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Eurobites: Telefónica Considers OTT Route to Exploit Own Content

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: investor calls for new BT boss; Altice moves towards full buyout of SFR; European Commission approves use of VULA products in Germany.

  • Telefónica is considering the launch of a Netflix-style OTT streaming service in Europe to make better use of its content portfolio, according to a report on Broadband TV News that cites Spanish newspaper El Pais. Currently, the operator's content only appears on its Movistar+ service, which, in terms of the European market, is only available in Spain. Telefonica is intending to invest €70 million (US$82.5 million) in producing its own content over the course of the next year.

  • A leading investor in BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is calling for a new man at the helm, telling the Daily Telegraph that CEO Gavin Patterson is "not the right man for the job." According to the report, the unnamed investor added: "What BT actually needed was a guy who could take on the regulator, not a retailer and marketer." BT's share price took a hammering at the start of 2017 after revelations that the financial irregularities at its Italian unit would incur a £530 million ($661 million) write-down in its results. (See Dodgy Italian Job Savages BT Earnings, Share Price Tanks.)

  • Altice , the France-based cable operator with global ambitions, has taken its stake in SFR to beyond 95%, paving the way for a full buyout, Reuters reports. Altice acquired its controlling stake in SFR, France's second-largest network operator, in late 2014 for $16.7 billion and then merged it with its existing French cable operation, Numericable. (See Altice Takes M&A Route to Impose New Strategy.)

  • The European Commission has approved the use of three German virtual access products that will allow the use of vectoring technology in a state-funded high-speed broadband rollout. Vectoring gets the best out of legacy copper lines, but one of its side-effects is that rival operators are no longer able to gain physical access to the individual copper lines once they have been subject to vectoring, hence the need for virtual unbundled local access (VULA) products. The Commission has now examined three VULA offerings, from Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), DNS:Net and NetCologne respectively, and given them the green light for use in the national next-generation access (NGA) program.

  • Germany's ADVA Optical Networking has completed its $69 million acquisition of fellow optical and carrier Ethernet vendor MRV Communications. ADVA believes the deal will strengthen its offer in the metro optical transport market. (See ADVA CEO: How We Can Capitalize on MRV Deal.)

  • SoundCloud, the Berlin-based music streaming service that has struggled to make its hipness and popularity pay, says it has raised new funding from investment bank Raine Group and Temasek, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. While the financial details have not been announced, the As BBC reports that the amount raised was $170 million.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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