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Telecom Italia names new CEO; no progress in Orange-Bouygues Telecom merger talks

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Telecom Italia names new CEO; no progress in Orange-Bouygues Telecom merger talks

TOP NEWS

*Telecom Italia SpAsaid in a news releasethat its board appointed Flavio Cattaneo CEO. In his new role, Cattaneo will beresponsible for the overall management of the company and the group, andimplementing and developing the strategic, industrial and financial plans andall the organizational responsibilities to ensure management and development ofbusiness in Italy and South America. Cattaneo replaces Marco Patuano, whoresigned following aspat with the telco's largest shareholder, Vivendi SA. Cattaneo most recently served as CEO ofNuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori SpA.

*Orange and said in a statement that theirnegotiations regarding an Orange-BouyguesTelecom mergerhave "not progressed sufficiently." The two parties said they willmeet before the end of the weekend to decide whether to pursue the proposedmerger. Accordingto Les Echos, the deal is expected togo ahead, with Orange acquiring mobile operator Bouygues Telecom in cash andshares, enabling Bouygues to access the capital of Orange.

UK AND IRELAND

*British media and telecom regulator Ofcom saidit will implement new procedures on the regulation of on-demand programservices beginning April 1. The new procedures cover probes into breaches ofrules for on-demand services, which were aligned more closely with the rulesfor linear TV broadcasting. Ofcom added that it will not charge regulatory feesfor such services, as stated in the U.K.'s Communications Act 2003.

*Sky plc launched SkyKids, a new programming app for kids, accordingto a news release. The app will offer programs such as Nick Jr.'s "PawPatrol," Boomerang's "Scooby Doo," CBeebies' "Octonauts"and Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time." The content lineup will alsoinclude "Morph," which is set to debut on the Sky Kids app later in2016 with new exclusive episodes. Sky's Kids service is being overseen by Sky'sfirst dedicated head of kids' content, Lucy Murphy, who joined the company inNovember 2015.

*Vodafone Group Plc saidthat Group Business Development Director Warren Finegold is retiring from thegroup executive committee on June 30. Finegold will act as an adviser to theBritish telco's board and executive committee in relation to future strategicprojects, effective July 2016.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA

*German media companies have been dealt another blow in their legal war againstad-block software maker Adblock. Accordingto Futurezone, Eyeo GmbH, the developer of Adblock Plus, won a second legalround, this time against German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaperclaimed that the ad-blocker was causing losses worth six-figure sums each year.However, the local court voted in favor of Eyeo because ad-blockers are not adirect interference to competition.

*Swiss insurance firm Mobiliar purchased a 50% stake in classified portalScout24 Schweiz AG from U.S. equity group KKR and other investors, reportsBlick. Swiss media agency Ringier AG will retain control of Scout24. KKRacquired its stake in 2014 as part of a digital joint venture with Ringier.

*German media group Klambt plans to launch a program guide for online videos aspart of a new app called myPG, reportsDWDL. The editorial team will be scouring the Internet daily to find the topvideos featured as part of its Highlights section. All videos will be viewablevia an integrated player on the app.

*IBM Corp.'s IBMGermany plans to axe 1,000 jobs in the country. German trade union Verdidelegate Bert Stach toldHandelsblatt that the cuts are a bigmistake and that IBM did not invest enough in research and development foryears.

FRANCE

*French mobile operator Free will take over 550 Bouygues Telecom stores inFrance, accordingto Europe 1. This will increase the number of Free stores in France by a factorof 12, and increase Free's personnel to a total of 8,000 from 6,000. A keypoint in the discussion for the acquisition of Bouygues Telecom by Orange waswhich assets would be distributed between remaining operators Free and SFR, inorder to avoid the agreement being blocked by the competition regulator.

*Mobile game publisher Gameloft filed an appeal before the Paris court againstthe takeover bid by media group Vivendi, LesEchos reports.The bid has been open since March 21. Gameloft's has filed an appeal againstthe decision of the French financial markets authority AMF, alleging a breachof the guidelines for public offerings and regulatory transparency obligations.If successful, the appeal could potentially give Gameloft a respite of severalmonths.

*French telecom regulator ARCEP will launch a public consultation on mobilefrequency allocations in the coming weeks. In a statement,ARCEP said that the purpose of the consultation is to establish the basis forusing and sharing the 3.5 GHz and 2.6 GHz TDD bands. Possible applicationsinclude faster mobile connections, increasing throughput in WLL, professionalmobile radio networks, and IoT. The assignments could take place as early as2017. At the same time ARCEP is also calling on interested parties to conducttrials on these bands.

*The French Conseil d'Etat overturned the decision of the Conseil Superior de l'Audiovisuelrevoking the broadcasting license of independent television channel Numéro 23, La Tribune reports.According to the Conseil d'Etat, the existence of fraud presumed by the CSA hasnot been proven. If the decision had been upheld, Numéro 23 would have beentaken off the air by June 30.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM ANDLUXEMBOURG

*Liberty Global plcunit Telenet Group Holding NVapologized for an ad campaign that confused many people, De Standaard reports. To promoteTelenet's Play package, the company sent consumers a fake bill from a videostore with a request to return the movie "Back to the Future." Thefilm would have been borrowed in 1986 and not yet returned, so the penaltyamounted 140,400 old Belgian francs. Some people believed the bill to be real,according to the report.

*Newspaper publisher De Persgroep's Hans Nijenhuis was appointed editor-in-chiefof Dutch daily AD. Nijenhuis nowworks for NRC Media, Het FinancieeleDagblad reports.Nijenhuis previously was managing editor of NRCNext.

*Dutch mobile operator Hollandsnieuwe published its new EU roaming rates fromApril 30, when EU regulations change. The provider offers prepaid bundles for afixed price, Telecompaper reports.

