*Deutsche Telekom AG'splans to upgrade Germany's Internet infrastructure will be probed by the EUafter complaints from competitors, Handelsblattreports.The European Commission in Brussels reportedly said it will take a closer lookat the proposal by Deutsche Telekom to extend vectoring technology in thecountry. Competitors claimed Deutsche Telekom's control of the network upgradewill put them at a disadvantage and that the technology is outdated. Germany'sFederal Network Agency previously approved the upgrade plans.
*The U.K. High Court approved an order that will require the five major Internetservice providers in the country to block eight websites, following a requestfrom the Motion Picture Association, the European arm of the Motion PictureAssociation of America, Advanced Television reports.Websites couchtuner.ag, merdb.link, putlocker.is, putlocker.plus,rainiertamayo.com, vidics.ch, watchfree.to and xmovies8.tv reportedly allowpeople to search for and access films and TV content illegally. In 2015, a U.K.court also orderedISPs to block a number of e-book piracy websites on the basis of copyright infringement.
UK AND IRELAND
*Liberty Global plcCEO Mike Fries defended the company's U.K. strategy, insisting thegroup is "well-positioned" to weather competition in Britain'sconsolidating market in the wake of the pending Three-O2 deal. Speaking duringa May 10 earnings conference call, Fries told analysts not to "assume anychanges to our UK mobile situation" in the event of a tie up between CKHutchison Holdings Ltd.'s Three and Telefónica SA's O2. With the group's Virgin Mobile MVNOactively working toward a 4G launch, Fries confirmed the group has been"engaged in some conversations all along the way" but stressed thatit has a long-term contingency plan "for whatever occurs."
*British media watchdog Ofcom wants Channel 4 (UK) to provide more content that gives olderchildren an alternative voice, separate from what the alreadyoffers. Despite this observation, Ofcom welcomed Channel 4's progress towardsinnovation, distinctiveness and diversity, according to its responseto Channel 4's Statement of Media Content Policy. Ofcom also believes thatChannel 4 appears commercially sustainable well beyond 2016, amid changingtechnology and continued rise of online streaming. British Culture SecretaryJohn Whittingdale is looking to privatize the broadcaster, with companies likeBritish Telecom andViacom Inc.linked as possiblebuyers.
*BBC appointed Radio 4 news and current affairs editor Joanna Carr as its newhead of current affairs, Broadcast reports.Carr will replace Fiona Campbell, who was promoted to the newly created role ofBBC News mobile and online controller. Prior to being the editor of Radio 4programs "PM," "iPM" and "Broadcasting House,"Carr served as assistant editor of the "Politics Show" on , according tothe report.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA
*Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to impose an injunction onAxel Springer SE CEOMathias Döpfner, who had previously publicly supported an explicit poem writtenabout the politician, DWDL reports.A district court in Cologne rejected Erdogan's suit, citing the right tofreedom of expression. Erdogan can still take his suit to a court of appeal.
*German cable company Unitymedia reported increased first-quarter sales aswell as a smaller net loss compared to the same period in 2015, DWDL reports.Sales grew more than 5% to €559 million. The company recorded a net loss of€7.1 million at the end of the first quarter, in comparison to a loss of €42.5million last year. Unitymedia was boosted by the performance of its internetbusiness and plans to continue to invest further in high-speed Internet,according to the report.
*Unitymedia sees every second Internet customer in Germany wanting connectionspeeds of 120 Mbps or more, Golem.de reports,citing spokesman Olaf Winter. According to Winter, whenever a new speed levelis reached, it sets a trend toward even higher speeds. The company, which hasoffered download speeds of up to 400 Mbps since February, declined to say howmany customers have signed up to its fastest Internet tariff.
*Vivendi SA and Orangejoined the list of official partnersin Paris' bid to host the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024. Eachwill contribute €2 million to the campaign bid budget, according to a newsrelease. The last time Paris hosted the Olympics was in 1924.
*Grégoire Margotton is leaving Canal Plus SA to join TF1 Group as of May 30, according to a statement.The French sports journalist and commentator will provide commentary alongsideBixente Lizarazu on the French team's final warm-up matches in the UEFA Euro2016 tournament that kicks off on TF1 on June 10 and on Téléfoot. L'Equipe earlier reportedthat Canal+ tried to retain its star commentator with a new offer and financialincentives. Margotton has been a part of Canal+ sports editorial team since1992.
*France's telecom regulator ARCEP reportsthat it received 25 submissions in response to a call for applications to 3Gand 4G frequencies in France's overseas departments. Four applicants can beselected for each area: Guadeloupe - Martinique, St. Barthélemy - St Martin,Guyane, La Réunion and Mayotte. The review process is expected to last severalmonths.
