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Apple may face EU probe; RTL rejects ProSiebenSat.1, Discovery OTT venture


* The European Union's competition watchdog is mulling plans to probe Apple Inc. over claims that it used the App Store to favor its own services over its rivals', Reuters reports, citing EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The news comes after Spotify Technology SA filed an anti-competition complaint against Apple with the European Commission.

* RTL Group has refused an invitation from ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE to co-invest in the German media group's upcoming joint streaming venture with Discovery Inc., Broadband TV News reports, quoting RTL Group CEO Bert Habets. ProSiebenSat.1 has so far tapped ZDF (DE), Sport1 and WELT as partners for the streaming platform that will go live in the summer.


* Sky PLC has opened talks with alternative network operators in Britain to strike deals on the rollout of ultrafast broadband services, London's The Daily Telegraph reports, citing a letter to the company heads by Sky UK Ltd. CEO Stephen van Rooyen. The operators are rivals of British Telecom's network infrastructure division Openreach Ltd.

* Netflix Inc. will work with the British Board of Film Classification to classify all content on the U.S. streaming giant's platform in accordance with the BBFC's age ratings guidelines.

* The British Broadcasting Corp. named former Henderson Group PLC CFO Shirley Garrood to its board. Garrood, who will also chair the broadcaster's audit and risk committee, will replace Simon Burke whose term ends July 3.


* Inc.'s streaming service Amazon Prime Video Channels has added Viacom International Media Networks' Comedy Central channel to its offer in Germany, Broadband TV News reports. Viacom International Media Networks is a unit of Viacom Inc.


* Altice France SA announced a partnership with Videofutur to market its fiber offer on public initiative networks operated by Altice unit SFR FTTH, which will cover 2 million homes in the long term. The Videofutur offer will be available in the summer in the Isère department, and will be gradually rolled out to other areas.

* Arnaud Lagardère, general and managing partner of Lagardère Group's holding company Lagardère SCA, said the sale of Lagardère Studios is narrowed down to two potential buyers but did not provide names, Les Échos reports. Sources reportedly said one of the possible buyers is an investment fund associated with the management and the other an industry player, either Mediawan SA or Fremantle.

* Deezer SA named Laurence Miall-d'Août as its chief commercial officer, Advanced Television reports. Miall-d'Août is joining the music streaming platform on April 2 from Liberty Global PLC, where she has been serving as vice president of advanced data and advertising.


* Millicom International Cellular SA said it has agreed to sell its business in Chad, which operates as Tigo Chad, to Maroc Telecom for an undisclosed sum. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

* Sanoma Oyj said it is acquiring Dutch sports photographer network Pro Shots for an undisclosed sum. Pro Shots will become part of Sanoma's Dutch news platform, in order to strengthen the latter's position in the Netherlands.

* RTL Nederland reported a 6.5% increase in revenue to €508 million in 2018, mainly driven by higher TV advertising revenue, Videoland and other digital activities. The RTL Group unit also reported an increased EBITDA to €89 million in 2018, compared to €87 million in 2017.

* The Dutch Data Protection Agency announced a new fining policy for violations of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, based on the type of violation, seriousness, scale, duration, intentions and recidivism. Fines may reach a maximum of €10 million or 2% of the worldwide annual company revenue for breaches of GDPR obligations, and €20 million or 4% of revenue for violations of the GDPR's fundamental principles.


* Nokia Corp. said it has joined an partnership focused on artificial intelligence with Pöyry Oy and Infosys Oy. The project aims to enhance the AI framework for industry, utilities, transportation and infrastructure firms. Infosys and Pöyry will supply digital and consulting expertise under the deal.

* The Norwegian government said it has created the Directorate for Administration and ICT. The directorate, which will include government portals DiFi and Altinn, will advise the government on the digitization of public services in Norway.

* Teschshelf AB has filed for bankruptcy in Sweden, Di Digital reports. Teschshelf joins Bolooba AB as the second data center management firm in Sweden to declare bankruptcy in March. The bankruptcies are linked to changes in energy tax refunds for data centers.


* Telecom Italia SpA's board said it has "full confidence" in the work of company Chairman Fulvio Conti. The board responded to the report by the Italian operator's auditors that cited irregularities in the sharing of information in the lead-up to the removal of the telco's former CEO, Amos Genish.

* Euskaltel SA has rolled out its services in the Spanish provinces of León and La Rioja, Digital TV Europe reports. The regional cable operator's services in León will be available under its subsidiary brand R Cable y Telecomunicaciones Galicia SA.

* Spanish telecom watchdog CNMC is urging the government to amend some provisions in its new digital terrestrial TV plan, Advanced Television reports. The CNMC wants changes on the conditions to be imposed on public initiatives for extending DTT coverage, as well as the financing method for the digital migration and related compensation.


* Czech network operator Česká telekomunikační infrastruktura as believes risks associated with the use of equipment from China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. are manageable, Reuters reports, citing Hospodarske Noviny. CETIN Supervisory Vice Chairman Petr Slovacek reportedly said the company can take additional steps to reduce such risks.

* Rostelecom PJSC could use its shares to partially pay for the acquisition of the remaining 55% stake it did not already own in mobile operator Tele2 Russia, Reuters reports, quoting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov.

* The Association of Cable Operators and Distributors of Bosnia & Herzegovina is urging state authorities to probe into Telemach doo's continued failure to make its Sport Klub channel available to all cable operators in the country, despite an order from the Council of Competition, Broadband TV News reports, citing Capital.

* Maciej Stanecki has been ousted from Telewizja Polska SA's board by Poland's National Media Council, Broadband TV News reports, citing Presservis. The council also named Marzena Paczuska and Piotr Palka to the public broadcaster's board, while also retaining Jacek Kurski as president.


Conference Chatter: SXSW: Nielsen exec: Amid disruptive change, protecting TV ad currency paramount: At SXSW, Nielsen executive Kelly Abcarian outlined the difficulties of navigating the evolving TV measurement landscape. The company is focused on relationship management as it explains its total audience ratings to network partners, she said.


Technology: Telco STB shipments forecast to slow through 2022: After hitting an estimated 59.3 million units in 2018, worldwide telco set-top box shipments are expected to decline at a 2.7% CAGR through 2022 to 53.2 million units.


Broadcom seeking strategic acquisitions to diversify revenue sources: Broadcom is looking to buy companies in areas outside semiconductors, the company's core business. CEO Hock Tan cited the acquisition of software company CA, which closed last year, as a model for the future.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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