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Today β€” March 23rd 2019Broadband TV News: Telecom

Global piracy hits 190 billion visits in 2018

By Robert Briel

Global piracy numbers reached almost 190 billion pirate site visits in 2018, according to figures released by MUSO.

London-based MUSO collects data from billions of piracy infringements every day to help entertainment companies and rights owners see a bigger picture.

Over 189 billion visits were made to pirate sites in 2018. TV-related piracy took up 49.38% of all activity related to piracy, with only 17.9% for access to film.

Music was the third most pirated medium in 2018, with a 15.87% share. Only publishing and software were lower (11.49% and 6.16% respectively).

Almost 60 % of all piracy visits are to unlicensed web streaming sites, whereas public torrent networks now only equate to 13% of piracy visit activity.

The US was the nation with the most visits to pirate websites with well over 17 billion in 2018. Russia was only three billion visits behind the US with 14 billion visits. UK-specific data shows a decline, even in the streaming piracy
sector. While there were 4.5 billion visits recorded in 2017, this fell to 3.9 billion in 2018.

Andy Chatterley, CEO and co-founder of MUSO commented: “Digital piracy is still prevalent globally. Television is the most popular content for piracy and given the fragmentation of content across multiple streaming services perhaps this isn’t surprising.”

“Whilst it’s important to restrict the distribution of unlicensed content, there is a wealth of insight to be garnered from piracy audience data that gives a comprehensive view of global content consumption.

“Interestingly, in 2018 we have seen a ten percent increase in people bypassing search engines and going directly to the piracy destination of their choice. Simply focusing on take-downs is clearly a whack-a-mole approach and, while an essential part of any content protection strategy, it needs to be paired with more progressive thinking. With the right mindsight, piracy audiences can offer huge value to rights holders.”

The list of countries with the most pirate visits reads:

United States Of America: 17,380,038,844
Russian Federation: 14,468,624,277
Brazil: 10,283,315,744
India: 9,589,665,210
France: 7,339,837,375
Turkey: 7,335,249,001
Ukraine: 6,126,077,097
Indonesia: 6,075,238,380
United Kingdom: 5,750,562,133
Germany: 5,356,667,376

Police raid and arrest pirates in massive hit against illegal TV streaming

By Robert Briel

The Premier League, and national police in Spain, Denmark and Europol worked together in an international anti-piracy operation resulting in five arrests and uncovering a complex, international illegal IPTV business.

The Spanish national police has publicly announced the success of the largest investigation to-date into a global illegal IPTV streaming business. In an operation led by the Spanish national police in collaboration with police forces in the UK, Denmark, Europol, the Premier League and Irdeto, 14 locations were raided. As a result of the raids, five people have been arrested for crimes of belonging to a criminal organisation, intellectual property theft, fraud and money laundering.

Three of the members arrested lived in luxury housing developments in Spain’s southern region of Costa del Sol and owned several high-range cars. The profits of the illegal operation allowed members to live the high life – police estimate the group made €8 million since 2013.

The investigation uncovered a complex international technological infrastructure underpinning the illegal IPTV business, which comprised of 11 server farms distributed all over the world, some of them with more than 44 servers. The action has resulted in the shutdown of an illegal IPTV streaming business which allowed access to more than 800 television channels to subscribers in more than 30 countries, for subscriptions starting at €40 per month. The business was also found to have several associated profiles on social networks, promoting services to obtain more customers.

The investigation began in late 2015, initiated by the Premier League as part of a global effort to combat illegal online redistribution of its content. The focus was on a website based in Malaga, offering IPTV subscriptions with access to a multitude of international pay TV channels. It was subsequently revealed that the website was run by a specialised international criminal organisation with a presence in Spain, Denmark, United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

“The success of this investigation is a further example of the Premier League’s hugely impactful global anti-piracy programme. We are achieving unprecedented success in the protection of our media rights, with ground-breaking Court orders blocking illegal streams and numerous actions against suppliers of illegal Premier League content resulting in significant prison sentences,” said Premier League Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb.

“The support of the authorities is crucial in our anti-piracy efforts and we are very grateful to all the agencies that played a pivotal role in this operation, particularly the Spanish National Police for leading this collaborative investigation. We will continue to invest in cutting-edge technology and work with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders across the world to protect our rights.”

