* Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC debuted revamped Pixel smartphones with advanced features, a new smart home hub device, Chromebook laptop, wireless earbuds and other updates at an Oct. 15 event. The Pixel 4, retailing for $799, and the larger Pixel 4 XL, starting at $899, include a new telephoto lens that captures higher-quality photos, as well as an HDR+ feature that allows users to see exactly how their photos will look before shooting.
* Viacom Inc. quashed rumors that the company is planning to launch a new news channel, "conservative or otherwise," Deadline.com reports, citing a statement by a company spokesman. The statement came after a recent report indicated that Shari Redstone, who controls both CBS Corp. and Viacom through majority shareholder National Amusements Inc., was considering plans to launch a conservative TV network to compete with Fox Corp.'s FOX News Channel (US).
* Fox Sports is partnering with Facebook Inc. to create new, exclusive interactive programs and segments for Facebook Watch viewers. The content lineup includes a new weekly "Fox Football Sunday" that will stream each Monday morning during the season on Facebook-operated video-on-demand service and a "Fox Football Update" show on Sunday nights.
Internet & OTT
* Netflix Inc. is cutting its reliance on standup comedy specials as part of a shift toward other comedy formats, according to a report by Bloomberg News. Netflix released about 30 standup comedy specials so far this year, compared with more than 50 at this point in 2018, according to data analyzed by Bloomberg.
* In other Netflix news, the streaming giant disclosed its lineup of holiday movies and specials, including the release date for the third installment in the popular Christmas Prince saga, "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby," Engadget.com reports. Other specials include "Let It Snow," "Klaus" and "The Knight Before Christmas."
* IHeartMedia Inc. teamed up with comedian and producer Will Ferrell to launch a new podcast company called Big Money Players Network. Big Money Players Network will launch 10 podcasts in the next 24 months, all produced by Ferrell and iHeartMedia, and will begin to roll out new shows in 2020.
* As expected, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager ordered Broadcom Inc. to stop exclusivity deals with six TV and modem makers amid an antitrust investigation in the European Union, Reuters reports. Broadcom said it will comply with the order but plans to file an appeal in the European courts to dispute the commission's assessment of provisions in its contracts.
* Apple Inc. has set a 2022 timeline to introduce its own 5G modems for iPhones, FierceWireless.com reports, citing an earlier media report. However, the complexities of the task could push that date back until 2023.
* Comscore Inc. introduced its new theater management system software, Comscore Cinema Auditorium Control Engine, or Cinema ACE. Comscore Cinema ACE, a part of Comscore's Hollywood Software suite of services, is designed to provide exhibitors the ability to connect auditoriums, centralize content management and automate the transfer of features, trailers and encryption keys.
* CenturyLink Inc. is expanding its Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections service to Google's Google Cloud Platform. The offering will allow Google Cloud users to connect and control their cloud networking environments, the company said.
* Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc.'s board appointed William Bishop the company's permanent CEO and president. Bishop, who was named interim CEO after the departure of Anand Vadapalli in June, will also serve on the company's board.
* Marvel Studios LLC named Kevin Feige chief creative officer of the Walt Disney Co.-owned studio, Variety reports. In addition to his new role, Feige will continue as president of Marvel Studios.
* FOX Bet signed a multiyear pact that makes it an authorized gaming operator with Major League Baseball. Under the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, FOX Bet also launched an MLB version of FOX Sports Super 6, the free-to-play predictive contest.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.61% to 26,664.28, and the Nikkei 225 went up 1.20% to 22,472.92.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lost 0.12% to 7,201.94, and the Euronext 100 was essentially flat at 1,100.88.
On the macro front
The retail sales report, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report, the business inventories report, the housing market index, the Beige Book and the Treasury international capital 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: Rakuten TV in Europe; Axel Springer investment; TIM chairman race: Video-on-demand service Rakuten TV is launching a free, ad-supported channel in Europe; a Canadian pension fund will invest at least €500 million in Axel Springer SE; and a former bank executive is the front-runner to become chairman of Telecom Italia SpA.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank's new strategy; Huawei in Germany; Apple's response to data concerns: SoftBank Group Corp. is considering a more cautious approach while investing in companies, Germany will not ban Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in 5G network build-out projects, and Apple responded to user concerns that the company is sending user data to China's Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Q&A: Cybersecurity industry 'fragmented,' 'chaotic' ahead of 2020 US elections: Cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. recently launched a public resource for election security ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections. An executive with the company discussed the fragmented and chaotic nature of today's business.
5G Focus: Nokia's launches; Google's smartphone; BT's rollout: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It will also feature in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.
Consumer Insights: TV Everywhere or just at home?: Multichannel video households are more likely at 53% to view TV Everywhere content inside the home than outside the home at 45%, according to data from Kagan's U.S. MediaCensus survey.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Peru: Telefónica Perú maintains its firm grip on the multichannel and fixed-broadband market. Fixed-broadband growth is forecast to outpace multichannel growth.
Global Multichannel: European TV groups adopting flexible programming spend: Euro channel groups are adopting a holistic approach to programming spend for return on investment.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Israel: Kagan has updated Global Multichannel and Broadband analyses for Israel, the third-largest multichannel market by subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa region. Operator analyses for HOT and Bezeq have also been updated.
Omnicom CEO: Disney media review win 'very important': Omnicom Group Inc. CEO John Wren told analysts the company defended its business well, while CFO Philip Angelastro noted that the time frame for the holding company to realize incremental gains is unclear.
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