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EU's facial recognition ban; DISH's retrans dispute; Verizon's carbon neutrality


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EU's facial recognition ban; DISH's retrans dispute; Verizon's carbon neutrality

Top News

* Top executives from Google LLC and Microsoft Corp. expressed conflicting views on the European Commission's proposal for a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technology. The proposed ban won support from Google and Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai, while Microsoft President Brad Smith criticized the plan, according to Reuters.

* DISH Network Corp. customers lost access to stations owned by Apollo Global Management Inc. in 10 markets across nine states after the companies failed to reach a new retransmission consent agreement. The previous agreement between the parties expired Jan. 18.

* Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Hans Vestberg reaffirmed the company's commitment to attain carbon neutrality by 2035, through emissions reduction, as well as investments in renewable energy and carbon offsets.

Internet & OTT

* With Cox Communications Inc. already on board, NBCUniversal Media LLC is confident it will reach deals with other distributors to bundle Peacock, its ad-supported, video-on-demand streaming service. While the Peacock Premium version of the tiered service will bow April 15 to parent Comcast Corp.'s video and internet-only customers, Cox will begin offering it on July 15.

* Sky Ltd and Netflix Inc. signed a multiyear deal in the U.K. Under the agreement, Sky Q customers can access Netflix's basic plan.

* Facebook Inc. will hire 1,000 employees in London in 2020, with more than half of the new positions to be in the technology sector, Reuters reports, citing Facebook Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn. Meanwhile, other jobs will be in "community integrity," which will facilitate the detection and removal of harmful content from Facebook's platforms.

* In other Facebook news, Nick Clegg, Facebook's public affairs chief, said the social media company will look to do a better job at this year's U.S. presidential election, Reuters reports. Clegg said the company is getting better at protecting elections from foreign interference and Facebook will be able to do a lot better in the U.S. presidential elections this year than it did four years ago.

* Apple Inc. signed Julia Louis-Dreyfus for an overall deal with Apple TV+, Variety reports, citing an official statement. Louis-Dreyfus will work on new projects exclusively for the platform as executive producer and star.

* In more Apple news, Apple TV+ placed a second-season order for "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet" ahead of the series debut, Variety reports. The half-hour comedy follows a team of developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game.

* Hulu LLC acquired rights to a straight-to-series comedy starring actors and comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short, Variety reports, citing an announcement at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. The yet-to-be-titled series involves "three strangers who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one."


* Apple CEO Tim Cook called for the global corporate tax system to be overhauled, Reuters reports. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is considering bringing global tax reforms that will see multinational firms be taxed.

* Microsoft confirmed that hackers are exploiting an Internet Explorer security flaw but said the company has no immediate plans to fix the issue, reports. Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7.

* Deutsche Lufthansa AG is partnering with Google Cloud to build an artificial intelligence platform that would help the German airline minimize the impact of flight delays, re-bookings and weather-related disruptions for its passengers.

* Apple is expanding its presence in Munich by renting out an entire office building, reports, citing Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Karl building is under construction on the former Mahag site on Karlstrasse and is scheduled for completion in 2021.

* Canada-based IT and business consulting services firm CGI Group Inc. closed the acquisition of French software development company Meti Logiciels et Services SRL through one of its European subsidiaries.

Film & TV

* The Walt Disney Co. dropped the "Fox" brand from the 21st Century Fox Inc. assets it acquired in March 2019, Variety reports. Accordingly, the 20th Century Fox film studio will become 20th Century Studios, while Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc. is now called Searchlight Pictures.

* Sony Corp.'s "Bad Boys For Life" topped the domestic box office with $59.2 million for the Jan. 17 weekend, followed by Universal's "Dolittle" in the second spot with $22.5 million and "1917" at the third spot with $22.1 million, according to Comscore Inc. Sony's "Jumanji: The Next Level" moved down to the No. 4 spot with $9.6 million, while Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker" was No. 5 with $8.4 million.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased 2.81% to 27,985.33, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.91% to 23,864.56.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 1.00% to 7,574.58, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.03% to 1,159.19.

On the macro front

No reports 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Facebook's London recruitment; BBC chief's resignation; A1's 5G rollout: Facebook is hiring 1,000 employees in London this year, Tony Hall is stepping down as director general of the British Broadcasting Corp., and A1 Telekom Austria AG is launching its 5G network.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Samsung's India investment; SK Broadband, t-broad deal update; Tencent expansion: Samsung Display Co. Ltd. plans to set up a factory in India, Korea Communications Commission conditionally approved the merger of SK Broadband and t-broad Holdings Co.Ltd., and one of Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s mobile game developers will triple its U.S. headcount.

