* Sling TV's founding CEO Roger Lynch will join Pandora Media Inc. as CEO, president and director, effective Sept. 18. Naveen Chopra, who was named Pandora's interim CEO after the departure of Tim Westergren, will continue to serve as CFO, the company said. DISH Network Corp. said Sling TV will now be overseen by DISH President and COO Erik Carlson.
* While North American Free Trade Agreement modernization talks get underway in Washington, D.C., the Federal Communications Commission gave groups more time to file comments in net neutrality proceedings. The commission said late Aug. 11 that the new deadline for comments is Aug. 30, two weeks later than the original deadline.
* Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. hired former Apple Inc. engineer Chris Lattner for its artificial intelligence team Google Brain. Lattner tweeted that he will join Google in a few days. Lattner had also worked at Tesla for six months as vice president of autopilot software.
* Amazon.com Inc. is issuing refunds to customers who bought solar eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards. The online retailer has started notifying buyers via email, warning them not to use the product for viewing the total solar eclipse that will traverse the continental U.S. on Aug. 21.
* Comcast Corp. confirmed the departure of Matt McConnell, senior vice president and general manager of Comcast Technology Solutions, Multichannel News reports. The division is now being led by Ken Klaer, senior vice president of strategic infrastructure at Comcast, on an interim basis. The unit focuses on multiscreen video distribution and advertising technologies and services.
* Verizon Communications Inc. received 138,773 law enforcement requests for customer information during the first half of 2017, as compared to 135,786 during the first half of 2016. According to the latest transparency report released by Verizon, the company said it rejected about 3% of the requests it received during the half.
* Sprint Corp. won the dismissal of a $32.2 million ruling against the carrier over the alleged infringement of two of Prism Technologies' network security patents, WirelessWeek.com reports. The U.S. District Court in Nebraska reversed a federal appeals court ruling that had upheld the verdict against Sprint in the patent case.
Internet & OTT
* Netflix Inc. greenlighted an untitled original series from U.K.-based New Pictures. Created and written by Hania Elkington and Simon Duric, the eight-episode series will be produced in the U.K. and Norway, the company said. According to Deadline, the series will be a teenage love story with supernatural elements.
* Netflix also picked up rights to stream comedy series "The Kominsky Method," Engadget.com reports. The series stars Michael Douglas as an acting coach and Alan Arkin as his friend and agent.
* U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco barred Microsoft Corp. unit LinkedIn Corp. from using any technology to stop hiQ Labs from accessing public profile data, Reuters reports. LinkedIn reportedly plans to challenge the preliminary injunction granted by the judge. The startup uses the information from profiles to build algorithms capable of predicting employee behaviors.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 0.28% to 27,174.96, while the Nikkei 225 gained 1.11% to 19,753.31.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.48% to 7,389.17 and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.38% to 1,000.20.
On the macro front
The retail sales report, the Empire State manufacturing survey, the import and export prices report, the Redbook, the business inventories report, the housing market index and the Treasury International Capital report are due out today.
M&A Replay: European deals through Aug. 11: Facebook, Netflix, Vodafone: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Aug. 7 to Aug. 11.
The week in OTT: Shonda Rhimes heads to Netflix; Verizon still evaluating OTT: Shonda Rhimes signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to produce new series and other projects, while Verizon is continuing to "evaluate" a streaming service that would fit into the company's larger content strategy.
M&A Replay: New Media acquiring Morris Publishing assets; Netflix buys comic book publisher: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. companies' media and communications deal announcements and completions from Aug. 7 to Aug. 11.
Expensive devices, lack of content key challenges for India's booming VR market: A range of industries in India are rapidly adopting virtual and augmented reality technologies. However, the high cost of quality devices and lack of decent content remain key challenges, analysts said.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Philippines suspends Uber operations; costs, content challenge Indian VR: The Philippines' Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board suspended Uber Technologies Inc. operations for a month, while industry observers cited high costs of quality devices and lack of content as key challenges to virtual reality in India.
The Daily Dose Europe: Telefónica to widen OTT reach; Facebook's Marketplace launches in Europe: Telefónica SA is planning to launch a streaming platform for European markets outside Spain, while Facebook Inc.'s Marketplace rolled out in 17 European countries.
Economics of Internet: The rise of OTT services in Middle East, Africa: Despite the challenges in infrastructure and affordability for video streaming services, the Middle East and Africa continue to show potential for over-the-top growth.
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