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Facebook, others avoid encryption issue in UK; WeChat eyes EU push

TOP NEWS

* Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. made no mention about message encryption in their joint statement, following a meeting with British Home Secretary Amber Rudd, London's The Guardian reports. Rudd, however said she welcomed the commitment from the companies to remove online extremist content from their respective sites. Rudd wants police and intelligence agencies to have access to messaging services after it emerged that the suspect in the recent Westminster attack had used WhatsApp Inc. prior to the incident.

* WeChat, Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s popular Chinese messaging and social media app, is eyeing a European expansion for its e-commerce and payment functions, London's Financial Times reports. WeChat's e-commerce platform will first open up to brands in the U.K. to allow them to sell products in China, and later add other European markets such as France and Germany.

UK AND IRELAND

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Prime Video is opening its doors to pitches for content from smaller British independent producers and filmmakers, Broadcast reports. The move comes as the subscription video-on-demand service intends to boost the amount of non-U.S. content.

* The British Broadcasting Corp. launched a live stream of the BBC World News channel on Nippon Television Network Corp.'s Hulu Japan, Advanced Television reports. Users will be able to access the feed via Hulu Japan's desktop platform.

* Several peers in the House of Lords introduced proposals to ensure that content platforms such as Sky plc's Sky Q will give prominence to programs from public service broadcasters, Broadcast reports.

* FremantleMedia Ltd.-owned production company Abot Hameiri and Banijay Group have settled their legal row over supposed similarities in their respective gaming shows, TBI Vision reports. Abot Hameiri alleged in 2016 that its "Best of All" format was copied by Banijay with "All Against 1," but the two companies said they now consider the programs as original formats. RTL Group owns FremantleMedia.

* British media and telecom regulator Ofcom published its plans for the 2017-2018 period. The watchdog said that it will focus on, among others, opening up and improving access to broadband infrastructure owned by Openreach, improving fixed-line and mobile coverage, and protecting consumers from harmful media content.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Microsoft is opening a lab in Munich for technologies related to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, according to a news release. The facility, which will be launched in April, will join similar facilities opened in China and the U.S.

* During a discussion with the editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche in Berlin, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to advertising clients for showing their adverts across content deemed extremist, Handelsblatt reports. YouTube is working to resolve the issue.

* German news magazine Focus closed offices in Munich and Dusseldorf and axed nine employees, DWDL reports. The move is in line with the company's plans to expand its headquarters in Berlin.

FRANCE

* Orange SA's Orange Cinema Series has been made available on Apple Inc.'s Apple TV via the Dotscreen app, Satellifax reports.

* France Télévisions SA announced a positive operating income of €8.8 million for 2016, with a net profit of €2.4 million. The €38.9 million operating income increase over 2015 is due to a €26 million hike in public resources, expenditure control and a €13 million boost in advertising revenue.

* Radio France formed a committee to strengthen the independence and diversity of its programs. The five committee members, appointed for a three-year term, are journalists Isabelle Giordano, Gilles Leclerc and Monica Maggioni, lawyer Noëlle Lenoir and Jean-Robert Pitte, permanent secretary of the Political and Moral Sciences Academy.

* The CSA, France's audiovisual council, announced the conditions for the appointment of president for France Médias Monde, confirming the timetable, procedures and advertising rules. Nominations must be accepted by May 15, with CSA expecting to make the appointment by July 4.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* RTL Group could sell its headquarters in Luxembourg, dubbed RTL City, Meedia reports. The company plans to invest the proposed capital gains of €60 million in future businesses.

* Dutch Apple reseller Amac will take over all 24 shops from competitor iCentre, as well as its web store, the Apple Authorized Repair Center and the Central Support Point, for an undisclosed sum, according to a blog post.

* The digital circulation of Dutch national newspapers has increased with 32.2% on average in 2016, with De Telegraaf seeing the biggest increase at 67.5%, Villamedia reports. Paper circulation at all newspapers is still decreasing, with 5.4% on average in 2016.

* Liberty Global plc's Ziggo NV started the phaseout of four SD channels in its premium Ziggo Sport offering, TotaalTV reports. The provider wants Ziggo Sport Select, Ziggo Sport Racing, Ziggo Sport Voetbal and Ziggo Sport Golf to be broadcast only in HD quality.

* Dutch startup SciSports, a data company which scans football matches and then decides the quality of the players by applying an algorithm, has gained an investment of €1.8 million, Nu.nl reports. SciSports, whose data is mainly sold to football clubs, wants to use the investment to expand its service to England and Germany.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Nokia Corp. said that as the tender offer period by Nokia Solutions and Networks to purchase all shares in Finnish software company Comptel Corp. expired on March 29, the shares tendered represents 88.39% of all Comptel shares. Nokia intends to waive the minimum acceptance condition of 90%, meaning that the acquisition of Comptel is highly likely to happen.

* Ericsson AB and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi are teaming up on a program to develop 5G technology in India, the Press Trust of India reports. Under the partnership, Ericsson will establish a research and development facility at IIT Delhi to foster growth of the local 5G ecosystem.

* The CEO of Danish media group Aller Media, Pål Thore Krosby, has decided to leave the company, according to a news release. Lars Sander Matjeka, who is currently CEO of Aller Media subsidiary Datagraf Communications, has been appointed CEO of Aller Media.

* Swedish augmented reality company XMReality said it signed a deal with Siemens subsidiary Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery to deliver its AR remote guidance system.

* The largest shareholder in Norwegian game production company Funcom is planning to sell 20 million shares, corresponding to 7.88% of all shares in the company, Dagens Næringsliv reports. Hans Petter Jebsen will own 18.6% of Funcom if the sale goes through.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Telecom Italia SpA introduced low-cost plans for its no-frills service Kena Mobile, Telecompaper reports. The launch comes prior to a full rollout of the mobile virtual network operator in the summer, preceding Iliad SA's expected entry as Italy's fourth mobile operator.

* Telecom Italia activated its fiber optic and 4G services in Narni, Umbria, Telecompaper reports. The telco spent €1 million for the rollout, which will allow customers to access internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Russia's Tricolor TV in 2016 blocked more than 1,070 online sites that illegally distribute cable channels, as part of a beefed-up campaign against content piracy, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. The pay TV operator also filed 15 piracy-related criminal cases in Russia and Belarus, seven of which resulted in criminal convictions.

* MegaFon rolled out HD Voice technology on its 3G base stations in areas covered by its central macro-regional branch, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. The technology will be activated by default for customers using the mobile operator's 3G network.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: FCC's Pai targets deregulation, broadband: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai looks to review rules deemed burdensome and encourage broadband expansion in the near term.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Go90 pivots to target even younger audiences: When go90 publicly launched Oct. 1, 2015, it was marketed to the tastes and preferences of millennials. More recently, however, the Verizon service has turned its attention to the even younger viewers of the Generation Z age group.

Economics of Internet: State of Spanish online video: Subscription: Spain is one of the few Western European markets where subscription over-the-top services are still considered to be in their early stages.

Amanda Kelly, Anne Freier, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.