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Apple unveils $4.99/month Apple Music student plan; LinkedIn buys online content distribution startup

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19

Cable networks react to pandemic by cutting SG&A, programming costs

Strong Competition Remains For Thailand Digital Terrestrial TV Channel

ITU: Regulators discuss impacts of COVID-19 on policymaking


Apple unveils $4.99/month Apple Music student plan; LinkedIn buys online content distribution startup

TOP NEWS

* Onlineauctioneer eBay Inc.struck a deal to buy Sweden-based Expertmaker, a provider of artificialintelligence-backed services, machine learning and big data analytics, for anundisclosed sum. Following deal completion, employees at Expertmaker will startworking as part of eBay's structured data product and technology team, thecompany said in a newsrelease. Additionally, Expertmaker's founder and CEO Lars Hard willassume the position of director, data science at eBay. The acquisition isexpected to help advance eBay's structured data initiative, Amit Menipaz, vicepresident and general manager of structured data at eBay, said in a statement.

* Inmore M&A news, LinkedInCorp. acquired Run Hop Inc., an online content distribution startup, The Wall Street Journal reports,citing a LinkedIn spokesman. The deal is reportedly focused on securing theexpertise of Run Hop co-founders Pete Davies and Evan Solomon, who have takennew roles at the professional networking website. LinkedIn named Davies seniorproduct manager on the content team, and Solomon has joined the company as asenior software engineer. The deal is expected to help the company make users'feeds more engaging.

*Apple Inc. unveiled astudent plan for itsApple Music service, according to a reportby TechCrunch.com. The new plan will allow people registered in an eligiblecollege or university to pay $4.99 per month for the individual plan, instead of $9.99 per month. The 50%discount offer for Apple Music will also reportedly be available in the U.K.,Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. A Family Plan for AppleMusic costs $14.99 per month.

Multichannel

*Charter CommunicationsInc.'s planned acquisitionsof Time Warner CableInc. and Bright HouseNetworks LLC gained approval from a majority of the FCC's five members,Reuters reports,citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler andthe U.S. Department of Justice both recently recommended conditional approval of themega-transactions. FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O'Riellyalso voted in favor of the deals in the week of May 2. The two remainingcommissioners have yet to cast their vote on the deals, according to thereport. The conditions, effective for seven years after the acquisitions close,focus on ensuring online video distributors continue to have fair access toprogramming. The newly merged Charter would be prohibited from entering intocontracts that limit a programmer's ability to distribute content to onlinevideo distributors. Charter expects to close the transactions in a few daysafter receiving final approval from the California Public Utilities Commissionand the FCC. The California PUC is expected to make its by May 12.

Internet & OTT

*Suddenlink Communicationssubscribers can now access HuluLLC's video service via TiVo Inc. set-top-boxes, Multichannel News reports.Subscribers with Hulu subscriptions can access the service via channel 3001 ontheir TiVo box, according to the report. Suddenlink customers who do not have aHulu subscription can avail a free, one-week trial. Hulu's content owners are21st Century FoxInc., Walt DisneyCo. and ComcastCorp.'s NBCUniversalMedia LLC.

*Time Inc. islaunching a newover-the-top streaming service this fall. Called the People/EntertainmentWeekly Network, the free, ad-supported streaming video service will broadcastoriginal, long-form celebrity, pop culture, lifestyle and human interestseries, specials and live event coverage, the company said in a . The network willlet users access more than 100 hours of original programming, including newprogramming daily, and a library of more than 50 hours of content. Users willbe able to access the service across a range of digital platforms and devices.

*Netflix Inc.unveiled a new toolthat allows users to control data consumption on cellular networks whilestreaming. The new cellular data usage tool has a default setting that will letusers stream about three hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data, thecompany said in an official blog post.Users can adjust video quality as per data caps for their mobile data plans.The new tool is available for the Netflix app on Apple's iOS and 's Android operatingsystem.

* Inmore company news, Netflix ordered a new comedy series, "Dear WhitePeople," based on Justin Simien's indie film of the same name. The10-episode series, which will be produced by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. unit Lionsgate, will exclusivelypremiere on the streaming giant's platform in 2017, the company said in anews release. Theseries is about a group of students of color who are attending a predominantlywhite fictional Ivy League college.

The day ahead

Earlymorning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

InAsia, the Hang Seng fell 1.66% to 20,109.87, while the Nikkei 225 was down0.25% to 16,106.72. In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.88% to6,063.17, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 1.04% to 843.86.

On the macro front

Theemployment situation report, the consumer credit report and the Treasury STRIPSreport are due out today.

Featured news

: EBay agreed to buy Expertmaker, a provider of artificialintelligence-backed solutions, machine learning and big data analytics, whileNew York City officials are set to conditionally approve 's proposed acquisition ofCablevision Systems Corp.

: E! Entertainment Televisionco-founder Larry Namer talks about the differences in programming for Americanversus Chinese audiences and how the Chinese entertainment industry is rapidlyevolving. Today Namer is president and CEO of Metan Global Entertainment Group,which produces and distributes content for Chinese-speaking audiences.

: Despite rejecting an $815 million acquisitionoffer from Gannett, Tribune Publishing might yet be pressured to reopennegotiations for a sale, analysts told SNL Kagan.

: SNL Kagan presents a weekly rundown ofexecutive changes in the media and communications industries.

: This feature tracks potential deal activity inthe Media & Communications sector including announced strategic reviews,intended purchases or sales and rumored transactions.

Featured research

: For the top three U.S.cable operators, the brightening video subscriber picture comes at a cost:melting segment profitability.

: Results from arecent SNL Kagan consumer survey document the growth of U.S. video cord cuttingduring 2015.

: Our 2016 summer box office season wasushered in rather quietly with weekly box office down 42.7% to $148.0 millionfrom $258.4 million in 2015. 

Net sales for theHSN networks in the first quarter decreased 3.7%, or $22.1 million, year overyear to $578.4 million.

MultichannelTrends: Telco video losses accelerate in Q1 as AT&T boosts DBSsubs: The pace of telco video's market share decline quickened asAT&T Inc.'s focuson DIRECTV gained momentum.

Economics ofNetworks: Turner networks post solid Q1 earnings, project double-digitsubscription fee growth: Time Warner Inc. reported that the Turner segment'srevenues were up 7.2% to $2.91 billion for the quarter ended March 31.

BroadcastInvestor: Gray TV ranks first for number of top TV stations: Ourstudy of top ranked stations on the basis of 2015 net ad revenues in each ofthe 210 DMAs shows mid- to small-market group owner Gray Television Inc. leading the pack with 29 stationsin as many markets.

Recent earnings

: CenturyLink Inc. expects to have more clarity on optionsfor its data center and colocation business in the next couple weeks, withoffers regarding a possible sale or joint venture coming due, CenturyLinkPresident and CEO Glen Post III said.

: executives said a just-announced cost-savings plan puts the company on track toexpand its profit margin for full year 2016. Discovery plans to reallocatetraditional linear business costs to new media platforms and contentdevelopment such as mobile short-form videos, sports and direct-to-consumerinitiatives.