The illegal operation was found to have changed multiple servers periodically and gradually, creating new web pages in an attempt to go undetected by law enforcement.

In order to give an appearance of legality to the illicit business and to launder the profits, they created companies with legal activity and with a corporate purpose related to the provision of telecommunications services, internet and hardware. On the one hand, they had the technical and technological infrastructure necessary to be able to carry out their licit business (fibre operators) and also the illicit business (illegal IPTV subscriptions) and, on the other hand, the fact that they were authorized fibre operators served as an argument for customers to believe that they were also authorised for the distribution of foreign channels

During its operation, the business is estimated to have made roughly eight million euros, with those arrested in Spain residing in luxury residences on the Malaga coast. As part of the operation, police seized 12 high-end vehicles, real estate and blocked bank accounts. Of the five people arrested, three were arrested in Spain, detained and sent to prison following appearances in court.

“The scale of this investigation is testament to the seriousness of piracy as a crime and the impact it can have on the industry,” said Mark Mulready, Vice President – Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto.

“We will continue to support our customers, partners and law enforcement agencies to identify large-scale cross-border pirate networks and help combat piracy, resulting in the shutdown of these illegal businesses and hopefully directing consumers to legitimate and safe content sources.”

Discovery to launch Home & Garden TV in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Discovery will launch Home & Garden TV (HGTV) in Germany on June 6, 2019.

The channel, which shows programmes on topics such as house buying, renovating and interior design, will be offered as an unencrypted free-to-air channel via satellite and on the main cable networks, reports German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“We show how professionals are passionate about buying, renovating and beautifying houses,” Susanne Aigner-Drews, managing director of Discovery in Germany, told the paper. “It is the genuine life, which we accompany with cameras.”

Initially, mainly US shows will be broadcast with German original productions planned in the second step.

After Eurosport, men’s channel DMAX and women’s channel TLC, HGTV will be Discovery’s fourth advertising-funded free-to-air TV channel in Germany.

Yesterday β€” March 22nd 2019Broadband TV News: Telecom

Netgem revenues fall by a quarter

By Julian Clover

Net revenues at Netgem have fallen by a quarter after a reduction in operator investment in its Box TV product.

The French connected home specialist reported full-year net revenues of €19.6 million, a fall of 23%, and EBITDA of €2.7 million, 59% down on the previous year.

Launched 15 years ago, Netgem has 9 million homes in over 20 countries connected through Box TV.

But Netgem, which has never been afraid to shift its focus now wants to position itself as a platform for solutions and services for the connected home, meeting the needs of multiservice operators, offering ?à la carte? Connected Equipment and Operated Services.

It comes on the back of the emergence of new competition on services from Ultra High Speed Internet. The company points to the 17 million French households – some 40% of the country – that will run an Open Access model with multiple operators

Netgem has consequently created a venture with Caisse des Dépôts and Océinde to create Vitis, a multi-service and ultra-speed internet operator operating as Videofutur brand. Netgem believes the activities have high growth potential.

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex IPTV platform

By Julian Clover

Comcast is launching a new IPTV-only service to its internet-only customers.

Xfinity Flex comes with a 4K HDR streaming TV device, complete with Comcast’s award-winning voice remote, a single interactive guide for accessing popular streaming video and music choices, as well as Comcast’s home Wi-Fi, mobile, security, and automation services.

“Xfinity Flex will deepen our relationship with a certain segment of our Internet customers and provide them with real value,” said Matt Strauss, executive vice president, Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable. “For just five dollars a month, we can offer these customers an affordable, flexible, and differentiated platform that includes thousands of free movies and shows for online streaming, an integrated guide for accessing their favorite apps and connected home devices, and the ease of navigating and managing all of it with our voice remote.”

Xfinity is backed by more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows including live streamed channels from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. There is also access to apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Showtime.

Later, the full Xfinity X1 cable service will be available through the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.

Cellnex eyes French transmission company TDF

By Julian Clover

The Spanish infrastructure company Cellnex says there’s a “massive opportunity” in the European transmission tower business.

Funded by an increase in its share capital, the Spanish financial daily Expansión reports that its first target is the French company TDF. It’s anticipated the firm can be secured for €3,000 million plus €2,000 million debt.

TDF has approximately 13,900 sites, of which about half are television and the rest of mobile communications.

