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Letters reveal Parliament split ahead of European Defence Fund vote

By Alexandra Brzozowski

Ahead of a crucial European Parliament vote on the European Defence Fund (EDF) on Thursday (17 April), MEPs are at odds over the issue of parliamentary scrutiny, internal communication seen by EURACTIV suggests.

New DTT tender in Ukraine

By Chris Dziadul

The Ukrainian regulator National Council is organising a tender for two FTA channels on the DVB-T2 (MPEG-4) network in Odessa.

In a release, it says that an announcement about the tender has appeared in the newspaper Voice of Ukraine, adding that the channels in question will occupy the 11th and 12th positions of 27 digital TV channels.

On air for 24 hours daily, they will be required to offer local and regional content.

Participants in the tender have been requested to submit their applications between May 17 and June 18.

Results of the competition will be announced on August 16.

New DTT tender in Ukraine

By Chris Dziadul

The Ukrainian regulator National Council is organising a tender for two FTA channels on the DVB-T2 (MPEG-4) network in Odessa.

In a release, it says that an announcement about the tender has appeared in the newspaper Voice of Ukraine, adding that the channels in question will occupy the 11th and 12th positions of 27 digital TV channels.

On air for 24 hours daily, they will be required to offer local and regional content.

Participants in the tender have been requested to submit their applications between May 17 and June 18.

Results of the competition will be announced on August 16.

Russian channels launch in Luxembourg

By Chris Dziadul

Post Luxembourg has added five Russian channels to its IPTV offer PostTV.

Customers can add the channels – RTR Planeta, TV1000, Channel One Russia Worldwide, Carousel Int and Ren TV – to their ‘Entertain Me’ package, which they can customise and terminate their subscription on a monthly basis.

Commenting on the development, Guillaume Wilke, product manager at Post, said: “The launch of Russian channels is a continuation of our Entertain Me product strategy: being able to offer a TV product that meets everyone’s needs in a multicultural environment.”

Russian channels launch in Luxembourg

By Chris Dziadul

Post Luxembourg has added five Russian channels to its IPTV offer PostTV.

Customers can add the channels – RTR Planeta, TV1000, Channel One Russia Worldwide, Carousel Int and Ren TV – to their ‘Entertain Me’ package, which they can customise and terminate their subscription on a monthly basis.

Commenting on the development, Guillaume Wilke, product manager at Post, said: “The launch of Russian channels is a continuation of our Entertain Me product strategy: being able to offer a TV product that meets everyone’s needs in a multicultural environment.”

Russian channels launch in Luxembourg

By Chris Dziadul

Post Luxembourg has added five Russian channels to its IPTV offer PostTV.

Customers can add the channels – RTR Planeta, TV1000, Channel One Russia Worldwide, Carousel Int and Ren TV – to their ‘Entertain Me’ package, which they can customise and terminate their subscription on a monthly basis.

Commenting on the development, Guillaume Wilke, product manager at Post, said: “The launch of Russian channels is a continuation of our Entertain Me product strategy: being able to offer a TV product that meets everyone’s needs in a multicultural environment.”

Business Quietly Returns to Saudi Arabia After Khashoggiโ€™s Murder

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED, STANLEY REED and DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI

Six months after agents from Saudi Arabia dismembered the writer Jamal Khashoggi, investors are no longer shying away from doing business with the kingdom.

As Netflix Contends With More Rivals, Hulu Stands Out

By EDMUND LEE

With 148 million subscribers and a value of $157 billion, Netflix is the leader in streaming. But Hulu, now controlled by Disney, has something Netflix doesn’t: ads. And they are worth a lot.

New mobile TV service for Kosovo

By Chris Dziadul

The Kosovan incumbent telco PT Kosovo (PTK) has launched a mobile TV service.

It employs the Vala TV brand, which has until now been used solely for the company’s multicast IPTV service.

Technology for the service is being provided by Antik Technology though its Albanian distributor Advantech and consists of the headend part – HW HEVC transcoders, CDN streaming platform for live and catch-up, MaXIM provisioning system and apps for Android and iOS.

In due course the project will be expanded to large screens via STBs and TV apps.

This is Antik’s second project in the Balkan region, with the company having already deployed a mobile TV platform for the Albanian public broadcaster RTSH.

New mobile TV service for Kosovo

By Chris Dziadul

The Kosovan incumbent telco PT Kosovo (PTK) has launched a mobile TV service.

It employs the Vala TV brand, which has until now been used solely for the company’s multicast IPTV service.

Technology for the service is being provided by Antik Technology though its Albanian distributor Advantech and consists of the headend part – HW HEVC transcoders, CDN streaming platform for live and catch-up, MaXIM provisioning system and apps for Android and iOS.

In due course the project will be expanded to large screens via STBs and TV apps.

This is Antik’s second project in the Balkan region, with the company having already deployed a mobile TV platform for the Albanian public broadcaster RTSH.

Telekom Slovenije head Rudolf Skobe resigns

By Chris Dziadul

Rudolf Skobe, the president of the management board at Telekom Slovenije, has handed in his resignation.

According to Delo, his position will be taken over by Tomaz Seljak, the current VP of the management board, until a successor is found.

Quoting Skobe, it adds that after 23 years of working in the Telekom Slovenije Group and more than six and a half years in the position of president he felt he no longer had the complete trust among all key stakeholders in the company.

There had been speculation about Skobe’s future for several weeks following the disclosure of a forensic review that uncovered losses of several million euros at Telekom Slovenije.

Telekom Slovenije head Rudolf Skobe resigns

By Chris Dziadul

Rudolf Skobe, the president of the management board at Telekom Slovenije, has handed in his resignation.

