In a move to rival Netflix in the Middle East, MBC Group is boosting its Shahid streaming service, hiring a former Hulu executive to lead and planning a raft of original Arabic content. Canal+ is reportedly planning to re-launch its Canal Play SVoD service in France, having secured regulatory approval for exclusive content on the platform. Meanwhile, stateside, Hulu is celebrating a huge boost in subscribers to the end of 2018, up 48% to reach 25m.

Twitter has struck a deal with The PGA Tour to live-stream and distribute almost 140 hours of free golf content, expanding an existing agreement, while Discovery's Eurosport has boosted its deal with ATP Tennis for Russia. 

RTL Group has expanded its portfolio of ad-tech investments, buying ad-insertion specialist Yospace in a €29m deal. NBC is pushing further with its strategy of reducing US commercial airtime, saying it will slash advertising 20% by 2020.

In Germany, ZDF has bought indie production company Off the Fence; the UK's Channel Four has bought the 50% of music channel group The Box that it did not already own from partner Bauer Media; Discovery has bought a 71% stake in cycling MCN Play Sports; and Sky has acquired a stake in pay TV password-protection tech group, Synamedia.

In the on-going race for exclusive premium drama, Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) and the UK's FilmNation Entertainment have agreed a new premium scripted TV production joint venture for global audiences. Operating under the FilmNation brand, the venture gives Scandinavian NENT a strong foothold in the UK production space.

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Industry Events

CES: 8-11 January 2019, Las Vegas, USA
Prime Time: 30 January-1 February 2019, Ottawa, Canada**
Berlinale Film Fest & Market: 7-17 February 2019, Berlin, Germany
MWC—Mobile World Congress: 25-28 February 2019, Barcelona, Spain*
Future TV Advertising Forum: 28 February 2019, Sydney, Australia**
SportsPro OTT Summit: 27-28 March 2019, Singapore*
Connected TV World Summit: 27-28 March 2019, London, UK**
NAB: 6-11 April 2019, Las Vegas, USA
MIP TV: 8-11 April 2019, Cannes, France*
Cannes Film Festival & Market: 8-19 May 2019, Cannes, France
LA Screenings: 15-23 May, Los Angeles, USA
DISCOP Ivory Coast: 29-31 May 2019, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
ANGA COM: 4-6 June 2019, Cologne, Germany
MIP China: 5-7 June 2019, Hangzhou, China
NEM: 10-13 June 2019, Dubrovnik, Croatia
International Animation Film Festival & Market: 10-15 June 2019, Annecy, France
Cannes Lions: 17-21 June 2019, Cannes, France
CTAM Europe Exec. Mgmt. Programme: 25-29 June 2019, Fontainebleau, France
Série Series: European Series Summit: 26-28 June 2019, Fontainebleau, France
Children's Media Conference: 3-5 July 2019, Sheffield, UK**
IBC: 12-17 September 2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands
MIP Junior: 12-13 October 2019, Cannes, France*
MIPCOM: 14-17 October 2019, Cannes, France*

*Ampere will be attending
**Ampere will be presenting

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News editor: Toby Holleran. Managing editor: Guy Bisson