* Deutsche Telekom AG and energy company EWE AG launched their joint venture Glasfaser Nordwest, which targets to provide high-speed internet services to 1.5 million households. Total investments will be worth up to €2 billion over a 10-year period.
* Twitter Inc. suspended dating app Grindr LLC from its MoPub ad network over alleged privacy violations, London's The Guardian reports. A study by the Norwegian Consumer Council found Grindr and other apps to have been sharing personal data and tracking users through methods prohibited under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.
* Discovery Inc. closed its office in Kiev, Ukraine, due to the unsatisfactory performance of the U.S. company's channels in the country, Broadband TV News reported, citing Telekritika. Discovery's Bulgarian office, headed by Yekaterina Mikhailovich, has been overseeing the distribution of its channels in Ukraine since the start of 2020.
* Tech and automotive companies, such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and BMW, called on the EU to take steps against patent trolls, who acquire patents with the goal of making a profit from them through licenses and lawsuits, London's Financial Times reports. In a letter to the European Commission, 35 companies and four industry groups urged EU Commissioner Thierry Breton to draft rules that would prevent patent trolls from "gaming the system."
* BBC Studios Ltd. named Nick Percy executive vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, starting April 1, TBI Vision reports. The appointment came as the company consolidated its distribution operations across the three regions.
UK AND IRELAND
* The British Broadcasting Corp. is opening a new tech hub in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in line with plans to have two-thirds of its staff working outside of London by 2027. Director General Tony Hall also said the public broadcaster will also expand its offices in Bristol and Salford, with the latter becoming the main facility for its BBC Sounds service.
* The U.K. cinema industry generated more than £1.3 billion of total ticket sales for the fifth straight year in 2019, despite the rise of Netflix Inc. and other streaming providers, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Six films generated more than £50 million each in the British box office, namely "Avengers: Endgame," "The Lion King," "Toy Story 4," "Frozen II," "Joker" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."
* Dentsu Group Inc. subsidiary Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd. acquired Santa Clara, Calif.,-based analytics company E-Nor Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
* Spanish soccer league La Liga will make its namesake channel available on Virgin Media's TV service beginning Jan. 16. The channel, which offers live soccer content, earlier debuted on Sky Ltd.'s Sky TV.
* Comcast Corp. unit Sky commissioned historical period drama "Britannia" for a third series, which can be watched on streaming service NOW TV and the Sky Atlantic channel.
* The Irish government will invest an additional €200,000 in the rollout of high-speed broadband services in rural areas under the Broadband Connection Points program, Telecompaper reports. The scheme will target public facilities under the government's National Broadband Plan.
* Sports streaming service DAZN hired Julian Skeels to be its vice president of product acquisition, retention and payments.
* Clare Sillery, the BBC's head of documentary commissioning, is set to take on an expanded role, including ordering history and religion-themed shows, TBI Vision reports. Meanwhile, Jack Bootle, commissioning editor in the company's specialist factual department, was named head of commissioning for science and natural history.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Jan. 16 with leading members of the Bundestag to discuss the participation of Chinese mobile device manufacturers Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in the country's 5G network expansion, Handelsblatt reports. The Bundestag's members are divided on the matter.
* German media company M. DuMont Schauberg GmbH & Co. KG sold newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung to German publisher Heinrich Bauer Verlag KG. Bauer already owns newspaper Volksstimme.
* Video streaming platform Dailymotion SA is expanding in India by becoming a video services provider, in partnership with Httpool Digital Pvt. Ltd. as its exclusive advertising sales reseller.
* France Télévisions Publicité SA named Nathalie Dinis Clemenceau deputy general manager in charge of trade. The advertising unit of public broadcaster France Télévisions SA also appointed Radovan Aleksic commercial director.
