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Media & Comm, most read: Facebook scrutiny; Charter's next move in 2019


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Media & Comm, most read: Facebook scrutiny; Charter's next move in 2019

Here are the most read stories of the week.

Facebook shareholders push for change, but Zuckerberg holds tight grip

A series of scandals has erased a fifth of its market value. Congressmen are calling for regulation. And its top executives have been on the defensive with a chorus of mea culpas. Growing scrutiny of Facebook Inc.'s handling of data breaches and platform concerns is renewing calls for chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish some control over his company. While he has resisted, armed with voting control of the social media giant, pressure appears to be growing on Zuckerberg to give up the role of chairman and bring in an external leader to strengthen Facebook's governance.

Part 1: Analysts weigh Charter's next move in 2019 as M&A integration winds down

Heading into 2019, U.S. pay TV operators are finally moving out of the integration process that followed the massive wave of industry consolidation that occurred between 2015 and 2016. Charter Communications Inc., which combined with Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks LLC in 2016, is among the poster children for that consolidation. The transaction still represents the largest cable deal on record, and it made Charter the second-largest U.S. broadband provider and the third-largest pay TV operator in the U.S. Now, more than two years after the transaction's close, the company is turning the corner on the integration process, and company executives have promised changes in the New Year. Yet analysts highlight how shifting consumer habits can complicate matters.

Part 2: Previous wave of pay TV M&A sets stage for operators' 2019 initiatives

The year 2019 promises to bring big changes for several of the biggest pay TV providers in the U.S., especially those that participated in the wave of M&A that swept over the industry in the last few years. During that wave, the U.S. pay TV market saw a number of multibillion-dollar deals, including Charter Communications's combination with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks LLC, Altice USA Inc.'s roll up of Suddenlink Communications and Cablevision Systems Corp., and AT&T Inc.'s acquisition of DIRECTV Group Holdings LLC. All of these companies are ready to enter a new phase in 2019 as they continue to transform themselves to compete in a changing video market.

Virtual providers eye 2019 growth, despite slowdowns from top 2 players

DISH Network Corp. and AT&T, which operate Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, have tallied more than 4 million virtual customers between them. However, DIRECTV NOW's subscriber additions slowed to 49,000 in the third quarter, down from 296,000 a year earlier. DISH's Sling TV added 26,000 net subscribers, down from 236,000 net adds in the same quarter of 2017.

Analysis: Why Verizon's Oath has not delivered on its promise

Verizon Communications Inc.'s efforts to break into the online advertising market were always a long shot, and now the company is widely seen to have acknowledged defeat. Following a comprehensive five-year strategic planning review of its Oath Inc. media business, Verizon recently said it expects to record a noncash goodwill impairment charge of about $4.6 billion, or $4.5 billion after taxes, in the fourth quarter.