* NBCUniversal Media LLC's new video-on-demand service, Peacock, will debut for Comcast Corp. customers on April 15 before making its national debut July 15. The streaming service will come in three versions: a free, ad-supported service; a more robust, ad-supported edition; and an ad-free offering.
* Netflix Inc. is expected to spend about $17.3 billion on content in 2020 on a cash basis, up from about $15.3 billion in 2019, Variety reports, citing a report from Wall Street firm BMO Capital Markets. On an amortized profit and loss expenditure basis, the analyst firm predicts that the streaming platform will spend about $11.1 billion this year, according to the report.
* Alphabet Inc. closed trading Jan. 16 with a market capitalization of above $1 trillion, the first time the company has achieved this valuation, London's Financial Times reports. With this feat, the Google LLC parent became the fourth U.S. tech company to cross the $1 trillion milestone, following in the footsteps of Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
* Facebook Inc. shelved plans to sell ads in the WhatsApp Inc. messaging platform, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people with the knowledge of the matter. WhatsApp dissolved a team that was set up to find ways of integrating ads into the service, sources said, adding that the team's work has been deleted from the messaging service's code.
Film & TV
* AT&T Inc.'s Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Comcast's Universal Pictures Home Entertainment proposed a new joint venture company that will distribute physical home entertainment products in North America. The proposed joint venture will combine sales, retail marketing and distribution for both studio operations and will be responsible for distributing Blu-ray, DVD and 4K UHD discs for up to 10 years.
* Warner Media LLC signed a three-year deal with Steven Soderbergh that will see the filmmaker and screenwriter develop content for HBO Max and HBO (US), TBI Vision reports. The exclusive agreement covers all forms of TV and a first-look for features.
* Microsoft said it will become carbon negative by 2030 and by 2050 by removing from the environment all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975. The company will also create a $1 billion fund to advance technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
* CenturyLink Inc. secured a task order worth up to $1.6 billion to provide secure network and IT modernization services to the U.S. Interior Department. The task order covers two areas and has 11 one-year options that run through 2032, according to a news release.
* Trade groups across the tech, media and telecom sectors lauded the "phase one" signing of a trade deal between the U.S. and China, though they urged robust enforcement and further relaxation of tariffs.
* McAfee LLC's board of managers named Peter Leav CEO of the company, succeeding Chris Young, effective Feb. 3.
* Four companies sued Facebook in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accusing the social media company of wrongly withdrawing developer access to its platform in an effort to damage potential competitors, Reuters reports. The companies are seeking class-action status and unspecified damages.
* Microsoft Corp., LinkedIn Corp., Twitter Inc. and host of other companies appealed against the "public charge" rule, which establishes more severe standards for immigration officials determining whether to award legal status to immigrants. In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the companies termed the rule "arbitrary, capricious and unconscionable" and stated that the implementation of the rule will slow down the companies' ability to hire crucial employees.
* The U.S. Federal Trade Commission granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in connection with Telaria Inc.'s proposed merger with The Rubicon Project Inc. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.60% to 29,056.42, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.45% to 24,041.26.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.92% to 7,679.82, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.76% to 1,168.04.
On the macro front
The housing starts report, the industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report, the JOLTS report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
The Daily Dose Europe: Netflix's price hike; TV5MONDE's streaming service; Amazon's UK expansion: Netflix Inc. will raise prices in some European markets, French broadcaster TV5MONDE SA is launching a global streaming service, and Amazon is hiring staff for its new northern U.K. office.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Telenor management changes in Asia; ZTE share sale; Megvii IPO complications: Telenor ASA made management changes across its Asian operations, ZTE Corp. is planning to raise 11.51 billion yuan from a share sale, and analysts weigh in on the possible complications of Megvii's upcoming Hong Kong IPO.
Megvii IPO valuation complicated by lack of direct peers, US blacklisting: The Chinese artificial intelligence company is likely to base its listing price on video surveillance specialists Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. Ltd..
The Program Guide: 'Better Call Saul' to end after season 6; Facebook Watch to cut scripted content: "Better Call Saul" has been renewed for a sixth and final season, while Facebook Watch canceled two of its original shows amid a scaling back of its scripted content.
The Program Guide: 'Shameless' to end after season 11; Amazon green-lights 'Jack Reacher' series: Showtime (US) renewed "Shameless" for an 11th and final season, while Amazon.com Inc. green-lighted a "Jack Reacher" series for its Prime video service.
Hires and Fires: Alphabet legal chief leaving; ViacomCBS reshuffles executive rolesM&A Replay: Japan Display ends Suwa consortium deal; Sony selling 3 entertainment channels: Japan Display Inc. terminated its capital and business alliance deal with the Suwa consortium, while Sony Corp. agreed to sell its three entertainment channels to former Sony Pictures Television Inc. executives Andy Kaplan and George Chien.
Hires and Fires: Alphabet legal chief leaving; ViacomCBS reshuffles executive roles: David Drummond will leave Alphabet Inc., effective Jan. 31, while ViacomCBS Inc. unveiled plans to reorganize ViacomCBS Networks International.
Hires and Fires Europe: Liberty Global unit gets new CEO; Guardian Media names new chief: Liberty Global PLC named Baptiest Coopmans as the new CEO of its UPC Schweiz unit, while Guardian Media Group PLC appointed Annette Thomas as the company's new chief executive.
Economics of Advertising: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh leads November 2019 RSN ratings: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh (US) scored the top rating in November 2019 with a 1.86. The regional sports network's recent rating represents its best mark in November since it scored a 2.66 in November 2014.
Wireless Investor: Turkey tests 5G, grows postpaid amid currency free fall: Turkish operators grew the industry's postpaid base by 3.3 million users year over year in third quarter 2019, and average data consumption increased by 31% in the same period.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Chile: Kagan has recently updated the Global Multichannel and Broadband analyses for Chile, as well as analyses for related operators VTR, DIRECTV Chile, Telefónica Chile, Claro Chile SA, Entel Chile, Telsur and GTD Manquehue S.A.
Global Multichannel: 2020 outlook for Latin American multichannel, broadband and mobile market: Decelerating economic prospects could create a challenging environment for the industry in 2020. Some Telefónica and Disney assets in Latin America might be for sale, and we project fiber to have the most broadband net additions.
Wireless Investor: UAE doubles data in plans at backdrop of 5G base race: Etisalat UAE came out with the lowest price per GB, at $1.84, and Virgin Mobile was priced the highest at $8.74 per GB, according to data collected in third quarter 2019.
Global Multichannel: Latin American multichannel, broadband market 2019 recap: Uruguay launches commercial 5G; AT&T Inc.'s DIRECTV Go is on; Telefónica SA shrinks footprint; operators turn to fiber to the home; one-third of Colombians use over-the-top services.
Economics of Advertising: Hispanic nets increase, major broadcasters decrease delivery in November 2019: This analysis of Nielsen Holdings PLC's prime-time C3 household delivery data includes schedule breakouts by broadcast network.
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