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In Brief

Networking giant Ericsson has just beefed up its broadcast services portfolio – on Monday it said its takeover of Red Bee Media, announced in July 2013 with an undisclosed price, was finalized following regulatory approval. Red Bee started off as the BBC’s commercial broadcast management arm (multi-platform distribution, marketing and so on), before being sold off to Australia’s Macquarie in 2005. Ericsson’s own broadcast services efforts began in 2007, but they now benefit from an extra 1,500 employees in Europe (mainly the UK) and Australia, along with a formidable client roster ranging from the BBC and BSkyB to carriers such as EE and brands such as Hyundai.

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Microsoft’s biggest foray into exclusive content may actually not be all that exclusive: The company is negotiating with Showtime about a partnership for its Steven Spielberg-produced Halo TV show, according to a Variety report. The deal could lead to episodes of the show first airing on Showtime, and then making their way to the Xbox, where Microsoft wants to add interactive features – something Microsoft executives somehow forgot to mention during a recent press event focused on their original content efforts.

In Brief

Chromecast users just got a few more options to beam movies, TV shows and music to the TV screen: Video subscription service Redbox Instant added support for Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter to its Android app this week. Indie movie streaming service Fandor also recently added Chromecast support to its iOS, Android and web apps, and the Android Music app SoundTracker now supports casting as well.

On The Web

Spotify is getting close to having 10 million paying subscribers worldwide, according to a Guardian report that cites unnamed music industry sources with the estimate that the music subscription service will hit that milestone “in the next few months.” Spotify last shared subscriber numbers a year ago, when it had six million paying and 24 million active users. A Spotify representative also told the paper that it added more than one million active users in the last four months.

In Brief

While the internet debates the death of network neutrality, the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger back-and-forth continues. Sen. Al Franken released Netflix’s response to his request for its thoughts on the proposed merger. Netflix, needless to say, doesn’t like it. In details that have not been aired publicly, the letter accuses Comcast of abusing its market power to charge Netflix an interconnection fee to reach its customers — the first time Netflix has ever paid such a fee to an ISP. However, if the FCC has its way on net neutrality, this may just be one of many fees Netflix will find itself paying.

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