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Facebook plans OS; ViacomCBS eyes Miramax stake; Google buys game studio

Top news

* Facebook Inc. is working to develop its own operating system to reduce reliance on Google LLC's Android OS, The Information reports. In a statement, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's vice president of hardware, said the social media company cannot "trust the marketplace or competitors" so it plans to do it on its own.

* ViacomCBS Inc. is nearing a deal to acquire a minority stake in Miramax LLC in a transaction that could be close to $100 million, Variety reports, citing two sources. The agreement could be finalized as early as Dec. 20.

* Google acquired Montreal-based Typhoon Studios Inc. for an undisclosed sum, according to an official blog post. The Typhoon team will join the first Stadia Games and Entertainment studio that is based in Montreal and led by Sébastien Puel.

* Apple Inc. held talks with MGM Holdings Inc. and the Pac-12 Conference to add "James Bond" content and college sports to its Apple TV app and the Apple+ service, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Talks between the Apple executives and representatives for MGM and Pac-12 were at an early stage and have yet to reach an advanced stage.


* A jury ordered Cox Communications Inc. to pay $1 billion in damages in a lawsuit that accused the company of allowing its customers to illegally download music, Variety reports. Cox Communication was sued in July 2018 by 53 companies, including Sony Music Entertainment Inc., Warner Music Group Corp. and Universal Music Group Inc., over claims that Cox ignored infringement notices and allowed repeat offenders to continue to use its service.

* The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill Dec. 19 aimed at reducing robocalls, a decision lauded by USTelecom, a trade group representing telecommunications companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. The bill, known as the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, would enable the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to enforce up to a $10,000 fine against someone who is found to have intentionally violated robocall rules.

* Live Nation Entertainment Inc. reached a tentative settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing to extend and clarify a 2010 consent decree regarding the company's merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.

* Increased scrutiny from state regulators has emerged as a consistent theme that will continue to play a larger role in the technology, media and telecommunications industry's antitrust landscape, experts said. The resolution of some high-profile investigations into big tech is also expected in the new year.

Social media

* Facebook introduced a new census interference policy to ban misleading information that may limit participation in 2020's U.S. census, according to an official blog post. Facebook also introduced a new advertising policy that prohibits ads that portray census participation as useless or meaningless or advise people not to participate in the census.


* Mobile gaming continues to transition into a more connected and service-based industry, and technological advancements offered by the next-generation 5G wireless standard are set to play a major role in this evolution. Although 5G deployments are still in the very early stages, some gaming companies and wireless carriers are already capitalizing on the technology to get a head start over the competition.

* Microsoft Corp. and Ericsson are integrating their technologies to advance the delivery of connected car services globally, pursuant to which, Ericsson is building its Connected Vehicle Cloud as-a-service on top of the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform.


* The regional sports network market in 2020 will be shaped by continuing integration efforts, key carriage negotiations and the potential sale of some RSN properties, analysts said. The RSN industry could also see some in-market MLB streaming experimentation in the upcoming year.

* The U.S. theater industry faces fewer regulatory hurdles than ever for M&A in 2020, yet changing industry trends mean the already mature exhibitor market may see few new buyers next year.

* Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures is holding talks with the Lego Group about plans to develop new feature film properties based on the popular block toys, Variety reports, citing sources close to the pending deal. Producer Dan Lin is expected to remain on future projects.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.25% to 27,871.35, and the Nikkei 225 slid 0.20% to 23,816.63.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 inched up 0.19% to 7,588.55, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.61%% to 1,149.96.

On the macro front

The GDP report, the corporate profits report, the personal income and outlays report, the consumer sentiment report, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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: Nvidia/Mellanox deal approval; Red Arrow sale delay; Vodafone's Malta exit: European Union and Mexican regulators approved NVIDIA Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Mellanox Technologies Ltd., ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE postponed the sale of Red Arrow Studios International GmbH, and Vodafone Group PLC is selling its Maltese unit to Monaco Telecom S.A.M.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Hooq's deal with All3Media; TV Tokyo, ORIX in China; Seven-Prime deal update: Hooq Digital PTE. Ltd. struck a content representation agreement with All3media International Ltd, Japan's TV TOKYO Holdings Corp. and ORIX Corp. plan to launch media businesses in China, and Seven West Media Ltd. bought a minority stake in Prime Media Group Ltd.

Data Dispatch: Disney's 2019 profits go sky-high with latest 'Star Wars': After scoring six movies that exceeded $1 billion at the worldwide box office, The Walt Disney Co. is set to cap its record year with "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."

Hires and Fires: NBCU CEO Steve Burke to retire; Roku searching for new CFO: NBCUniversal Media LLC CEO Steve Burke plans to retire after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics; while Roku Inc. is searching for a new CFO after Steve Louden announced plans to leave the company.

Hires and Fires Europe: Tele Columbus CEO stepping down; Eleven Sports names new chief: Timm Degenhardt is resigning as CEO of German operator Tele Columbus, and Eleven Sports Network Ltd. hired Luis Vicente as its new chief.

DAZN lowers subscription fee in Brazil; STARZPLAY rolls out in Latin America: Sports streaming platform DAZN will bring down its monthly subscription fee in Brazil, and international direct-to-consumer streaming app STARZPLAY rolled out in Latin America through various partners.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: YES Network's aligned interests could yield blueprint for in-market streaming: YES Network (US) may be in a position to help forge the future of the regional sports network business.

Economics of Networks: Cable Program Investor: Table of contents for Issue No. 265, published December 2019.

Economics of Internet: Profile: Amazon Prime Video (India): Inc. has consistently positioned its Prime Membership and Prime Video service to be accessible to the wider Indian population. Prime Video continues to localize its content and interface to drive subscription growth.

Economics of Internet: Profile: Netflix (India): Netflix Inc.'s growth in India has accelerated due to its focus on local original content and the continued development of strategic partnerships.

Broadcast Investor: Broadcast deal market November — Big TV deals continue: The TV deal market keeps registering large deals, resulting in a TV deal volume of approximately $458 million in November 2019.

Consumer Insights: U.S. consumer entertainment demographics revealed: The U.S. Entertainment Demographics report highlights key consumer demographic metrics for users of digital entertainment services, spanning video, gaming and music.

Economics of Internet: Profile: Facebook Watch: As social media platforms compete for the attention of an increasingly video-oriented user population, Facebook rolled out its Watch tab on Aug. 10, 2017, and continues to invest in its feature development.

Technology: Fixed broadband forecast: steady FTTH growth while DSL declines: Following a global downturn in fixed network investment during 2019 as many operators redirected investment to upgrades of their wireless infrastructure, Kagan now expects investment in wireline fiber access infrastructure to ramp up moving forward.

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