinema Megogo for a new over-the-topplatform called Intertelecom TV, Telecompaper reports,citing ITnews.com.ua. There are reportedly three subscription packages, rangingfrom 37 Ukrainian hryvnias to 147 hryvnias a month.

*Moldovan public broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova debuted its second TV channelMoldova 2, Broadband TV News reports.The new 24-hour channel covers key sporting events, among others.

FEATURED NEWS

: Just as theater companies have learned tocompete with digital streaming video, now they must compete with, or embrace,the next biggest challenge: VR.

: Multiplatform news andinformation purveyor BuzzFeed emphasized its growing Tasty network, as well asprojects from its "multi-hyphenate" talent base, during its newfrontpresentation to media buyers.

: SNL Kagan provides a wrap-upof European media and communications deal announcements, completions andupdates from April 25 to April 29.

: "The Punisher"is getting its own spinoff series on Netflix, while Hulu has given astraight-to-series order to MGM Television drama "The Handmaid's Tale."

FEATURED RESEARCH

: As usual, the U.S. mobile videomarket has changed significantly since our last annual overview. SNL Kaganexamines this dynamic sector in our exclusive new report.       

: CBS led domestic broadcastnetworks in 24-hour and prime-time C3 household ratings in March, according toNielsen. However, the network's 24-hour rating was down 5.5% year over year,and its prime-time rating slipped 10.1%.

: Outdoor and out-of-homerevenue for OUTFRONT Media, Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel OutdoorHoldings averaged a year-over-year decline of 0.3% during the fourth quarterand a 1.2% decrease for full year 2015.

: The summer box office season ispoised to kick off in a big way on May 6, when "Captain America: CivilWar" takes over theaters across the country.

: The number ofnon-Nielsen-rated networks posting declines in year-over-year ratings was downcompared to previous months due in part to a better performance from the sportsgenre, according to data from comScore's TV Essentials.

RECENT EARNINGS

: Super Bowl 50 revenues drove the growth.Executives expect the momentum to continue with political advertising revenuespending in the latter half of the year and strong advertising demand.

: The company realized a $1.3 billion reductionin cost of services and selling, general and administrative expenses in fiscalyear 2015. Looking forward, Sprint expects a sustainable reduction of $2billion or more of run rate operating expenses exiting fiscal year 2016.

Amanda Kelly, Anne Freier,Kees Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dosehas an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links mayrequire a subscription.