* Apple Inc. cut its fiscal 2019 first-quarter revenue forecast due to weaker-than-expected iPhone sales, primarily in Greater China. In a public letter to investors, CEO Tim Cook said the company now expects revenue of $84 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 29, 2018, down from its earlier guidance of $89 billion to $93 billion.
* The first 5G smartphones will come to U.S. markets in 2019, giving early adopters their first taste of the next-generation technology. But analysts note widespread adoption of 5G is still a year or two off.
* When it comes to next-generation 5G wireless service, U.S. operators spent most of 2018 in the bullpen warming up. But analysts say the ball game is now underway and will get more interesting as the industry moves deeper into the new year.
* NBCUniversal Media LLC's NBC Sports Chicago (US) on Jan. 2 struck a multiyear pact with Major League Baseball's White Sox, the National Basketball Association's Bulls and the National Hockey League's Blackhawks. The exclusive, local multiplatform agreement is set to begin Oct. 1 and will center around game coverage, starting with the 2019-2020 NBA and NHL seasons and the White Sox contests the following spring.
Regulation & Policy
* The U.S. Senate confirmed Geoffrey Starks as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and Commissioner Brendan Carr for a new full term. Starks most recently was assistant chief in the Enforcement Bureau, while Carr has spearheaded wireless infrastructure modernization.
Internet & OTT
* Netflix Inc. has confirmed the appointment of Spencer Neumann as its new CFO. Neumann, who was recently fired as CFO by Activision Blizzard Inc. for "violating his legal obligations to the company," will replace longtime Netflix executive David Wells, who announced his departure in August 2018.
* U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco dismissed lawsuits with prejudice that held Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC and Twitter Inc. accountable for the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which left 14 dead and 22 injured, Reuters reports. In a ruling on Dec. 31, 2018, Beeler said the companies did not provide any resources to the Islamic State. Authorities reportedly found the couple, who were killed in a police shootout, of being inspired by Islamist militants.
* Virtual streaming provider fuboTV Inc. raised the monthly price for legacy customers by $10 to $44.99 per month, FierceVideo.com reports, citing a notice sent to subscribers. The increase, which legacy customers will see on their first bills after Feb. 15, is in line with the fee already being paid by new subscribers, the company said in a statement.
* Gray Television Inc. became the third-largest television broadcast station group in the U.S. after it completed its $3.65 billion acquisition of Raycom Media Inc. Gray and Raycom also completed the divestitures of nine television stations in overlap markets consistent with the parties' June 25, 2018, joint announcement of their merger, in order to satisfy the conditions placed on the merger by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.
* After reaching a short-term extension, Tribune Media Co.-owned Tribune Broadcasting Co. LLC and Charter Communications Inc. could not consummate a new carriage deal, resulting in 33 stations and cable service WGN America (US) becoming unavailable to the cable operator's video subscribers. In failing to reach a retransmission-consent renewal, 6 million Spectrum customers lost access to 33 stations, including WPIX, KTLA and WGN in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively, in 24 markets, at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 2. In addition, 14 million Spectrum subscribers cannot currently watch WGN America.
* Verizon Communications Inc. said retransmission-consent renewal negotiations with TEGNA Inc. have stopped, a development that will extend the disconnect between the parties for three stations. TEGNA and Verizon could not reach an agreement by 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2018. Since then, WUSA, the CBS (US) affiliate in Washington, D.C.; WVEC, the ABC (US) affiliate in Norfolk, Va.; and WGRZ, the NBC (US) affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., have remained dark to the telco's video subscribers in those markets.
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 day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng fell 0.26% to 25,064.36.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.61% to 6,693.36, and the Euronext 100 was down 1.03% to 900.95.
On the macro front
The motor vehicle sales report, the MBA Mortgage applications report, the ADP employment report, the jobless claims report, the ISM manufacturing index, the construction spending report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
Tele2 to sell stake in JV; Zynga to buy Finish mobile game studio: Tele2 AB is exercising its option to sell stakes in its Kazakhstan joint venture, while Zynga Inc. agreed to buy Small Giant Games.
The Daily Dose Europe: Dutch telcos Tele2, T-Mobile complete merger; Nokia closes sale of IP Video unit: T-Mobile Netherlands B.V. completed its acquisition of Tele2 AB's Dutch unit Tele2 Nederland B.V., while Nokia Corp. closed the sale of IP Video business to Volaris Group Inc.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: India plans IT law amendment; Vietnam introduces strict cybersecurity rules: The Indian government plans to amend IT laws to increase penalties on apps and websites, while Vietnam introduced a new cybersecurity law which requires internet companies to remove all content the government deems "toxic."
Economics of TV & Film: Kagan box office report, week 51: Week 51 of the 2018 box office year could not measure up to the numbers from week 51 of 2017 when "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" debuted in theaters. As a result, week 51 box office was down 23.9% from $307.4 million in 2017 to $233.8 million in 2018.
Economics of Advertising: ESPN takes prime time in November 2018: Analysis of Nielsen Holdings PLC's prime-time C3 delivery data for November 2018.
Multichannel Trends: Top 18 most read US multichannel articles in 2018: Articles diving into the evolution of the multichannel video market dominated the list of most read articles in 2018.
Global Multichannel: Argentina broadband: ISPs roll out fiber as cord-cutting, convergence loom: With new regulations allowing telcos to offer pay TV services and enabling the merger of Argentina's two largest broadband providers, fiber and video services have become key differentiators in this increasingly concentrated market.
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