47% of its business comes from telecommunications, 26% from TV and 17% from radio.

TDF is currently working on the shift of the 14-year old network to DVB-T2. Trials of Ultra High Definition are underway with a view to migrating to high definition transmissions by 2023, ahead of the Paris Olympics one year later.

FTTH advances in Spain

By Chris Dziadul

Spain ended January with over 8.6 million FTTH lines, or 1.9 million more than a year earlier, according to data published by the regulator CNMC.

In January alone, the number of FTTH lines increased by 117,768. Movistar accounted for 3.95 million, or 45.6%, of the total number of FTTH as of this January.

Meanwhile, the number of DSL lines fell by 1.3 million in the year to January 31.

In the fixed broadband sector, Movistar, Orange (including Jazztel) and Vodafone (including Ono) accounted for a combined 88.9% of the total number of lines.

Insight TV launches in the Middle East on Jawwy TV

By Robert Briel

Insight TV is launching its linear HD channel in the Middle East on Intigral’s new OTT streaming service, Jawwy TV.

The deal was managed by SAWA Rights Management (SRM), a content provider and producer and new Insight TV channel distribution partner in the region. SRM offers a line-up of broadcast TV channels and third-party titles to platforms throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This is the first time that viewers in the region will have access to Insight TV’s full line up of authentic and topical content, 24/7.

Jawwy TV, a wholly owned OTT platform by Intigral Internatinal FZ LLC, provides subscribers with a wide range of entertainment from live TV and the latest on-demand premium content to digital sports. Subscribers will now be able to watch Insight HD TV via the Jawwy set-top box or the Jawwy TV app starting this April.

“We’re delighted to make this double whammy announcement,” says Graeme Stanley, COO, Insight TV.

“The launch of Insight TV in the MENA region and our new, non-exclusive distribution partnership with SRM will enable us to reach more viewers who are hungry for our adrenaline-fuelled content featuring action heroes, content creators, trending communities and inspirational topics.”

Ali Ajouz CEO of SRM adds, “Insight TV is an exciting prospect for viewers across the MENA region as its content is totally unique and compelling. We’re looking forward to working on future projects and making further announcements over the coming months.”

DTH in Russia: new insights

By Chris Dziadul

Russia has considered creating a state-owned satellite operator to serve homes unable to receive DTT services.

However, reports TelecomDaily, quoting Alexei Volin, deputy minister of communications and mass media, the idea was abandoned after negotiations with the satellite industry.

It adds that the main reason for doing so was that such an operator broadcasting unencrypted DTH signals would have dealt a serious blow to the satellite industry in Russia.

Volin said that at present 800,000 homes in the country are unable to receive DTT services. This is equivalent to around 1.6% of the population.

Satellite operators have offered to provide residents of remote areas access to the first and second DTT multiplexes for free and around 300,000 homes currently receive satellite TV services in this way.

Last December President Putin signed a law obliging DTH operators to provide the services on the first and second multiplexes to homes unable to receive DTT signals.

The initiative for this came from the operators themselves.

Cyfrowy Polsat sums up 2018

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat saw its revenues grow by more than 10% to reach PLN10.7 billion (€2.5 billion) in 2018.

At the same time, according to a summary of the year published by the company, its EBITDA increased by 7% to PLN3.7 billion.

Other highlights on the year included over 30% of customers using bundled offers; the number of multiplay customers increasing by 19% to 1.8 million; and churn falling to a record low of 7.6% annually. Furthermore, the total number of contracted pay-TV customers exceeded 5 million. ARPU in Q4 stood at PLN84, up 2.6% on 12 months earlier.

Commenting on the year, Tobias Solorz, CEO of Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel, said: “In 2018 we are able to implement all our plans and assumptions while strengthening our position on pay-TV, telecommunications as well as TV broadcasting and production markets. We continued growth in the segment of multiplay services while offering a wide range of services and attractive bundles to our customers. Our success is best demonstrated by the figures – we have nearly 1.8 million multiplay customers who have bundled together nearly 5.4 million pay-TV, mobile telephony and internet access services. Plus was the leader in the MNP area, and it was the only infrastructural operator to have recorded positive MNP balance last year. For the first time in history we were providing in excess of 14 million contract services while the churn level continued to decrease and reached a record-low level of 7.6%, which is indicative of high satisfaction of our customers with the services we provide to them. We can confidently say that we have the most loyal customers. And we would like to thank them very much for their trust”

He added: “In 2018 our operations were effectively supported by our strategic acquisitions. Adding Netia to Cyfrowy Polsat Group enabled our companies to embark on operational cooperation in key areas. Fibre-optic internet access, offering transfer rates of up to 900 Mbps, has been added to our smartDOM loyalty program, while Netia’s TV offer has been extended to include new TV stations from Polsat TV’s rich portfolio of channels and the package including the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League matches. Acquisition of shares in Eleven Sports Network’s Polish operations resulted in strengthening of our premium sports offer”.

