* NBCUniversal Media LLC struck a long-term deal for the continued carriage of Starz's networks on Comcast Corp.'s Xfinity TV. NBCU also entered a new content deal with Starz parent company Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., which will see NBCU license content from the studio for its upcoming streaming service, Peacock.
* CBS Sports Network (US) punted on the continued carriage of the Southeastern Conference football package. Climbing rights fees led CBS executives to decide not to extend CBS (US)'s deal to televise the conference when the current pact expires. That means SEC games will no longer air on the broadcast network following the 2023 season, thus ending a 27-year TV partnership.
* DISH Network Corp.'s Sling TV LLC added three cable news channels, FOX News Channel (US), MSNBC (US) and HLN (US), to its streaming channel lineup for all subscribers, among other channel additions, and increased the price of its base packages, citing the rising cost of channel carriage. As of Dec. 23, new customers will be charged $30 per month for either the Sling Orange or Sling Blue packages or $45 per month for both, while the existing customers will be migrated to the new pricing structure after Jan. 22, 2020.
* T-Mobile US Inc. considered merging with Comcast Corp. to strengthen its position in the wireless sector in 2015, Bloomberg News reports, citing confidential internal documents presented during the trial discussing T-Mobile's merger with Sprint Corp. The documents were presented by the states seeking to block the deal between the two carriers.
Internet & OTT
* Netflix Inc. placed a second-season order for animated series "Green Eggs and Ham," Broadcasting & Cable reports. Called "Green Eggs and Ham: The Second Serving," the new season will feature 10 episodes.
* Facebook Inc. exclusively added two Pokemon games to its gaming platform in partnership with The Pokemon Co. International Inc., Variety reports. "Pokémon Tower Battle" is available worldwide, while "Pokémon Medallion Battle" is initially available in the Asia-Pacific region.
* A pension fund claimed that Viacom Inc.'s board "expropriated potentially billions of dollars from Viacom's minority stockholders" by closing its merger with CBS to create ViacomCBS Inc., Bloomberg News reports, citing a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court. The Employees’ Retirement System of the City of Kansas City, Missouri Trust, is seeking damages instead of a ruling against the merger.
* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission flagged its concerns with a Federal Communications Commission proposal promoting wireless development and offered the expertise of its staff to aid the telecommunications regulator in assessing the plan. The energy sector is concerned about the potential impacts that a proposal on developing wireless networks could have on its critical infrastructure.
* U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chair Joseph Simons appointed Andrew Sweeting director of the commission's Bureau of Economics, effective January 2020, Multichannel News reports. Sweeting will replace Bruce Kobayashi, who is leaving the regulator.
* Mastercard Inc. agreed to acquire artificial intelligence and data analytics solutions provider RiskRecon Inc. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.
* Sports betting company DraftKings Inc. plans to go public and merge with two other companies. DraftKings said it signed a definitive business combination agreement with special purpose acquisition company Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. and sports betting and gaming company SBTech (Global) Ltd.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased 0.15% to 27,864.21, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.04% to 23,830.58.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.09% to 7,630.15, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.13% to 1,154.45.
On the macro front
The Redbook and Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index 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.
The Daily Dose Europe: Tencent investment in Europe; Iliad's asset sale; Nielsen CFO departure: Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to invest $10 billion in Europe, Iliad finalized its €2 billion towers sale to Cellnex Telecom SA, and Nielsen Holdings PLC CFO David Anderson is leaving the company.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Tencent's EU investment; SoftBank's WeWork financing woes; China tariff cuts: Tencent plans to invest US$10 billion in Europe in 2020, SoftBank Group Corp.'s WeWork Cos. Inc. financing discussions with lenders have stalled, and China will lower import tariff rates for tech products.
5G Focus: 2020 outlook; Global launches; Regulatory decisions: As 2019 draws to a close, S&P Global Market Intelligence's news team and Kagan research analysts take a look at where the next-generation wireless technology stands today and how it is expected to impact the global landscape in 2020.
M&A Replay: Cincinnati Bell to be acquired in $2.6B deal; ViacomCBS buying stake in Miramax: Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP and its institutional partners agreed to acquire Cincinnati Bell Inc. in a transaction valued at about $2.6 billion, while ViacomCBS reached an agreement to buy a 49% stake in Miramax LLC for $375 million.
M&A Replay: Seven West buys minority stake in Prime Media; Sony unit buys Silvergate Media: Seven West Media Ltd. acquired 54,594,367 shares in Prime Media Group Ltd., while a Sony Corp. unit acquired animation producer Silvergate Media Holdings Ltd.
Global Multichannel: Westminster Media Forum: UK broadcast production and policy priorities: The future of U.K. broadcasting involves setting strategies for content production, market dynamics, and policy and regulatory priorities. Alongside threats, the public service broadcasting sector can also tap into new commercial opportunities.
Economics of Internet: US digital ad revenues steam ahead in 10-year projections: The U.S. digital ad sector has enjoyed nearly a decade of heady growth since emerging from the Great Recession in 2010, with more gains likely in 2020 and beyond.
Economics of Advertising: NFL sets regular season viewership highs in November: The NFL continues to draw a massive TV audience during its 2019 regular season, with some of the games played in November setting viewership highs, based on data from Comscore Inc.'s TV Essentials.
Economics of Advertising: Print magazines up for sale; ad revenue falls 6.6% in 2019: An analysis of print magazine advertising revenue with 10-year projections to 2029.
Technology: Global shipments of mid-range smart TV sets increase in Q3'19: Smart TV adoption increased with the help of cheaper mid-range sets in developing markets.
Economics of Advertising: MSG Networks gets third RSN ratings crown in 2019: MSG Networks Inc. scored its third 2019 ratings crown in October, following monthly titles in January and February.
Economics of Networks: Adjusted EBITDA down for iMedia Brands in Q3: Adjusted EBITDA for iMedia Brands Inc. returned negative in the third quarter as the company's sales declined more than expected.
The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Kagan presents the editor's top picks from its exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Dec. 20.
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