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AT&T, DOJ talks over Time Warner fail; hearing over Disney/Fox deal called


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AT&T, DOJ talks over Time Warner fail; hearing over Disney/Fox deal called

Top News

* Talks between AT&T Inc. and the U.S. Department of Justice over the company's planned acquisition of Time Warner Inc. have failed, Reuters reports, citing a court filing. A trial to decide the matter is set to begin March 19, 2018, according to the filing.

* Bloomberg Media is set to introduce a streaming television service on Twitter Inc.'s microblogging service today, The Wall Street Journal reports. Called "TicToc by Bloomberg," the new channel will focus more on general news and less on the financial reporting.

* U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called for a hearing on Walt Disney Co.'s proposed transaction to buy an array of 21st Century Fox Inc.'s international and domestic assets. In a statement, Klobuchar said she was "concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers."

* Disney's proposed combination with Fox and a federal regulatory rollback gave media investors plenty to digest for the trading week ended Dec. 15. Disney and Fox both saw shares jump after the deal announcement, indicating a high amount of enthusiasm for the deal among media investors who rarely bid up the shares of acquirers immediately after a deal agreement is signed, as noted in an analysis by Kagan analyst Derek Baine.

Internet & OTT

* Apple Inc. ordered a new space drama from "Battlestar Galactica" developer Ronald Moore, which will be produced through his Tall Ship Productions and Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Television, Deadline reports. The untitled series is created and written by Moore, along with Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, and explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended.

* Netflix Inc. will premiere the third and final season of original series "Love" on March 9, 2018. The series was created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin and produced with Legendary, the company said.

* Google Inc.'s YouTube Red yanked Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" from the platform after the filmmaker admitted to past instances of sexual harassment and misconduct, The Hollywood Reporter reports, citing a YouTube spokeswoman. YouTube reportedly bought rights to distribute the "Super Size Me" sequel for $3.5 million.


* Alphabet Inc. unit Google is pulling the plug on its high-end smartphone augmented reality platform, Tango, on March 1, 2018, according to a tweet. The company will continue to focus on the ARCore product.

* Facebook Inc. unveiled a new feature to let users temporarily unfollow a person, page or group for a period of 30 days. Called Snooze, the new feature will allow users to decide when to see posts and photos from a certain individual or group, according to a company post.

Film & TV

* Disney's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" raked in $220 million to top the domestic box office for the Dec. 17 weekend, followed by 20th Century Fox's "Ferdinand" at No. 2 with $13.3 million and Disney's "Coco" at the third spot with $10 million, according to comScore Inc. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s "Wonder" was No. 4 with $5.4 million, while Warner Bros.' "Justice League" slipped to No. 5 with $4.2 million.

* Sheila Nevins, president of HBO (US) documentary films, stepped down from the position, Variety reports. Nevins joined HBO in 1979 as director of documentary programming and then left the network to return in 1986 as vice president of documentary programming. She was promoted to her current role in 2004.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.70% to 29050.41. The Nikkei 225 added 1.55% to 22,901.77. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.45% to 7,524.25, and the Euronext 100 improved 1.11% to 1,049.76.

On the macro front

The National Association of Home Builders' housing market index is due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: T-Mobile Netherlands to buy Tele2's Dutch unit; BT, Sky to share content: T-Mobile Netherlands is set to acquire Tele2 Netherlands for €190 million, while British Telecom and Sky plc agreed to share content across each other's platforms.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Kakao plans Singapore IPO; India clears Dish TV-Videocon d2h merger: South Korea's Kakao Corp. will list itself on the Singapore Exchange, while Dish TV India Ltd. received the final approval from the government for the closing of its merger with Videocon d2h.

The Short Report: Windstream short interest decreases in 2nd half of November: Windstream Holdings Inc. had the greatest decrease in short interest relative to shares outstanding among Kagan-covered communications companies between Nov. 15 and Nov. 30.

The Short Report: leads new media short interest gainers: Inc. had the biggest rise in short interest relative to shares outstanding among Kagan-covered new media companies between Nov. 15 and Nov. 30.

The Short Report: Entercom short interest plunges in late-November period: Entercom Communications Corp. saw the greatest drop in short interest relative to shares outstanding among Kagan-covered media and entertainment companies between Nov. 15 and Nov. 30.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: ESPN's direct-to-consumer service; diversity in TV: ESPN (US) head's comments about the upcoming launch of the sports programmer's direct-to-consumer offering and a diversity spotlight on TV programmers are among the media and communications editor's top five picks for the week ended Dec. 15.

Sky, BT cross supply deal shakes up Premier League sports rights outlook: Sky and BT's content sharing deal is the latest shakeup in the Premier League rights auction that is widely expected to top its record £5.14 billion agreement with the two pay TV giants, which surged 71% from the previous deal.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, most read: US tax reform's impact on tech; net neutrality overhaul: Stories about the final tax reform bill's impact on large U.S. tech companies and the Federal Communications Commission's overhaul of net neutrality regulations are included in the most read stories for the week ended Dec. 15.

Data Dispatch: Star Wars: Saving the best box office results for 'Last': Disney and Fox will deliver competing debut films during the weekend of Dec. 15, but there is no overcoming The Force behind "The Last Jedi."

South Korea in driverless vehicle push; Huawei to offer 5G chips, phones in 2019: South Korea is aiming to become a global leader in the autonomous vehicle sector by 2030, while Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will introduce 5G-capable chips and 5G smartphones in 2019.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: Cable Program Investor: Table of contents for Issue No. 241, published December 2017.

Wireless Investor: Technology advancements, new spectrum options revolutionizing road to 5G: The 5G world is getting closer much faster, thanks to big technology leaps and expanding spectrum options. And U.S. carriers head into this new high-speed, low-latency, massive-throughput world with a variety of spectrum portfolios and tools.

Economics of TV & Film: Premium networks increasingly lean on originals: The original-programming frenzy has meant not only more players in the market, but also more series ordered by some networks.

Wireless Investor: 4G subscriber growth to remain slow in Africa: At year-end 2016, subscriptions to 4G remained at a low 3% of total mobile subscriptions among four countries in Africa that Kagan tracks.

Technology: Combined FTTH, DSL equipment spending still expected to slow through 2022: After a record year in which total estimated revenue for combined DSL and fiber-to-the-home network infrastructure reached $9.74 billion worldwide, 2017 to 2019 should produce a slowdown in spending.

Economics of Networks: Disney stock rise increases multiple nearly a full turn for Fox assets to 12.8x: Disney shares rose nearly 3% on news of the Fox deal and were up 8.4% over the 30-day average used in the deal announcement. If the Dec. 14 price were used, the value of the deal would rise by $4.41 billion, pushing the cash flow multiple to 12.8x.

Consumer Insights: Hulu users shifting away from catch-up TV: Although previously the clear favorite among users of Hulu LLC's online video streaming service, current season network TV episodes have decreased in popularity since 2016, according to our survey data.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.