MarketWeek: Alphabet hits $1 trillion; Sprint shares fall on deal uncertainty: Alphabet surpassed the $1 trillion market-cap mark during the week ended Jan. 17, while closing arguments in a multistate lawsuit weighed on Sprint Corp.

Data Dispatch: Netflix expected to shake off new streaming competition in Q4'19: Netflix Inc. will report its fourth-quarter 2019 earnings Jan. 21. While analysts are split on a valuation for the company, they generally do not yet expect to see an impact from competitor Disney+.

Technology: FTTH investment surge continues as telcos move away from DSL in Q3'19: Combined global DSL and fiber-to-the-home equipment revenue reached $2.97 billion during the third quarter of 2019, up more than 10% from the second quarter of 2019 and 26% year over year.

BT's Google Stadia deal aimed at boosting broadband revenue: The U.K.'s biggest internet provider hopes to boost its broadband revenue by targeting speed- and data-hungry gamers with a new bundle that includes Google LLC's Stadia cloud gaming service. It is the first European distribution deal for Stadia.

M&A Replay: Google to buy retail tech company; UK clears Hasbro/Entertainment One deal: The search engine will acquire Irish retail tech company Pomo Search Limited, d/b/a Pointy, while the U.K. antitrust watchdog approved Hasbro Inc.'s acquisition of Canadian media company Entertainment One Ltd.

The Best Of: Editor's picks: CES 2020 surprises; Megvii IPO valuation; NBCU streaming plans: Stories about Megvii IPO valuation and NBCUniversal Media's streaming service Peacock are featured in the editor's technology, media and telecommunications top picks for the week ended Jan. 17.

The Best Of: Most read: New California privacy law; CES 2020; M&A adviser ranking: Articles about the new California privacy law and CES 2020 were among the most read in technology, media and telecommunications news for the week ended Jan. 17.

Featured research

Wireless Investor: Millimeter Wave Auction 103: Bid gains down to a trickle: As Auction 103 winds down, it may end as the sixth-highest-grossing auction in Federal Communications Commission history, driven by a huge number of licenses sold rather than any record prices per MHz pop.

Economics of TV & Film: 'Joker' all smiles as the top January video release: "Joker," the Academy Award-nominated film, is set to be the top home video release in January. We estimate the film will ship more than 4.3 million video units to retailers and bring in $84.0 million in wholesale revenue for Warner Bros.

Economics of Networks: Premium output deals future upset by SVOD launches: We focus on where premium network output deals are today and where they are headed with studio streaming service launches.

Economics of Internet: Political ads: More problematic than profitable for tech titans in 2020?: With the 2020 U.S. presidential election looming, political ads on platforms operated by Google, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. came under scrutiny as 2019 drew to a close, prompting some of these firms to review and change their policies.

Broadcast Investor: US TV station level ad, retrans revenue 2008-2024: This new data set allows the user to filter TV station level advertising, retransmission revenue estimates by ultimate parent company, market, primary network affiliation and station for historical years 2008-2019 and five years projected, 2020-2024.

Consumer Insights: US ownership of smart TVs, SMPs, smart speaker devices continues to climb: The average U.S. household operates 12 internet-connectible devices as of third quarter 2019, up from 10 devices in 2017. Ownership of smart/4K TVs, streaming media players, smartwatches and smart speaker/hub devices all continued to grow in 2019.

Economics of TV & Film: KBOX Week 2: '1917' dethrones 'Star Wars,' tops weekly box office: Things continue to look good after two weeks have come and gone in the 2020 box office year. Total week two box office was up 13.8% from $172.1 million in 2019 to $195.8 million in 2020.

Global Multichannel: Stable broadband ARPU anticipated in Hong Kong in next 10 years: With a fixed-broadband penetration of 93.2% as of year-end 2019, Hong Kong's broadband average revenue per user by platform is expected to remain stable through 2029.

Consumer Insights: Two-thirds of Hulu users watch Emmy-nominated originals: According to data from Kagan's U.S. online consumer survey, 72% of Hulu users indicated they had viewed an original on the service in the past six months, while 66% indicated viewing one of Hulu's eight originals nominated for a 2019 Emmy.

Multichannel Trends: Cable bulls continue to shrug off cord-cutting as Comcast unveils Peacock: The estimated average private market value for a core group of top public MSOs comes in at 10x projected forward cash flow as of Jan. 16, 2020.

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