Prima aims to block time shift functions in pay-TV

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech national broadcaster FTV Prima plans to block some the features available by default to pay-TV operators in the coming months.

View back functionality should only be available for programmes that have broadcast rights settled for this purpose.

According to Rozhlas.cz, FTV Prima’s idea is that the pay-TV customers would not watch channels from operators’ list.

Instead, their set-top box would reach into FTV Prima’s database.

This would give the broadcaster control over what viewers are watching and potentially offer then in future such services as personalised advertising.

TVP targets Lithuania

By Chris Dziadul

The Polish public broadcaster TVP has signed an agreement with Poland’s foreign ministry to launch a TV channel aimed at ethnic Poles in Lithuania.

In a statement, it says that work on the channel, known as TVP Wilno (‘TVP Vilnius’), has been taking place for a year.

It adds that the channel will be in the Polish language and produced by ethnic Poles in Lithuania.

Its offer will initially be based on TVP Polonia, the long-established channel targeting the Polish diaspora around the world.

In a separate development, TVP says that its supervisory board has suspended Piotr Palka, a member of its management board.

Chris Dziadul Reports: SPI/FilmBox’s rollercoaster ride

By Chris Dziadul

To say that the last few years have been eventful for SPI International/FilmBox is something of an understatement.

Having cut its teeth in Poland, it expanded to the rest of Central and Eastern Europe and now has a global presence.

Indeed, as recently as 2013 it was only operating in Poland and had just launched in Romania. Fast-forward to the present, following the recent addition of Moldova to its footprint through a deal with StarNet, it works with almost all operators in the CEE region and reaches 27 million homes.

Key to SPI International/FilmBox’s expansion has been entering into partnerships with key industry players. These currently include Amazon, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Turkcell and Vodafone.

Further afield, it has established a presence both in Africa and the Far East, and all told it globally now works with 1,400 operators in 45 countries. Its reach is currently 55 million homes, and according to the company it aims to almost double this figure to 100 million by 2022.

In terms of targets, SPI International/FilmBox also aims to double its current revenues by 2022, with digital accounting for 25% of the total.

2018 was an important year for the company in Poland, where it acquired Stopklatka through its subsidiary Kino Polska TV. The deal further strengthened Kino Polska TV’s position in the Polish market, where it had also recently become the sole owner of the DTT channel Zoom TV.

Looking to the future, SPI International/FilmBox is now aiming to increase its ad revenues, starting in the Czech Republic. It already has a strong presence in the country and earlier this year signed a new agreement with M7 Group’s Skylink, the leading DTH platform in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In another important development, the company has also just opted for Evrideo’s cloud-based playout platform to distribute its proprietary channel Gametoon HD.

29% of Indonesian viewers use pirated TV boxes

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

In a recent study of the online content viewing behaviour of Indonesian consumers, it was revealed that 29% of consumers use a TV box which can be used to stream pirated television and video content.

These TV boxes, also known as Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs), allow users to access hundreds of pirated television channels and video-on-demand content. Such illicit streaming devices often come pre-loaded with pirated applications which are either free or charge low subscription fees, which then provide ‘plug-and-play’ access to pirated content. The survey found that IndoXXI Lite, LiveStream TV and LK 21 Reborn are among the most popular pirate applications amongst Indonesian consumers. More alarmingly, 55% of respondents admitted to using free streaming services, with the IndoXXI Lite app (29%) in particular representing a larger userbase than all local legitimate online video platforms combined (19%).