*The online advertising market in the Netherlands reached €1.5 billion inrevenues in 2015, a growth of 8.3% with respect to 2014, a study by industrygroup IAB Nederland shows.The growth is expected to continue in 2016. Online video is the best performingformat in display advertising with 28% revenue growth in 2015, totaling €98million in ad spend.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

*Jay Z, the largest shareholder of streaming service Tidal, is preparing alawsuit against the former owners of Norwegian streaming service WiMP, Dagens Næringsliv reports.Jay Z reportedly thinks that WiMP was not accurately represented, since thenumber of WiMP subscribers was lower than the 503,000 the buyer was told of,and that the business was in worse financial condition than expected. Thelargest former owner of WiMP and main addressee for the claim is Norwegianmedia group Schibsted. WiMP was sold to Jay Z's company Project Panther BidcoLtd. in January 2015 for $56 million.

*Danish tech company Planday has secured 100 million Danish kroner in freshcapital, Finans reports.The money will be used to continue the company's international expansion. Thelargest investors are the French investment company Idinvest Partners andSwedish venture capital company Creandum, known for its investments instreaming service Spotify. Planday has developed an app that can be used byhourly workers and their employers to keep track of working hours.

*Danish tech company Sitecore is up for sale, after a failed attempt at an IPOin the U.S., Børsen reports.The company has been one of the fastest growing businesses in Denmark, and asale is expected to reach about 4 billion Danish kroner. Possible buyersinclude the Swedish private equity fund EQT, and a sale could happen in thenext few weeks, according to the report.

*The Danish consumer ombudsman said that Denmark's three largest telecomcompanies have misled customers about the speeds of their Internet connections,Berlingske Business reports.The ombudsman has asked telecom companies TDC A/S, Telia and Telenor Denmark to correct theirmarketing.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

*The Italian Ministry of Economic Development opened a tender process for theselection of a DTT network operator for the Vatican City State, AdvancedTelevision reports.The winning network operator will reportedly need to make a 4 Mbps transmissioncapacity available to the Vatican via a national TV multiplex until 2032. Thecontract amounts to as much as €2.72 million per year.

* ItalianPrime Minister Matteo Renzi said his government will reveal the first oftenders to build a national fiber broadband network on April 7, Telecompaper reports,citing Il Sole 24 Ore. The tenderswill reportedly be limited to 7,300 "white zones" that were unable toattract investment from the private sector. State infrastructure firm Infratelwill distribute the subsidies for the project.

*Telefónica SA willdouble the excess data limit for its Movistar Vive and Fusion mobile users to1GB beginning on May 18, Telecompaper reports,citing Xataka Movil. Customers will need to pay €15 for the increased datalimit. Subscribers had to pay 1.5 eurocents per excess megabyte once theprevious limit of 500 MB has been reached.

EASTERN EUROPE

*Rostelecom PJSC willlaunch a process for the procurement of equipment and software to develop itsregional backbone and multiservice data networks, Telecompaper reports,citing Comnews.ru. The Russian national operator will reportedly spend 3.9billion Russian rubles for the acquisition. The hardware and software will besourced from companies such as HuaweiTechnologies Co. Ltd., Juniper Networks and .

*Information channel Ukraine Today will stop broadcasting via satellite April 1,Broadband TV News reports,citing SATKurier.pl and Mediabusiness. The 24-hour English language channelwill instead be reportedly developed as an online service. Some of the channel'sprograms will also be broadcast by the 1+1 International, a channel operated bythe 1+1 Media Group that also owns Ukraine Today.

*Deutsche Telekom AG'sHrvatski Telekom ddlaunched a new premium bundle named Magenta 1, Broadband TV News reports.The package includes Internet access, a selection of TV content via the MAXtvservice and free calls to all fixed networks. Residential and businesscustomers will be able to subscribe to the Magenta 1 package.

FEATURED NEWS

: Food Network islaunching more family-centric programming, notably kids versions of some of itsmost popular fare, as a means to burnish its brand, bolster coviewing and buildits audience now and into the future.

: Analysts weigh in on the companies' decisions tolet publishers of all sizes use their platforms to host articles.

: Telecom Italia has been plunged intoyet another crisis after CEO Marco Patuano resigned, following a standoff withshareholder Vivendi. Board member Flavio Cattaneo takes over amid rumors thatVivendi may seize full control of the Italian operator.

: Starz willunveil a new logo and tagline as part of a brand repositioning, while alsobringing sister service Encore, and its various multiplexes, under the flagshipStarz brand. SNL Kagan spoke to executives to learn more about the change.

: SNL Kagan presents a rundown of boardchanges in the media and communications industries.

: In this monthly feature, SNLKagan provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand andother online video initiatives in different Eastern European markets.

FEATURED RESEARCH

: A recent survey ofpublished U.S. broadband offerings suggests that while Internet serviceproviders didn't universally introduce increases in speeds in 2015, downstreamimprovements appear more common than the uneven trajectory of price increases.

: The groupof non-Nielsen-rated sports networks we track was the only genre to record anincrease in average coverage ratings year over year while the general networksposted the biggest decline in February, according to data from Rentrak's TVEssentials.

: Sports programming, the only genre to beconsidered DVR-proof, is driving up bills for subscribers and thinning marginsfor operators. Our 2015 analysis indicates that sports channels are the mostexpensive and among the most common on the average multichannel package.

:Nordic broadcasters are realigning network portfolios and increasing investmentin local content to boost license fee revenues per sub from low-single-digit ornegative growth to approach double-digit compound average growth rates.

Sylvia EdwardsDavis, Anne Freier, Kees Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to thisreport. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Someexternal links may require a subscription.