* Verizon Communications Inc. is gearing up to launch a live online TV service, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The company has reportedly been buying streaming rights from TV network owners and plans to sell a package with dozens of channels this summer.
* Amazon.com Inc. has invited major packaged good makers to a three-day summit at its Seattle headquarters to pitch a proposal that involves selling products directly to online shoppers and bypassing brick-and-mortar chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Costco, Bloomberg News reports. Executives from General Mills and Mondelez were among those invited to the gathering in May, which will include a tour of an Amazon fulfillment center and a presentation from Jeff Wilke, the company's worldwide consumer chief.
Internet & OTT
* Facebook Inc. unveiled personal fundraisers, a tool that allows people to launch fundraising initiatives for various situations such as education, medical and crisis relief. The beta version of the tool will launch in the U.S. for people aged 18 years or older over the next few weeks, according to a press release.
* Amazon may have a range of shopping services established in Australia by the end of 2018, Fairfax Media reports, citing Brittain Ladd, a former executive for Amazon Global Logistics. According to Ladd, who recently left Amazon, the e-commerce giant plans to "launch as many services and products as possible within Australia," including Amazon Prime, Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh. In response, Amazon told Fairfax Media that Ladd did not speak for the company.
Film & TV programming
* Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC entered into a partnership with Snap Inc. for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the details. The partnership, which allows Snap to share clips of NBC Olympics content in a live story on its Snapchat platform, also includes advertising commitments that could range between $50 million and $75 million in the first quarter of 2018, the sources said.
* EchoStar Corp.-owned Hughes Network Systems LLC's HughesNet Gen5 service has been added to the U.S. General Services Administration's offering of satellite subscription services under the IT Schedule 70 program. Federal, state and local government agencies as well as rural schools and libraries in the contiguous U.S. and parts of Alaska will now be able to sign up for the service, which offers download speeds of up to 25 Mbps, according to a news release.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng dipped 0.78% to 24,111.59, and the Nikkei 225 declined 0.81% to 18,909.26.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.55% to 7,328.85, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.27% to 978.67.
On the macro front
The consumer sentiment report, the Chicago PMI, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the personal income and outlays report due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Disney to split bill for Hong Kong park; Amazon sets plan for Australian ops: Walt Disney Co. will reportedly split the cost of expanding Hong Kong Disneyland with the local government in return for an increased stake, while Amazon executives expect the company to be fully operational in Australia by the end of 2018.
Conference Chatter: Upfront and Personal: Crown Media touts strong ratings, eyes brand integrations: Crown Media Family Networks, the operator of the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, has a strong ratings story to tell advertisers and ad agencies, and is looking to expand its base of integration opportunities with clients.
Conference Chatter: FCC's Pai targets deregulation, broadband: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai looks to review rules deemed burdensome and encourage broadband expansion in the near term.
Conference Chatter: Independent operators near OTT deals: Many attendees at the American Cable Association Summit told S&P Global Market Intelligence that they are exploring opportunities to integrate over-the-top services with their video platforms.
Data Dispatch: Bossy baby hopes to unseat Disney's Beast for box office supremacy: Animated comedy "Boss Baby" will take on holdover "Beauty and the Beast," while science fiction title "Ghost in the Shell" should see a solid opening as counter-programming.
The Pay Check: The 2016 pay packages of CEO Lowell McAdam and and AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron are among those included in the latest installment of The Pay Check.
Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm management moves through March 29: Viacom, Disney, AMC: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the media and communications industries.
The Daily Dose Europe: Vivendi eyes CEO for TIM chairmanship; Rostelecom may control Tele2 Russia: Vivendi is looking to propose its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine to be the next Telecom Italia board chairman, while VTB Bank is considering giving Rostelecom control over Tele2 Russia.
Warner Bros. films going to iQiyi; Tencent backs Chinese streaming service: In this biweekly Asia video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Asian markets.
Wireless Investor: Boingo's mobile video pivot paying off: For the past two years, Boingo's military subscribers, which includes subs for its Core TV mobile video service, have been growing as its traditional Wi-Fi hotspot retail business has declined.
Economics of TV & Film: Kagan Box Office Report – Week 13: The first quarter of the box office year ended on somewhat of a down note as total week 13 box office declined 4.6% to $290.3 million from $304.3 million in 2016, when "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" debuted in theaters.
Economics of Networks: FOX Sports 1 nears sub parity with ESPN: With an estimated 86.9 million subscribers, ESPN is now in only 3.2 million more homes than FOX Sports 1.
Economics of TV & Film: Consumer spending on DVD/Blu-ray drops by $1.14B in 2016: There is no clearer sign of the decline of the DVD and Blu-ray rental and retail market than the fact that total revenue has declined by more than $1 billion each year for the past decade.
Wireless Investor: Go90 pivots to target even younger audiences: When go90 publicly launched Oct. 1, 2015, it was marketed to the tastes and preferences of millennials. More recently, however, the Verizon service has turned its attention to the even younger viewers of the Generation Z age group.
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