The survey, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), and conducted by YouGov, also highlights the detrimental effects of streaming piracy on legitimate subscription video services. Of the 29% of consumers who purchased an illicit streaming device for free streaming, two in three (66%) stated that they cancelled all or some of their subscription to legal pay TV services. Specifically, 33% asserted that they cancelled their subscriptions to an Indonesian-based online video service as a direct consequence of owning an ISD. International subscription services, which include pan-Asia online offerings, were also impacted – more than one in three (31%) Indonesian users abandoned subscriptions in favour of ISD purchases.

The surge in popularity of ISDs is not unique to Indonesia. Similar YouGov consumer research has been undertaken in other South East Asian countries where high levels of ISD usage was also found: 15% of Singapore consumers, 20% of Hong Kong consumers, 25% of Malaysian consumers, 28% of Filipino consumers and 34% consumers of Taiwanese consumers use a TV box which can be used to stream pirated television and video content.

“The illicit streaming device (ISD) ecosystem is impacting all businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content”, said Louis Boswell, CEO of AVIA. “ISD piracy is also organised crime, pure and simple, with crime syndicates making substantial illicit revenues from the provision of illegally re-transmitted TV channels and the sale of such ISDs. Consumers who buy ISDs are not only funding crime groups, but also wasting their money when the channels stop working. ISDs do not come with a ‘service guarantee’, no matter what the seller may claim.”

Roy Soetanto, Chief Marketing Officer of Catchplay Indonesia stated: “Putting a stop to piracy will need the cooperation of the whole industry. It has been a pleasure for Catchplay to have the opportunity to work with AVIA and be a part of this important initiative to support the anti-piracy movement”.

The damage that content theft does to the creative industries is without dispute. However, the damage done to consumers themselves, because of the nexus between content piracy and malware, is only beginning to be recognised. In late 2018, the European Union Intellectual Property Office released a report on malware found on suspected piracy websites and concluded that such websites “commonly distribute various kinds of malware luring users into downloading and launching such files”. The research, which worked closely with the European Cybercrime Centre at Europol, concluded that “the threat landscape for malware distributed via copyright-infringing websites is more sophisticated than it might appear at first glance”.

Cancelling legitimate subscription services and paying less for access to pirated content is fraught with risks, as Neil Gane, the General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), comments, “Piracy websites and ISDs typically have a click-happy user base, and are being used more and more as clickbait to distribute malware. Unfortunately the appetite for free or cheap subscription pirated content blinkers users from the very real risks of malware infection.”

Of those consumers who own an ISD, more than two in five of respondents (44%) claim to have purchased their ISD from one of the largest Southeast Asia-based ecommerce stores. Also, one in three (31%) of ISD owners say they acquired their devices via one of the world’s most popular social media platforms.

In addition to the short-term problem of cancelled subscriptions is a longer term problem – namely, many of the cord-cutters are young. The survey found that free streaming apps are particularly favoured among 18-24 year-olds, with almost two in three (58%) cancelling legitimate subscription services as a result of owning ISDs, especially international online subscriptions (34%).

Enrique Rodriguez nominated as director Telenet

By Robert Briel

The Board of Directors of Telenet are nominating Enrique Rodriguez, EVP and CTO at Liberty Global, to be appointed as director of Telenet Group Holding NV in the run up to the general meeting of 24 April 2019.

The nomination follows after Diederik Karsten resigned voluntarily on 15 February 2019,

Enrique Rodriguez is the Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at Liberty Global, he joined the company in July 2018.

Before this, he was CEO and a member of the Board of Directors at TiVo. His experience in the entertainment sector doesn’t stop here: from 2015 to 2017 he was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at AT&T Entertainment Group.

The years before this, he worked at, among others, Sirius XM, Cisco Systems’ Service Provider Video Technology Group, Microsoft and Thomason/RCA. He started his career after his studies as engineer at the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey (Mexico).

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Telecom

24i Media acquires StreamOne

By Robert Briel

24i Media has acquired StreamOne, a media technology provider that fuels the video applications of one of the largest publishers in the Netherlands, TMG.

This is 24i’s third acquisition in twelve months.

“The acquisition of StreamOne’s technology is a leap forward for 24i in its ambition to innovate and optimize the user experience, user interaction and consumer value of tomorrow’s OTT services. The OTT chain is really complex especially for broadcasters and content owners. With this acquisition we can simplify the creation and launch of video services for our customers,” said Martijn van Horssen, CEO at 24i.