According to Delo, his position will be taken over by Tomaz Seljak, the current VP of the management board, until a successor is found.

Quoting Skobe, it adds that after 23 years of working in the Telekom Slovenije Group and more than six and a half years in the position of president he felt he no longer had the complete trust among all key stakeholders in the company.

There had been speculation about Skobe’s future for several weeks following the disclosure of a forensic review that uncovered losses of several million euros at Telekom Slovenije.

Telekom Slovenije head Rudolf Skobe resigns

By Chris Dziadul

Rudolf Skobe, the president of the management board at Telekom Slovenije, has handed in his resignation.

According to Delo, his position will be taken over by Tomaz Seljak, the current VP of the management board, until a successor is found.

Quoting Skobe, it adds that after 23 years of working in the Telekom Slovenije Group and more than six and a half years in the position of president he felt he no longer had the complete trust among all key stakeholders in the company.

There had been speculation about Skobe’s future for several weeks following the disclosure of a forensic review that uncovered losses of several million euros at Telekom Slovenije.

Keeping Rhythm, and Hanging It in a Gallery

By JANET MORRISSEY

Drummers from bands like Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are using new technology to turn their performances into visual art. All it takes is a few open-shutter cameras, some colorful lights and a killer beat.

Hulu buys back AT&T stake

By Julian Clover

AT&T has sold its minority stake in Hulu back to the streaming video joint venture.

The transaction values Hulu at $15 billion (€13.3 billion) with AT&T’s 9.5% holding valued at $1.43 billion.

It’s the latest shift in the alignment of US Media following the AT&T takeover of Warner and the split of Fox.

“We thank AT&T for their support and investment over the past two years and look forward to collaboration in the future. WarnerMedia will remain a valued partner to Hulu for years to come as we offer customers the best of TV, live and on demand, all in one place,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer.

No governmental or third party approvals were required.

Game of Thrones spat in Russia

By Chris Dziadul

Subscribers to Russia’s VimpelCom (Beeline TV) have lost their access to Fox TV channels on the eve of the final season of Game of Thrones.

Kommersant reports that this is a result of a dispute between Media Telecom, the joint venture between National Media Group (NMG) and Rostelecom that holds the exclusive rights to Fox TV channels in Russia, and VimpelCom.

It adds that the latter has accused Media Telecom of an eight-fold increase in the cost of the channels and adopting a “manipulative approach”.

However, this has been denied by Media Telecom, whose DG Alexander Kosarim insists that his company did everything possible to reach an agreement by sending VimpelCom a “comprehensive market offer”.

Talks between the two parties are still on going and in the meantime VimpelCom has offered its customers a one-week’s free subscription to Amediateka, which like Fox is also showing the final season of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones spat in Russia

By Chris Dziadul

Subscribers to Russia’s VimpelCom (Beeline TV) have lost their access to Fox TV channels on the eve of the final season of Game of Thrones.

Kommersant reports that this is a result of a dispute between Media Telecom, the joint venture between National Media Group (NMG) and Rostelecom that holds the exclusive rights to Fox TV channels in Russia, and VimpelCom.

It adds that the latter has accused Media Telecom of an eight-fold increase in the cost of the channels and adopting a “manipulative approach”.

However, this has been denied by Media Telecom, whose DG Alexander Kosarim insists that his company did everything possible to reach an agreement by sending VimpelCom a “comprehensive market offer”.

Talks between the two parties are still on going and in the meantime VimpelCom has offered its customers a one-week’s free subscription to Amediateka, which like Fox is also showing the final season of Game of Thrones.

Flix Snip inks MegaFon deal

By Chris Dziadul

The premium, curated short-form content service Flix Snip has further expanded its reach into the Russian mobile market by signing an agreement with MegaFon.

As a result, it is now available to MegaFon’s OTT, mobile and SVOD subscribers.

Commenting on the development, Flix Snip founder and CEO Sebastien Perioche said: “Since its launch, Flix Snip has been very well received in the Russian market and we’re pleased to partner with MegaFon, complementing and adding value to its current “Watch On The Go” offerings.

“MegaFon customers will now have a new way to enjoy the very best curated, short films, series and short-form content for life’s little breaks.”

Flix Snip features high quality, short format entertainment content, 20 minutes or less, in all genres including drama, animation, children’s, family, comedy, science fiction and horror. Flix Snip will consist of 100 short form movies at launch with additional titles, films and series, to be added weekly. Compiled from distributors and filmmakers around the globe, content will be localised and dubbed into Russian.

Flix Snip made its debut in Russia earlier this year on Rostelecom, and with this latest launch on MegaFon is now available to over 70 million viewers in the country.

Andrey Koushnarev, head of MegaFon TV Service, added: “By partnering with Flix Snip, we can offer our premium customers quality content that complements our current offerings, which they can enjoy while they are in transit, on their commutes, anywhere and anytime, perfect for their busy lives”.

Plustelka to become hybrid TV service

By Chris Dziadul

Slovakia’s Towercom plans to make its pay-DTT platform Plustelka into a hybrid TV service.

Zive reports that the main channels it offers will continue to be provided via DVB-T, while thematic channels will be made available on the internet. These changes will require the introduction of a new Ultra HD set-top box with such features as an archive and rewind.

Quoting Andrej Dolezal, the director of innovation at Towercom, Zive adds that Plustelka currently has around 14,000 paid customers, with 5% taking an additional package that it introduced last year.

It expects to launch the new box in Q2 this year but has yet to decide on whether it will be sold to or rented by customers.

The hybrid part of the offer will consist of dozens of thematic channels and it is possible that viewers will also be given the option of subscribing to such services as Netflix and HBO Go.

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