*Mobile Network Group will provide digital display advertising and marketingservices for French multimedia group NRJ Global's mobile and tablet apps,according to a statement.The contract applies to NRJ's radio stations: NRJ, Nostalgie, Chérie FM, Rireet Chansons, and TV stations NRJ12 and Chérie25. Each day, about 2.7 millionpeople in France listen to the radio on their mobile phones, 917,000 of whomlisten to NRJ Group radio stations. NRJ hopes the collaboration with MNG willhelp monetize its digital presence.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM, ANDLUXEMBOURG
*French telecom OrangeSA rebrandedMobistar NV to Orangein Belgium, unifying the group's European operations under a single brand. Atotal of 230 stores in Belgium will be rebranded to Orange by the end of May.As of the end of March, Mobistar had more than 3.0 million customers. OrangeBelgium will offer up to 99% of households the benefit of a Belgian Internetand TV offer, new channels, a new Orange TV app to control the decoder from anydevice and access to global initiatives, including events such as UEFA Euro2016 in France.
*Dutch provider KPN NVis launching a Managed Hybrid Cloud service in May to respond to the growingdemand in the wholesale market for simple hybrid cloud solutions, according toa press release.The platform will combine the security of a virtual private cloud with theflexibility and scalability of a public cloud.
*Comcast Corp. unitNBCUniversal MediaLLC will terminate its channels 13TH Street and Syfy in Belgiumfrom July 1 due to strategic matters, reportsTotaalTV. A recent report indicated that the U.S. company will no longer offer13TH Street and Syfy in the Netherlands. According to TotaalTV, the earliertermination of the channels in the catchment area of Dutch provider resulted in NBCUniversal revising its whole structure regarding 13TH Street and Syfy.
*T-Mobile Netherlands won a tender from the municipality of Rotterdam, enteringthe provider into a contract for about 12,000 subscriptions for a period ofthree years, ConnexieB2B reports.In addition to mobile services, T-Mobile will also provide integration withexisting fixed telephony systems. The contract will run from June 29.
*The Dutch Consumers' Association urged manufacturers of Android smartphones tobe clearer on whether and when there are updates to the Android software, reportsTelecompaper. According to the association, more clarity will give consumersadditional opportunities to make an informed decision when choosing asmartphone, after an earlier survey showed that manufacturers are often notclear about how long they will continue to support updates on devices.
*Despite earlier criticism from the Dutch lower house, 27 municipalities in theNetherlands do not provide a secure Internet connection to visitors, accordingto Nu.nl. A number of municipalities even violated the Privacy Act: Themunicipalities of Wassenaar, Bloemendaal and Culemborg processed confidentialcitizen service numbers from residents for months without a secure internetconnection.
*Finnish app developer Sumoing is in discussions with financial and strategicinvestors to support its expansion into Asia and South America in 2016. Havingworked its way up to the second most downloaded free entertainment app in theU.S. after Netflix Inc.,the company is eyeing a maiden, series A round which would be in line with itsambitions to become the go-to brand for digital coloring, Sumoing Chief ExecutiveIlkka Teppo told SNLKagan.
*Fingerprint Cards AB believes it has the potential to achieve sales of 12billion Swedish kronor within two years, reportsDagens Industri. The Swedishtechnology company is expanding at a rapid pace, generating speculation that itmay attract takeover bids from China. Fingerprint has been strengthening itsglobal presence in the fingerprint verification domain and hopes to make itstechnology the standard for mobile industry and the mass worldwide market.
*Nokia Corp. reportedfirst-quarter sales above those recorded by its Swedish networking equipmentrival Ericsson AB forthe first time, reports Helsingin Sanomat. Nokia reported netsales of €5.60 billion for the first quarter of 2016, compared to Ericsson'sreported sales of about €5.60 billion for the same period. Nokia saidthat in the first quarter the net cash and other liquid assets of the combinedcompany increased by €471 million, to €8.2 billion, compared to Nokia on astand-alone basis at the end of the fourth quarter 2015, mainly due to theacquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.
*Telenor ASA'snomination committee proposed Jacob Aqraou and Siri Beate Hatlen as candidatesto the Norwegian telco's board, reportse24.no. Hatlen and Aqraou are replacements for Frank Dangeard and Marit Vaagenwho are resigning from the board. The nomination committee may also submit thename of a third candidate, to replace another director, Burckhard Bergmann, whoasked to step down from the board.
*Dutch digital security company Gemalto is partnering Visa Europe to equipvisitors to the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm with contactlesspayment wristbands, Gemalto said in a statement.The Gemalto solution for Visa uses the Allynis Smart Event Platform for prepaidpayment programs and event management. The wristbands can be used to make paymentsat any Visa ready contactless POS terminals worldwide and will be active untilOct. 31.