“The StreamOne architecture and expertise throughout the OTT production chain improves our cooperation with and services to our strategic partners. With the StreamOne technology we can create future-proof and seamless integrations with our technology partners. StreamOne’s technology stack also accelerates our product roadmap with new modular functionalities and strengthens the architecture of our technology stack.”

Founded in 2012, StreamOne deploys a suite of tools to publish videos to any device, anytime and anywhere. StreamOne offers an interface that has plug & play integrations with third-parties for publishers and broadcasters.

“Today marks a transformational moment for StreamOne, and I’m delighted to join forces with one of the leading providers of video streaming apps – a global brand that is shaping the future of OTT. 24i’s proven track record, its extensive partner network and its continuous drive for innovation, guarantees a strong fundament and fertile soil for our creative ideas and technology vision to accelerate the value creation of our innovative technology stack,” said Ruud van der Linden, Founder and CEO of StreamOne.

“I am excited for this incredible opportunity to contribute to accelerate and scale 24i’s business and provide a new class of next-generation OTT technology to enhance our partner and customer relationships worldwide.”

Time to book your ANGA COM video

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

During ANGA COM 2019, Broadband TV News will be filming a series of HD video interviews of 3-5-minute finished edited duration.

Broadband TV News editor Julian Clover will conduct the interviews to bring out the best in your company.

Each video will feature prominently in our post-show coverage and will be carried on www.broadbandtvnews.com, our daily newsletter and social media for the month after the show.

This unique promotion allows you to tell your story to our audience and have it work for you long after the show has ended.

Read More in our Media Information Sheet

Roundup Pricing

US giants take β€˜just’ 40% of Nordic streaming market

By Julian Clover

The Nordic region is seeing local players able to rise above the challenge of US streaming giants Netflix and Amazon.

Stockholm-based consultancy Mediavision found that between them Netflix and Amazon hold a share of approximately 40% of all Nordic online video subscriptions.

This compares to the 72% share of the European market as a whole reported by Kagan.

“Netflix and Amazon’s dominant position on the European market, as opposed to the Nordics, can be attributed to several factors,” says Mediavision. “For instance, Amazon Prime Video has not been available on the Nordic market for as long as its competitors. Thus far, Amazon Prime Video make up a minuscule share of Nordic subscribers in comparison to Netflix.”

Local player Viaplay outsizes Amazon Prime Video many times over with its nearly 1.3 million subscribers and its user base has grown rapidly over the last few years.

Netflix testing new UK pricing

By Julian Clover

It’s emerged that Netflix is testing a number of new pricepoints on UK consumers.

Currently, the streaming service has three tiers available, Basic, costing £5.99 per month, Standard at £7.99 and Premium for £9.99.

However, some would-be customers have begun to notice the headline rates vary according to which browser or device they use to sign in. Prices have varied by between £1 and £2.

It is not the first time that Netflix has tried out various pricing strategies before bringing in an across the board increase in a particular market.

In a statement, Netflix told Broadband TV News: “We are testing slightly different prices to better understand how members value Netflix. Not everyone will see this test and we may never roll out these specific prices beyond this test. Our goal is to ensure that Netflix is always great value for money.”

Earlier this month, Broadband TV News reported a price test was underway in Poland with reports of a similar scheme in Italy.

In January, Netflix introduced increases for its US subscribers with Basic, Standard and Premium plans all rising by between one and two dollars.

EU regulators concerned at Liberty Global/Vodafone deal

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The European Commission is said to have strong concerns against the €18.4 billion cable deal between Liberty Global and Vodafone.

Vodafone will receive a warning from EU regulators about possible anti-competitive effects, reports Reuters with reference to two people familiar with the matter.

The warning, via a statement of objections setting out the European Commission’s concerns, is expected to be conveyed to the companies shortly, the sources said, ahead of a June 3, 2019 deadline for the EU executive’s regulatory approval.

Vodafone is likely to offer concessions addressing the competition authority’s concerns about the deal.

In December 2019, the European Commission decided to open a full-scale, in-depth investigation into Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable assets in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. The EU authority is concerned that the takeover could reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic.

The takeover plans encountered strong opposition in the German telecommunications industry. Deutsche Telekom and Tele Columbus called for the deal to be blocked because of its negative impact on competition. Telefónica Deutschland and cable operator association FRK demanded strong conditions to be imposed.

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