September 2017

International News



Despite widespread speculation to the c o n t r a r y , AT&T will not sell CNN after its acquisition of parent Time Warner closes, according to AT&T Entertainment Group chief John Stankey.

He also clarified that there will be no changes with respect to CNN's editorial independence.

Currently CNN has slipped into third place in primetime, behind a surging MSNBC and Fox News.

Stankey, a 30-year AT&T veteran, will oversee Time Warner's assets once AT&T's $85.4 billion acquisition is approved. He will become one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, overseeing a portfolio that includes HBO, Warner Bros., Turner networks & CNN.


Disney has agreed to acquire a majority ownership of the streaming and marketing service BAMTech, LLC for $1.58 billion. Disney will then launch its ESPNb r a n d e d multi-sport v i d e o streaming service (VoD) in early 2018, followed by a Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service in 2019. It will be Netflix-like services: One for films & TV shows and another for sports.

Probably in preparation for its new service, Disney has announced that it is ending its distribution agreement with Netflix for new releases.


James Murdoch has spoken up against U.S. president Donald Trump. "

What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people. I can't even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so," Murdoch wrote in his note.

While several top members of the business community have denounced Trump's comments, Murdoch's comments are significant because his family controls Fox News, which some see as pro-Trump.


The European Union's Court of Justice has issued 2 rulings:

1. The switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial (DTT) TV in Italy was based on resolutions and laws contrary to EU law.

2. The Italian DTT frequency allocation could interfere with others in the EU.

It has asked Italian courts to assess whether existing operators RAI & Mediaset have been assigned additional frequencies beyond what is strictly necessary for the continuity of their channels.


USA's second largest MSO - Charter Communications is said to be in the crosshairs of acquisition-minded Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group Corp, according to reports by Bloomberg.

SoftBank Masayoshi Son was reportedly keen to enter the US CATV market.

"Son's initial gambit failed: Charter on Sunday rebuffed his proposal to combine the company with Sprint Corp., which SoftBank controls," Bloomberg reports. "Undeterred, the Japanese billionaire is now mustering an offer from SoftBank to buy Charter outright."

Bidding for Charter, which has a market value of $101 billion, would mark the most ambitious target yet for Son, whose deal spree has made SoftBank one of the most debt-laden companies in Japan. While an early bet on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has delivered outsized returns, Sprint has lost billions since he bought control in 2013 while the Japanese company's investments in India (includes SnapDeal) have been largely written off.


A telecommunications conglomerate based in Europe is reportedly working up an offer to buy the No. 2 U.S. cable company. Reuters reports that Altice NV, based in the Netherlands, is in the early stages, along with its U.S. cable unit, of drafting a bid to pay around $200 billion for Charter Communications.

These reports reflect the ambitions of Altice's founder, Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, who made his fortune through debt-fueled acquisitions swiftly followed by cost cutting to boost profits.

Financing an acquisition of Charter or a merger of the company with Altice USA would be a major challenge for Drahi, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at $14 billion. Even without a takeover premium, Charter is worth more than $180 billion including debt, while Altice NV and Altice USA have almost as much debt as their combined market capitalizations, of 32 billion euros and $23 billion, respectively.


AsiaSat 9 is scheduled for launch on 28 / 29 September, on a Proton M/Breeze M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

AsiaSat 9 will replace AsiaSat 4 at 122 degrees East longitude.

Manufactured by Space Systems Loral, AsiaSat 9 has 28 Cband and 32 Ku-band transponders, and a Ka-band payload.


Avaaz - a campaigning group opposed to Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Sky has initiated a legal challenge to UK media regulator OFCOM's ruling that Sky would remain "fit and proper" to hold a UK license if it was bought out by 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has bid £11.7bn for the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

Rupert Murdoch had pressured the UK government, saying treatment of the bid would prove a test case for how far Britain is "open for business".

Murdoch's earlier attempt to buy out Sky in 2011 through News Corp. failed, due to extreme pressure brought about by the phone-hacking scandal. n