*Nokia and partner Telefónica Chile completed the largest indoor deployment ofsmall cells to meet growing local 3G and 4G data demands of mobile device users,according to a news release. The indoor deployment was at the Costanera shopping center in Santiago,Chile, which serves 110,000 visitors a day. To enable Telefónica Chile to meetconnectivity goals, Nokia replaced and upgraded the existing distributedantenna system with a high-capacity, high-coverage Flexi Zone small cells network.
*The European Commission awarded four cloud service contracts worth a total of€10 million to Telecom ItaliaSpA, via its units TI Sparkle and Olivetti, according to a statement.Telecom Italia will provide the services to almost 60 EU institutions, inpartnership with Amazon.comInc.'s Amazon Web Services. The contracts will last two years andcome with two possible one-year extensions.
* Asexpected, Italianpublishing giant Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA agreedto acquire e-commerce firm Banzai SpA's vertical content unit, Banzai MediaHolding Srl, for €45 million. The transaction includes a €4 million earnout,which will be paid to Banzai if certain results for the 2016-2018 period aremet, according to a news release. The acquisition is expected to be completedin the first half of 2016.
*Swisscom AG'sFastweb SpA andSky plc unitSky Italia SRL extendedtheir existing commercial partnership by five years to 2021. The new agreementallows Fastweb and Sky Italia to expand the range of services they jointlyoffer, including internet TV service Sky Online. In 2011, Fastweb and SkyItalia launched the first joint broadband and pay TV offer in Italy.
*CTC Media Inc. is nowexpecting itscash-out merger to close before the end of May, according to a news . The company, which previouslyexpected the deal toclose by mid-May, said that it is still waiting for a pending tax refund fromthe U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which will become part of the mergerconsideration. CTC Media will close the merger as soon as possible afterreceiving the refund.
* O2Slovakia launched a pilot of its TV service dubbed O2TV, Telecompaper reports.The pilot involves the airing of 25 channels for 1,000 home Internet customersin three western Slovakia towns. Customers will need to pay €7.50 per month forthe O2TV service with a set-top box, which can be acquired with a €60 deposit.The service will also be available on mobile TV, either online or via mobileapps for Apple Inc.'siOS and Alphabet Inc.-ownedGoogle Inc.'s Android.
*Poland's Vectra SAintroduced a mobile virtual network operator service, Broadband TV News reports,citing Satkurier. The cable operator's new service is composed of threepackages and several additional offers. The MVNO service is offered inpartnership with P4, which does business under the Play brand.
*The Romanian parliament elected Irina Radu president and general director ofstate broadcaster TVR, Romania-Insider.com reports,citing Agerpres and Mediafax. Radu has been TVR's interim general manager sincelate September 2015, after the parliament dumped the broadcaster's 2014activity report and dismissed its board as well as previous general managerStelian Tanase.
: Time WarnerCable Media executives examined the varied values of digital impressions at thecompany's newfront presentation, while touting an array of analytics tools as meansto bolster campaign efficiencies.
: In some ways, the FCC's current proposal tounlock the set top box has been 20 years in the making. And it could be comingtoo late.
: For three years, SeaWorld has been trying to rebuildits reputation and win back consumers. But it remains unclear just how muchprogress the company has made.
: VICE Media CEO ShaneSmith was supine and profane during some of his remarks at the company'snewfront presentation, where he told media buyers it was launching 20 linear TVnetworks in Europe and Asia over the next year, and would add six new digitalchannels.
: TimeInc. is launching a new over-the-top streaming service this fall, while Netflixunveiled a new tool that allows users to control data consumption on cellularnetworks while streaming.
: In this bi-weekly feature,SNL Kagan provides a roundup of significant recent regulatory events in Europe.
: Despite large sums ofinvestment flowing into virtual reality, questions remain as to the most viablebusiness models for VR and its cousin, augmented reality.
: 21st CenturyFox reported that revenues for its cable network programming segment were up10% to $3.94 billion for quarter ended March 31, while the segment's EBITDA wasup 12% to $1.38 billion.
: We analyzed wide-release films from2006 through 2015 and broke them down by genre and budget range. Overall, the1,439 films averaged a $68.7 million domestic gross, $240.9 million in totalrevenues and $194.2 million in total costs. They averaged $46.7 million in netprofit with a 19.4% average net profit margin.
: Broadcast digital andonline revenue for the 14 covered broadcasters in our analysis grew 24.0% yearover year, boosting the segment's portion of total revenue to a new high as newtechnology continues to attract greater media allocations toward digital.
: Liberty Global Chief Executive Mike Friesdefended the company's U.K. strategy, insisting the group is"well-positioned" to weather competition in Britain's consolidatingmarket in the wake of the pending Three-O2 deal.
: Although Walt Disney's cable networks saw a year-over-yeardrop in subscriber numbers during the fiscal second quarter, CEO Bob Igerremains confident that the new skinny bundles being launched by variousoperators will ultimately drive growth.
Amanda Kelly, PatrickWinters, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. TheDaily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external linksmay require a subscription.