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Sony Pictures shakes up international team; SoftBank taps Nomura for telecom IPO

TOP NEWS

* Sony Pictures Television Inc. revealed several changes within the senior management of its international production division, including the appointment of Brendan Fitzgerald in the new role of senior vice president of international co-productions, Deadline reports. The Sony Corp. unit also promoted Richard Parsons to executive vice president of international operations, while Cheryl Lynch was elevated to executive vice president of international business affairs. Meanwhile, Angélica Guerra, senior vice president and managing director of international production for Latin America and U.S. Hispanic, will join the senior management team of Sony Pictures Television International Production.

* SoftBank Group Corp. is being advised by Nomura Holdings Inc. for an IPO of its Japanese telco unit SoftBank Corp. that could raise more than ¥2 trillion, Bloomberg News reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

* Reliance Industries Ltd. agreed to buy a 5% equity stake in Eros International Plc through a subsidiary for $15 per share, representing an 18% premium to last closing price. Also, Reliance and Eros International Media Ltd. will equally invest up to about $150 million to produce and buy Indian films and digital originals across all languages, the companies said Feb. 20. Jyoti Deshpande, group CEO and managing director of Eros, will be stepping down from her executive role after more than 17 years in Eros to head the media and entertainment business at Reliance Industries as president of the chairman's office.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Turner Broadcasting System Inc.'s Asia-Pacific operations expanded its finance team by appointing David Liu as senior finance director and Joseph Tan as finance director for its Southeast Asia business, Advanced Television reports. Prior to joining Turner, Liu was the head of finance for NBA Asia and India, while Tan was finance director of Publicis Communications Singapore.

JAPAN

* Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told Kyodo News that the company intends to launch its ride-hailing services across Japan around 2020 by partnering with local taxi companies. Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co. Ltd., a Japanese taxi service company, said discussions with Uber are underway but there are no definite agreements yet.

* NTT Docomo Ventures Inc., the venture capital arm of NTT DOCOMO, announced an unspecified investment in Otonomo Technologies, an Israeli startup that provides a marketplace for connected car data. NTT plans to leverage Otonomo's technologies in developing connected car platform business and vehicle data services. NTT DoCoMo is the mobile arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will slash the production of organic light-emitting diode panels in response to customer Apple Inc.'s decision to reduce iPhone X output amid weak demand, The Nikkei reports.

* In other Samsung Electronics news, the South Korean company has started mass producing the PM1643, a 30.72 terabyte solid state drive. Samsung began manufacturing the 2.5-inch storage device in January and plans to expand the lineup later this year with smaller versions.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. is considering partnering with Nokia Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. to deploy the 5G-Passive Optical Network solution, a technology expected to reduce lead time to build 5G networks by about 20%, Digital Times reports.

* KT Corp. is forming a 5 billion South Korean won virtual reality fund. According to ZDNet Korea, the telco also plans to launch a head mounted display that supports VR media services.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Chinese news app Toutiao purchased augmented reality-based selfie app Faceu for US$300 million, according to China Money Network.

* BBC Worldwide Ltd. said that it signed a deal with Migu Video, China Mobile's video platform, which will see more than 2,200 hours of BBC content available to China Mobile subscribers.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s mini game "Tiao yi Tiao" introduced a new feature that will allow up to 10 players, Sina reports.

* Hong Kong telecom operator HKT launched a new app for clients to link up mobile phones with their fixed-line phones at home. The app enables land-line phones to block junk calls, answer the home phone through their handsets and call local numbers from overseas without charges.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* BBC workplace sitcom "The Office" and drama "The Night Of" are to be remade in India after BBC Worldwide struck format deals with Aditya Birla Group's Applause Entertainment, Variety reports.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video will globally premiere "The Remix," its first unscripted original series from India, on March 9, Rapid TV News reports.

* Ericsson will move to a 100,000-square-foot, two-story office in India, from its current six-floor headquarters, The Economic Times reports. The company denied reports that it is reducing its staff as part of a global restructuring.

* NTT Com India-Netmagic is partnering with Nokia's Nuage Networks to enhance its Network as a Service portfolio based on Software-Defined Wide Area Network solution.

* Adobe Systems Inc. will set up an artificial intelligence lab in Hyderabad, India, according to The Hindu.

* Pakistan added about 1.2 million mobile subscribers in December 2017, ending the year with 144.5 million mobile users, according to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* The Philippines' Department of Information and Communications Technology released a draft circular for selecting the country's third telecoms operator. Some of the terms include requiring the new player to have a congressional franchise, or in the case of a consortium, Filipinos must hold at least 60% interest in the group with at least one of the members holding such a franchise. The company must also have a net worth of at least 10 billion pesos, or have the capacity to raise equity from consortium members to the value.

* The Singapore government will impose "Netflix tax" on consumers of imported digital media services, such as Netflix Inc. and Spotify AB, in 2020, Business Times reports.

* The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics issued a reminder for prepaid SIM card customers to register their cards by Feb. 28. Customers who do not register their cards by Feb. 28 will have their telco services gradually blocked, with access to be totally blocked on April 28.

* Thailand telco Advanced Info Service Public Co. Ltd. signed a new content partnership with Turner Asia-Pacific, giving it rights to broadcast CNN and Cartoon Network on AIS PLAY and AIS PLAYBOX, Beartai reports.

* Thailand's cabinet approved a 5.5 billion baht investment in 19 digital infrastructure projects set to go ahead this year, including high-speed internet connectivity at schools and hospitals, Prachachat reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia's Minister for Regional Communications Bridget McKenzie said 13 new mobile base stations went live in January, providing mobile coverage to regional communities across Australia. The new base stations were deployed across Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania.

* Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd said it is offering 30 days' free access to the National Geographic App for mobile customers.

FEATURED NEWS

Fox News Channel targets 'superfans' with OTT streaming service: Set to bow in the fourth quarter, Fox Nation will be sold directly to consumers, but Fox News Channel will work with traditional distributors in marketing the add-on product.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of TV & Film: Action films have the highest average box office gross in 2017: Movie theaters continue to be populated primarily by big-budget franchise pictures, or films looking to launch a franchise. The films that performed best on an average box office basis were action, sci-fi/fantasy and animated films.

Broadcast Investor: Cumulus Media plans to emerge from bankruptcy in April: Cumulus Media appears closer to emerging from Chapter 11, having received court approval to progress with a revised reorganization plan.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Patrick Tibke 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.