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EC to fine Google for shopping service; Telecom Italia seeks majority stake in Metroweb JV

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


EC to fine Google for shopping service; Telecom Italia seeks majority stake in Metroweb JV

TOP NEWS

*Alphabet Inc. unitGoogle Inc. could behit with its first EU fine in 2016 over its comparison shopping service, Reutersreports,citing people familiar with the matter. Google is reportedly not planning tosettle the matter with the European Commission, following three failed attemptsto reach a deal with the latter since 2010. The company is also an EU probe over itsAndroid mobile operating system.

*Telecom Italia SpAChairman Giuseppe Recchi said the operator is aiming for a two-thirds majoritystake in a jointventure with fiber optic firm Metroweb SpA, Reuters reports.A controlling stake in Metroweb would reportedly boost Telecom Italia's fiberbroadband rollout across Italy, and help it compete with similar efforts bypower utility Enel SpA. Meanwhile, the Italian telco is close to naming StefanoDe Angelis as CEO of its Brazilian unit TIM Participações SA, Bloomberg News reports,citing three people familiar with the matter. De Angelis currently heads TIMParticipações' consumer business division.

UK AND IRELAND

* 's infrastructure unitOpenreach is in talks with rival CityFibre for a 50-kilometer joint fiber-opticrollout in the Essex town of Southend, The(London) Telegraph reports,citing industry sources. The move comes as British telecom watchdog Ofcom isincreasingly criticizing BT's chokehold on Openreach's network. Ofcom isproposing a newstructure for Openreach, which will grant the BT unit greater autonomy over itsdecisions, budget and operations.

*Incoming BBC Studios director Mark Linsey is set to unveil a new restructure ofthe British BroadcastingCorp. unit on May 5, Broadcastreports,citing sources. Changes will reportedly include more business unit managers inboard level roles, with creative duties being handed over to programming makingstaff. Mark Freeland reportedly disagreed with some aspects of therestructuring and left the public broadcaster after refusing the role of BBCStudios head of scripted comedy and drama.

*The U.K.'s Department for Culture, Media & Sport denied rumors that itplans to interfere with the BBC's content and program schedule, followingreports that it intends to remove popular shows like "Strictly ComeDancing" from peak viewing timeslots, TheGuardian (London) reports.The opposing Labor party is criticizing culture secretary John Whittingdale forallegedly interfering with the BBC ahead of the British government'spublication of a white paper on the broadcaster's future.  

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA

*The dispute between Germany's Rocket Internet and controlling stockholderKinnevik is directly affecting staff, reportsHandelsblatt. Rocket Internetannounced that Lorenzo Grabau and Erik Mitteregger would be leaving the boardfrom June 9. They will be replaced by Deutsche Bank financial boss StefanKrause and Orange SAmanager Pierre Louette. Rocket justified the move saying it wanted morenon-shareholder representatives on its supervisory board.

*German telecoms service provider Unitymedia confirmed that 500 jobs could be axed as partof an effort to restructure the company, accordingto DWDL. In February, the said it wasrestructuring in order to meet growing demands to become more agile, efficientand customer-centric.

*German video portal MyVideo removed all its video content, reportsDWDL. Founded in 2006, the companyfeatured user-generated content and added music videos as well as premiumcontent over the years. In 2015, the company reportedly decided to rely solelyon premium content from German commercial broadcaster . At present,the website features tips for games and TV shows, with users being diverted toMaxdome to view content, according to the report.

*News channel N24 launched its Austrian channel N24 Austria on May 1. Thechannel will be broadcasting Austrian and international news as well asoriginal Austrian productions, reportsDie Presse. The company will offeroriginal productions beginning fall 2016, and discussions with potentialpartners are ongoing, according to the report.

*Payment provider Wirecard and German online video service Maxdome will beoffering voucher cards in Germany, according to a press releaseposted on Finanzen.net. Customers of German drug store Rossmann can purchasevouchers and use Maxdome streaming services for two months. The service allows accessto over 50,000 movies, series and kids programs. Wirecard Group will beresponsible for the technical processing of the voucher cards.

FRANCE

*French mobile ad company Mobile Network reduced its losses in the second halfof 2015, reportsCercle Finance. The company announced a loss of €1.1 million in 2015 versus€0.5 million in 2014, but with an improvement between the first and second halfof 2015. In 2015, revenues increased 14% to €15.5 million. The company investedheavily in the development of proprietary technological tools called MNG-Ads tomaximize and improve recurring revenue. MNG-Ads are now used in more than 600mobile apps, according to the report.

*French digital advertising company HiMedia's shares have been suspended onEuronext Paris as of May 2, reportsCercle Finance. The halt in trading was made at the request of the company,which is expected to release further information in a press release. The newscomes after HiMedia and BJ Invest announcedthat they reached an agreement to resolve their disputes. Under the agreement,BJ Invest, the holding company of businessman Benjamin Jayet, would become thelargest shareholder of HiPay, the former subsidiary of HiMedia payment, with28% of capital.

*Orange continues to be the official partner of the 69th edition of the CannesFilm Festival, the company noted in a statement.As a part of the partnership Orange will offer customized communicationsolutions for the Festival, including a service which allows accredited mediaaccess to free Wi-Fi. In partnership with Vivendi SA unit Canal Plus SA, Orange will co-produce the Festival'sofficial TV channel, which will distribute news for free and in real time to aninternational audience via Dailymotion and YouTube.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM, ANDLUXEMBOURG

*The German media group AxelSpringer SE launched a website that focuses on Dutch privateinvestors, reportsFinancieele Dagblad. The websiteFinanzen.nl will compete with DFT, FD and IEX. Business news website Z24 takescare of content, marketing and advertising of Finanzen.nl.

