March 2018

International News



AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has hinted t h a t President Donald Trump's dislike for CNN could be at the centre of the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit to block AT&T's $85 billion merger with Time Warner Inc.

Stephenson also pointed out that, prior to his appointment within Trump's administration, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim had publicly stated that he saw no antitrust issues with the deal, which is considered to be a vertical merger similar to the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger that was OKed with conditions by the DOJ.

"We were obviously surprised when the government decided to try to block the merger because it is a classic vertical merger between two companies that don't even compete with one another. With 50 years of legal precedent, this is the type of business combination that the government has consistently approved with appropriate conditions. While we remain open to finding some reasonable solutions to address the government's concerns, we do expect this case will ultimately be litigated in court," said Stephenson.

Turner CEO John Martin has also critisised the DOJ lawsuit.


Comcast's v o i c e - controlled STB has received high usage during the recent Winter Olympics.

Voice is not only growing as a way to access information about the games on Comcast's X1 set-top, it's overtaking the old-fashioned way of pressing buttons on your remote.

Comcast's voice remotes work with the company's X1 set-top box, which is capable of running Netflix and other apps, and is now approaching 60% of the company's total STB install base. Satchell said that Comcast had delivered close to 20 million voice remotes to its customers & it becomes habitual really quickly.


Qatar's beIN Sports has been fined $22 million by Egypt.

Rather than transmit the coverage on Egypt's Nilesat satellite, viewers were required to point their dishes at Qatar's Suhail Sat satellite.

Egypt's Competition Protection & Prevention of Monopolistic Practices board ruled that beIN had breached the competition protection law, damaging both Nilesat and giving the consumers unjustified expenses.


Vodafone is in early stage discussions with Liberty Global, to buy certain overlapping continental European assets owned by Liberty Global.

By combining the former Kabel Deutschland cable network Vodafone acquired in 2013 with Liberty Global's Unitymedia, Vodafone will create a powerful wired + mobile operator in Germany, competing head-on with Deutsche Telekom. Currently, Vodafone's German cable network covers 13 federal states with Unitymedia serving the remaining 3 states.

A merger between Germany's 2 largest cable operators Deutsche Telekom & Unitymedia is ruled out due to local regulatory concerns.

The European Commission in Brussels will probably rule on the transaction because of the size and geographical footprint of the companies involved.


Arris has struck a deal to sell its STB manufacturing plant in New Taipei City, Taiwan, to longtime partner Pegatron Corp. Financial terms were not announced.

By end 2018, ARRIS will buy its STBs from Pegatron's Suzhou factory instead, at a lower cost.

Arris had received the Taiwan facility as part of its $2.35 billion acquisition of Motorola Home in 2013. Arris moved some of its production there following its purchase of Pace plc in early 2016, while still using a contract manufacturing model that had been part of Pace's strategy.

With the sale of the Taiwan factory, ARRIS is will have sold all its manufacturing plants, except in Brazil.


Canal+ International has launched a Pay-TV bouquet in Myanmar (Burma), targeting 1 million subscribers over the next 5 years.

Two packages are available: 36 channels for Euros 2.80 per month, and 80 channels for Euros 4.80 per month.

100,000 customers have already enrolled, since its February 6 launch.


G l o b a l c i t i z e n s movement A v a a z , challenged in court, Ofcom's decision allowing Fox & the Murdoch family to fully control Sky.

The judge admitted the case for a quick hearing & over-ruled Ofcom's stand that Avaaz's plea was without merit.

Ricken Patel , CEO of Avaaz, said: "If the Murdoch empire is fit and proper to hold broadcasting licences after massive hacking, harassment and hush money, then virtually anyone is. Ofcom has put licensing standards in the gutter with this decision. They got down there by steadily shifting the goalposts to ensure the Murdochs passed the test."


MTV UK is launching a new channel for 16 to 34 year-olds.

MTV OMG (Obsessed with Music & Gossip) will feature current hits and celebrity gossip.

It will launch on March 1 and be available as a pay channel on Sky and Virgin Media.


Comcast has filed a motion at the U.S. Court of Appeals to expedite the hearing an appeal of its case at the International Trade Commission.

In November, the ITC issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting import of certain DVR hardware and software. That followed an initial finding that various respondents, including Comcast, had violated 2 TiVo patents that describe "Interactive Television Program Guide with Remote Access," while 4 other patents asserted by TiVo/Rovi in the case "were found to have no violation at this point."

As Comcast awaits a hearing, it has disabled a feature from its Stream app for mobile devices & web browsers that enables customers to schedule DVR recordings remotely.

Comcast is arguing that the ITC overstepped its authority with the ruling.


German D i g i t a l Terrestrial Transmission operator Media Broadcast will launch a DTH satellite version of its DVB-T2 platform 'Freenet TV' on Astra (19.2° East), by end March 2018.

On DTH also, Freenet TV will be priced the same: Euro 5.75 per month.

On Astra, Freenet TV will compete with the HD+ platform operated by Astra satellite operator SES and M7 Group's new Diveo platform launched last week. n