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SonyLIV expands to Middle East; Netflix, OSN part ways; FA Player nears launch

In this monthly feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


* Sony Corp.'s subscription VOD platform SonyLIV launched in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Rapid TV News reported July 31. The platform offers about 70 popular shows from Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd.

* Middle Eastern pay TV operator OSN ended its 18-month partnership with Netflix Inc., BroadcastPro ME reported. OSN terminated its set-top box access to Netflix on Aug. 11.

* The Football Association Ltd. is launching FA Player, a live streaming platform dedicated to U.K. women's soccer. The free platform can be accessed online and through a mobile app for iOS and Android users beginning Sept. 2, just ahead of the Barclays FA Women's Super League season.


* DAZN Group's sports streaming service DAZN is offering the Eurosport 1 HD and Eurosport 2 HD channels in Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain, as part of a distribution agreement with Discovery Inc. The deal also covers exclusive rights for 45 Bundesliga soccer matches for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, which will be aired on DAZN in Germany and Austria.

* Starz's streaming platform Starz Play acquired rights to distribute EPIX (US)'s "Pennyworth" series in European countries, including the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg, according to a July 10 report by The Hollywood Reporter. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. owns Starz.


* The French Competition Authority approved a planned streaming joint venture between TF1 Group, Groupe M6 and France Télévisions SA. The French broadcasting companies plan to launch subscription VOD platform Salto in the first quarter of 2020, according to an Aug. 12 news release. The effort is aimed at combating competition from international streaming providers.

* Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. and British Broadcasting Corp. unit BBC Studios Ltd. agreed on a long-term extension of their partnership, which will allow the Australian pay-TV operator to add premium content for its broadcast and on-demand platforms.

* U.K. media and telecom regulator Ofcom granted conditional approval to the BBC's plans to expand its VOD service iPlayer's catch-up window for shows. The proposed changes include extending the availability of shows on iPlayer to 12 months from 30 days, with children's content accessible for five years.

* Netflix acquired global rights to comedy series "Toon," which was commissioned by Dutch operator KPN NV, Telecompaper reported July 29, citing Broadcast Magazine.

* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is considering launching versions of its streaming service Joyn in markets outside Germany, either through brand licensing or tie-ups with local industry players, Digital TV Europe reported July 24. Joyn is ProSiebenSat.1's streaming joint venture with Discovery.

* The BBC and ITV PLC signed an agreement to launch BritBox in the U.K. in the fourth quarter. The subscription VOD platform will cost £5.99 per month and offer access to local BBC and ITV shows as well as original and exclusive content.

* France Télévisions launched its live TV and catchup service on all connected devices that are compatible with Google LLC's home assistant platform, Advanced Television reported July 18. will also be accessible on GoogleCast-enabled screens. Alphabet Inc. owns Google.


* Telecom Italia SpA is offering content from Sky Ltd.'s NOW TV - Ticket Sport app on its VOD platform TIMvision, according to an Aug. 12 news release. The new content includes broadcasts of matches from Italian soccer league Serie A, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Euro 2020.

* P4 Sp zoo, operating under the Play brand, added about 50 film titles from SPI International Inc. to its Play Now platform, Broadband TV News reported Aug. 12. The Polish mobile operator earlier added three new channels from NBCUniversal International Networks Ltd. to the streaming service, Advanced Television reported July 31. NBCUniversal International Networks is a unit of Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC.

* Mediaset España Comunicación SA's Mitele Plus launched in Spain, Advanced Television reported Aug. 8. The streaming platform will offer broadcasts of soccer matches.

* Mediapro live-streamed events from the Lima 2019 Pan-American Games under an agreement with YouTube, SportsPro reported Aug. 2.

* Spanish broadcaster Atresmedia revamped its Atresplayer Premium streaming service into a "real TV on-demand" offering, Advanced Television reported July 31. The platform will offer ad-free original series and international series, as well as entertainment and current affairs content prior to the terrestrial broadcast.

* Polish public broadcaster Telewizja Polska SA is considering the launch of OTT services through its branded set-top box, Telecompaper reported July 29, citing Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

* MásMóvil Ibercom SA unit Yoigo enabled direct access to Netflix through its Agile TV platform, Telecompaper reported July 24.

* All Media Baltics partnered with software company Atende Software Sp zoo for the launch of an OTT service for consumers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Broadband TV News reported July 23. The new platform offers access to a mix of sports and entertainment content, including AMB's flagship TV programs.

* Russian direct-to-home operator Tricolor TV is planning to introduce its own OTT service in October, Broadband TV News reported July 22, citing Kommersant.


* Netflix unveiled its latest Arabic original series titled "Dollar," which premiered Aug. 8. The 15-episode series is produced by Middle Eastern production company Cedars Art Production - Sabbah Brothers.

* Econet Media Ltd.'s streaming service Kwesé Play is shutting down and will be liquidated, My Broadband reported Aug. 1. The news comes after Roku Inc., its platform partner, deactivated Kwesé Play devices.

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