* AMC Networks Inc.-owned Sundance TV will cease broadcasting in France, Broadband TV News reports. The channel runs on Orange SA, Vivendi SA's Canal Plus SA, Altice France SA's SFR, Bouygues Telecom SA and Iliad SA's Free.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Xu Hong, China's ambassador to the Netherlands, warned that trade relations between Beijing and the European country would be damaged if semiconductor equipment supplier ASML Holding NV will not be allowed to ship its newest machines to China, Reuters reports. The Netherlands withheld the license ASML needs to export its newest machines to China following pressure from the U.S. government.
* Thousands of NPO Start and Start Plus subscribers have been experiencing technical difficulties for weeks using the public video service, preventing them from logging in or disconnecting, NRC reports. The Dutch public broadcaster confirmed the problem and will compensate the subscribers.
* Ericsson launched a fully automated eSIM offering for the remote provisioning of user profiles and device management. The rollout came after a user survey showed that customers are ready to pay for eSIM services.
* TDC A/S' movie streaming and downloading arm Blockbuster struck a deal with arthouse film company Angel Films Oy. The film production company's streaming service Filmperler will close down Jan. 15 and be integrated into Blockbuster under the name Filmperler på Blockbuster.
* Norwegian fingerprint sensor company NEXT Biometrics Group ASA is reducing its staff by 20% as part of an efficiency and streamlining program. The company will have 65 employees as part of the restructuring, which is expected to produce annual savings of 20 million Norwegian kroner.
* MásMóvil Ibercom SA is unlikely to join the 700 MHz band auction in Spain if the government fails to reserve frequency blocks to new operators, Telecompaper reports, citing CEO Meinrad Spenger's statement to EFE. Spenger is calling on the government to provide "reasonable conditions" in the upcoming 5G auction.
* Retelit SpA unit Retelit Digital Services SpA will fully acquire IT consulting company Partners Associates SpA. The transaction's financial terms were undisclosed.
* Enel SpA unit Enel Open Fiber SpA rolled out its commercial fiber-optic service in Limbiate town in Italy's northern Lombardy region, Telecompaper reports. The network will be available to the first 4,000 premises through Vodafone Group PLC unit Vodafone Italia SpA and Tiscali SpA.
* Deutsche Telekom Board Member Srini Gopalan met with Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to provide an update on the potential sale of Telekom Romania Communications SA, Broadband TV News reports, citing Ziarul Financiar. The meeting tackled the Romanian operator's discussions with potential buyers, including Orange România, RCS & RDS and BC Partners-backed United Group BV.
* Banijay Group SAS' international distribution arm Banijay Rights struck a multiseason agreement with RTL Group unit Magyar RTL for reality format "Survivor." The terms of the deal were undisclosed.
* Vodafone Romania SA will carry Discovery's channels under an agreement between the parties, Broadband TV News reports. The telecom company will also be the sponsor of the Grand Slam tours and ATP Circuit broadcasts by Eurosport TV channels starting 2020.
* Turkish operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS units Turktell Bilisim Servisleri AS, Global Bilgi Pazarlama Danisma Ve Cagri Servisi Hizmetleri AS and Turkcell Satis ve Dijital Is Servisleri signed an agreement to transfer their 55% stake in sports betting company Inteltek to Intralot Iberia Holdings SA, Inteltek's other shareholder, Telecompaper reports. The deal is expected to be closed in the first half of the year.
* The Czech government approved a document on the auction for the distribution of frequencies for 5G networks, Telecompaper reports, citing Mobilmania.cz. The auction will start in the first quarter of the year.
* Russian operator MegaFon registered its subsidiary named Arctic Link Rus, which will oversee the deployment of an estimated 11,500-kilometer subsea link from Japan to Norway, Telecompaper reports.
Economics of TV & Film: ESPN+ hopes for 'Notoriously' good start to 2020: A look at events and movies on pay-per-view and video on demand in January.
Technology: CES 2020: Different perspectives on the future of the smart home: Making homes smarter has long been a goal for device manufacturers, service providers, software developers and homebuilders, but this year's CES highlighted how there are different visions about how to achieve that goal.
Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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