*Dutch telco KPN NV isinvestingin the Amsterdam-based cybersecurity company EclecticIQ as part of a financinground of €5.5 million. The startup will use the funds to expand into newgeographic markets and sectors, according to KPN. EclecticIQ helps protectcompanies and organizations with critical infrastructure from cybersecuritythreats. KPN said improving online safety is a top priority, not only foritself but also for customers.

*The advertising revenues of Dutch radio stations declined 2.4% in the firstquarter compared to the same period in 2015. Net earnings were almost €46million, reportsANP via website Beursnieuws.nl. The number of brands that used radio as anadvertising medium increased to 1018 from 957. was the largest radio advertiser,followed by Renault, drugstore Kruidvat, Volkswagen and Opel.

*KPN has increased the tariffs for fixed telephony, reportsMedia Magazine. The monthly price for triple play subscription was raised by€2.50. Calling with a landline has become one euro cent more expensive andcosts 11 euro cents per minute. The price increase is necessary for continuedinvestment in quality and safety, KPN reportedly said.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

*Modern Times Group MTGAB will receive $123 million in cash from Russian media companyCTC Media Inc.,according to a press release.CTC Media is paying a consideration of $2.05 per share in a transaction. New Russianmedia laws set a limit of 20% foreign ownership in Russian media companies. MTGowns 38% of CTC Media, but after this transaction it will retain no interest inthe company or its operations.

*Swedish game studio Paradox Interactive is aiming for a valuation of 3.49billion Swedish kronor as it goes public, DI Digital reports.According to the prospectus, the shares are offered at 33 kronor per share.Paradox is not implementing a share issue in connection with the IPO, but thecurrent owners are offering their shares for sale. The biggest sellers areParadox CEO Fredrik Wester and investment company Spiltan, who are sellingshares for more than 400 million kronor in all. In total, shares worth 539million kronor are offered for sale.

*Canal Digital lost almost 20,000 customers after the row between and SBS Discovery,media news site Dagens Media reports.The two companies could not agree on the price level and packaging of theDiscovery CommunicationsInc. channels, and Canal Digital subscribers in the Nordic countrieslost access to the channels for 10 days. Canal Digital reportedly confirmedlosing 20,000 customers, but denied that it had anything to do with the disputebetween Telenor and Discovery.

*Telenor warned the Norwegian police and government of two new cases of possiblebreaches of rules and regulations, Norwegian tech news site Digi reports.The first case involves suspected economic crimes, but Telenor has notdisclosed in which unit or country the case occurred. The other case isconnected to lease agreements for base stations in Thailand, where Telenoroperates through its subsidiary DTAC. Telenor has strengthened its focus oncorruption and mismanagement after the revelations of corruption in

SOUTHERN EUROPE

*Turkcell's boardapproved an IPO for its wholly owned towers unit Kule Hizmet ve IsletmecilikAS, or Global Tower, Telecompaper reports.The Turkish operator said that it will amend Global Tower's articles ofassociation and initiate the regulatory procedures for the public sharesflotation.

*Telecom Italia said in a news releasethat about 1,100 Italian towns have been connected to its fiber broadbandnetwork. It added that its 4G services now cover 6,300 municipalities acrossthe country. The Italian telco is aiming to connect 84% of Italian homes to itsfiber network and ensure 98% 4G coverage in Italy by end-2018.

*Italy wants to delay the deadline on clearing the 700 MHz frequency band formobile Internet services to 2022, Advanced Television reports.The Italian government is reportedly backing the proposal, which was approvedin both houses of the Italian parliament. The European Commission proposed thatTV channels across the EU vacate the 694-790 MHz bands by 2020.

EASTERN EUROPE

*The National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine allowedtwo channels owned by Scripps Networks International Ltd. UK to broadcast inthe country, Broadband TV News reports.The regulator ruled that channels Kino Polska Muzyka International and KinoPolska International met the requirements under Ukrainian laws and the EuropeanConvention on Transfrontier Television. Scripps Networks International Ltd. UKis a unit of Scripps NetworksInteractive Inc.

*Telewizja Polska SAproposed a joint TV channel for Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic andSlovakia, Broadband TV News reports,citing Wirtualne Media. The channel would reportedly be broadcast in Englishand patterned after the likes of BBC World, France 24, Russia Today and Al Jazeera.

* AU.S. federal court ordered Russian native Nikita Kuzmin to pay $6.9 million forlosses to bank customers who were affected by the Gozi computer malware hecreated, Reuters reports.He was sent to jail August 2011 and held for 37 months. The malware wasreportedly discovered by security experts around 2007 in the guise of a PDFfile.

FEATURED NEWS

: After arotten quarter for Apple, the anticipated iPhone release this fall couldprovide a much-needed boost to the company's sales and revenue, analysts said.

: Halfway though this current election cycle media andcommunications entities are on track to set a record for campaign contributionsto federal candidates.

: SNL Kagan provides a wrap-up of media and communications deal announcementsand completions from April 25 to April 29.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Multichannel: Latin America: More than half of broadband homesin 13 major markets have speeds below 4 Mbps: Latin America's fixed broadbandmarket continued to increase subscriber base and speeds, making video streamingan option for more homes; however, regionwide adoption of high-speed servicesremains low.    

: Usingdata from comScore's TV Essentials, we examined more than 50 shows that aired returningseason premieres or finales during the first quarter.

: The 2016 edition of ourU.S. multichannel video distributor national map with provider footprints basedon fourth-quarter 2015 data is now available.

: April's matchup between Manny Pacquiao and TimothyBradley delivered an estimated 450,000 PPV buys, far below the 700,000predicted by promoter Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.

: Foreign exchange rates continue tobe a major issue for media companies that operate cable networks outside of theU.S.

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 may requirea subscription.