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Facebook, FTC deal facing delay; Comcast unveils ad-free, on-demand service

Top News

* A potential settlement between Facebook Inc. and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission relating to the social media giant's privacy policies has been delayed by a split between the Republicans and Democrats on the FTC panel, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. Republican Chairman Joseph Simons has reportedly been unable to secure approval for the deal from at least one of the panel's two Democrats, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Rohit Chopra, who are concerned the settlement may not be enough to punish Facebook, one of the sources said.

* An antitrust ruling against Qualcomm Inc.'s patent-licensing business sent shares in the U.S. chipmaker into the red for the week ended May 24. Meanwhile, Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. stock rose after a top U.S. regulator approved their pending merger.

* While CBS Corp. is reportedly eyeing a deal to buy premium network Starz (US), some media analysts believe the programmer would be better off purchasing Starz parent Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Acquiring Starz would vault CBS' position in the premium network market and provide another in-house outlet for its rapidly growing TV production business. CBS reportedly offered $5 billion for Starz, while Lions Gate countered with $5.5 billion, according to Reuters.

* Comcast Corp. unveiled a commercial-free, on-demand movie service, called Hitz. The service will be part of Xfinity Premier, Super and other TV packages at no additional cost, and will feature more than 200 movies. It will replace Cinemax (US) and its associated channels.


* Meredith Corp. has sold Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group LLC in a $110 million deal. The acquisition includes the news outlet's intellectual property and its associated brands, including Sports Illustrated Kids, Sportsperson of the Year, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, SI and SI TV.

Internet & OTT

* Snap Inc. is holding talks with Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group Inc., Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and Warner Music Group Corp. to let users add music to their posts on the Snapchat app, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. The company has so far acquired licenses case-by-case, but is now seeking broad rights to the music labels' catalogs.

* Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have refused to appear before officials at the Canadian Parliament this week, reports. The parliament earlier this month invited the duo to attend an international committee gathering to discuss Silicon Valley's impact on privacy and democracy. The social media giant is instead sending its head of public policy for Facebook Canada, Kevin Chan, along with Neil Potts, its director of public policy, to the meeting, according to the report.

* Comcast's Xfinity On Demand app will stop working on TiVo Corp.'s platform starting June 25, Multichannel News reports, citing a company notification. Comcast said the current platform connecting TiVo to Xfinity On Demand runs on out-of-date technology that cannot be upgraded or updated.

* Netflix Inc. has green-lighted "Paranormal," its new original Middle Eastern series. The series, based on books by late author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, is set in the 1960s and follows lead character Dr. Refaat Ismail, a single hematologist faced with a series of supernatural events.

* In more Netflix news, the streaming giant has acquired worldwide rights, excluding China, Benelux, Switzerland, Russia and France, to Mati Diop's movie "Atlantics." The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Prix, the company said. Netflix also acquired worldwide rights, excluding China, Benelux, Turkey and France, to "I Lost My Body," which made its world premiere in the Critics Week section at the festival.


* Apple Inc. will be collecting data in Canada for its Apple Maps service, starting this month. In a statement, the tech giant said it will be capturing road details, signage and landmarks to improve the service. The information collected will be worked on by Apple's team in Cupertino, Calif.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is assessing its partnership with FedEx Corp. after it accused the U.S. package delivery company of diverting two packages to the U.S. that were destined for Huawei addresses in Asia, Reuters reports, citing a Huawei spokesperson. The Chinese technology company cited images of FedEx tracking records to back up its claim.

* Qualcomm Technologies Inc. teamed up with Lenovo Group Ltd. to unveil Project Limitless, a 5G PC powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G compute platform. The platform also supports 4G connectivity.


* Walt Disney Co.'s "Aladdin" topped the domestic box office for the weekend of May 24 with $86.1 million, followed by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" at No. 2 with $24.4 million and Disney's "Avengers: Endgame" in third with $16.8 million, according to comScore Inc. Warner Bros.' "Pokemon Detective Pikachu" was No. 4 with $13.3 million, while Sony's "Brightburn" took fifth place with $7.5 million.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng gained 0.38% at 27,390.81, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.37% to 21,260.14.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lifted 0.02% to 7,279.21, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.34% to 1,038.08.

On the macro front

The S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller home price index, the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index, the consumer confidence report and the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey 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: Canal Plus to acquire M7 Group; EQT fund offers to buy Australia's Vocus Group: Vivendi unit Canal Plus SA agreed to acquire pay TV operator M7 Group SA, while an EQT Partners AB-managed fund offered to fully acquire Australian telecom operator Vocus Group Ltd.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Alibaba eyes $20B HK listing; Japan to restrict foreign ownership in tech sector: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is considering raising US$20 billion through a second listing in Hong Kong, while Japan will add high-tech industries to its list of businesses where foreign ownership is restricted.

M&A Replay: Sky, Mediaset pay TV deal conditionally approved; Tencent buys Sharkmob: The Italian antitrust watchdog has granted conditional approval to Sky Italia Srl's proposed acquisition of Mediaset SpA's digital pay TV platform R2 Srl, while Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. acquired Swedish game developer Sharkmob AB.

The Program Guide: Ellen DeGeneres renews talk show; Disney renews 'Sydney to the Max' for season 2: Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show has been renewed through the 2021-2022 season, while "Sydney to the Max" will return to Disney Channel (US) for a second season.

The Best Of: Editor's picks: Qualcomm's challenges to deploy 5G; impact of Huawei supply ban: Stories about the updated China cybersecurity law adding compliance cost for TMT companies and Qualcomm facing headwinds in race to deploy 5G are featured in the editor's technology, media and telecommunications top picks for the week ended May 24.

The Best Of: Most read: CenturyLink CEO's pay tops list; Huawei's global ambitions hit snag: Articles about CenturyLink Inc. CEO's compensation leading the list among largest pay TV providers and the supply ban hurting Huawei's global ambition were among the most read in Technology, Media & Telecommunications news for the week ended May 24.

Data Dispatch: Disney dusts off Aladdin's lamp, hoping to find new magic: While a live-action remake of "Aladdin" is not expected to be the blockbuster home run that some of Disney's other live-action remakes were, forecasters expect a strong bow.

Featured research

Economics of TV & Film: KBOX week 20: Summer box office stumbles in its 3rd week: The summer season hit a speed bump three weeks in as "Avengers: Endgame" starts to lose some steam at the box office and "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" did not debut to the numbers that "Deadpool 2" hit in the same week in 2018.

Consumer Insights: Hulu with Live TV user profile, 2019: Switching to another virtual multichannel TV service was the most common reason for dropping Hulu with Live TV, according to data from our 2019 U.S. MediaCensus online consumer survey.

Broadcast Investor: Political ad revenue projections through 2029: Broadcasters primed for bonanza: An increasingly crowded presidential primary, big-ticket issue items and a hot political climate has led us to increase our TV political ad revenue estimates for 2020 as broadcasters are set to reap the rewards of a political advertising windfall.

Technology: The future of IoT includes…security?: The 2019 IoT World show, held May 13-16 in Santa Clara, Calif., painted a picture of how the future of connected devices will benefit both consumers and businesses.

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