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October 2017

International News



The UK currently hosts over 1,000 European TV channels, most of which are not consumed in the UK. Following Brexit, these 'exported' TV channels need new licenses, as the Ofcom license will not be valid for EU.

The Netherlands seems to be the best alternative to uplink these channels. The others are Ireland, Estonia, Malta and Belgium.


A new free-to-air TV channel, FreeSports, has launched in the UK showing up to 10 live football games every week.

The channel, operated by the team behind Premier Sports, becomes the only FTA sports channel available on Freeview, TalkTalk and BT. Sky and FreeSat are also carrying the channel, but not Virgin Media.

General manager Richard Sweeney commented: "We are super excited to be launching this new free-to-air sports channel which marks a first for our business and a first in the UK TV market. We believe our new service will be welcomed and enjoyed by UK consumers, 139 many of whom don't have access to a dedicated live sports channel".


Recent studies have found Singaporeans to be among the top consumers of pirated online content around the world.

A new consumer research study released by research company, Sycamore, at a Casbaasponsored event has pointed out the following:

 Almost 50% admit to online piracy, with 39% stating they currently illegally stream (OTT / VoD) or download movies, TV shows or live sports channels.

 14% admit to using an illicit streaming STB.

The Sycamore study included a survey of 1,000 respondents in Singapore, weighted to be representative of the population

" T h e implications of these results are significant", commented CASBAA's chief policy officer John Medeiros. "Admitted usage of TV boxes which provide illegal access to TV series, movies and live sports events is much greater in Singapore than in other developed markets, such as the US and the UK.


21st Century Fox's proposed bid to acquire the remaining shares in Sky that it does not already own will be referred to competition regulators. The deal will be examined "on media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards grounds". The Competition and Markets Authority will provide its response within 24 weeks of the referral. The government will then decide whether the deal may proceed. James Murdoch said he was happy "we have a clock on this now".

Fox already owns 39% of Sky but wants full control of the European satellite broadcaster. However, some fear it would give Rupert Murdoch's family, which controls Fox, too large a presence in the UK media.

James Murdoch has warned the government not to turn its back on 21st Century Fox's bid for Sky as the UK prepares to leave the European Union, claiming Brexit makes it more important than ever that the country attracts investment.

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader and long-time Murdoch critic, said the government "must not now let itself by cowed by threats from the Murdochs."


After months of speculation, Verizon Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam confirmed that his company was no longer exploring a potential tie-up with Comcast Corp. or Charter Communications Inc.

The wireless operator has "moved on" from looking at cable companies, McAdam said at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York.

In August, Comcast & Charter poured some cold water on the telecommunications industry's merger mania with an unusual new arrangement to collaborate on their entry into the mobile market, pledging to work together on any transaction with a wireless company in the next year. That means if Comcast decides to acquire, say, Sprint Corp., it'll need Charter's consent. Or if Verizon were to try to buy Charter, Comcast could block the transaction.


In the USA, Amazon has started buying both local and foreign TV channels. Current efforts are focused on small TV stations that have limited local reach, and hence are available at a very low price.

The aim is to provide varied content on Amazon's streaming service.

Similar talks are reportedly on at a global level too. Independent channels not directly tied to traditional distribution bundles of pay TV providers are said to be specifically targeted by Amazon. Some major announcements are expected soon.


U.S. telecom g i a n t A T & T Inc. T is reportedly exploring a strategic option to sell a major part of its Pay-TV operations in Latin America, per Reuters. The company acquired these assets as part of its $49 billion takeover of the satellite TV operator DIRECTV.

Currently, AT&T owns 93% of Sky Brasil along with PanAmericana satellite and cable TV services. The company has 13.6 million subscribers across Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Uruguay. Notably, Brazil solely commands 5.52 million customers 929% of Pay TV). In the second quarter of 2017, AT&T's Latin American business generated $1.4 billion in revenues, half of which came from Sky Brasil. These businesses could fetch AT&T $8 billion if sold.

AT&T plans to acquire U.S. media behemoth Time Warner Inc. for about $85.4 billion. If the deal materializes, AT&T's debt will exceed $180 billion.

The Time warner merger will require approval from both - the USA & Brazil. CADE, Brazil's antitrust agency does not permit common ownership between service providers & content developers.

Meanwhile, AT&T has decided not to sale Pay-TV assets in Mexico. The company already has a strong foothold in the country's wireless market. Leveraging, wireless and Pay-TV services, AT&T is looking to extensively explore the lucrative Mexican telecom market.


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